CIAO DATE: 12/02
Summer 2001 (Volume 26 Issue 1)
With this issue International Security begins its twenty-sixth year of publication. In recognition of this occasion, Editor-in-Chief Steven Miller reflects on the first twenty-five years of the journal, the major events that characterized this period, and the influence of these events on the field of security studies and on the contents of IS.
As the first American academic journal to focus on security issues, IS has provided a forum for policymakers and scholars to debate the major security problems of the day. In its early years, the journal, reflecting the field, was substantially preoccupied with urgent Cold War issues. The Soviet-American nuclear rivalry was an abiding concern. The overall military balance between East and West was an important source of con- tention. Regional competition between Moscow and Washington in the developing world attracted wide attention. Alongside the policy-oriented agenda, there arose over the years a growing representation of more theoretical work, gradually producing the mix of theory and policy that has come to characterize the journal. Though the end of the Cold War raised questions in some minds about the status of the field and the survival of IS, the journal hasflourished over the last decade . A substantially new agenda has emerged, one that raises fundamental questions about America's role in the world, the character of great power relations, and the feasibility and desirability of various possible post –Cold War international orders. Violence and disorder in the post –Cold War world have pressed new issues onto the agenda, particularly in connection with ethnic, civil, and regional conflict. And the academic side of the field of international security has pursued a series of stimulating debates about the democratic peace theory, relative gains, the virtues and limitations of realism, institutionalism, rational choice, and so on that have enlivened the field and the pages of IS. Despite hopes and expecta- tions to the contrary, problems of international security have remained prominent in the post-Cold War era. IS looks forward to another twenty-five years of contributing to serious debate on these consequential issues.
As the debate on a U.S. national missile defense intensifies, the decision about whether the United States should develop an NMD system seems to be giving way to questions over the type of system to be deployed and its scope:For example, should the United States pursue NMD against Russia or China? What are the possible security bene fits and costs of limited NMD? What can the United States do to counter the international political fallout of limited NMD? Charles Glaser of the University of Chicago and Steve Fetter of the University of Maryland conclude that "among the options for limited NMD, the case for a surface-based boost-phase system [targeted against so-called rogue states ]is strongest." Such a system is least likely to fuel Russian and Chinese fears, which should be a central U.S. consideration. Heightened tensions with either Russia or China because of U. S. pursuit of NMD could lead to "triggering reactions" that could actually decrease overall U.S. security.
Ivan Arreguín-Toft of Harvard University offers a theory of asymmetric conflict to explain "how a weak actor's strategy can make a strong actor's power irrevlevant." According to Arreguín-Toft, the interaction of actor strategies is the best predictor of asymmetric conflict outcomes. After providing quantitative and qualitative tests of his theory, he considers some of the implications of his thesis for both theory building and policymaking.
How influential are security institutions in establishing patterns of conflict and cooperation within the international system? According to David Lake of the University of California, San Diego, they are "central" —so central that "neither the Cold War nor U. S. hegemony in the Persian Gulf would have taken the form it did without the particular security institutions that lay at their core and eventually came to be among their most prominent characteristics."
Randall Schweller of Ohio State University reviews After Victory: Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Rebuilding of Order after Major Wars by G. John Ikenberry. Schweller praises Ikenberry for his "hugely successful first step" in explaining how victorious great powers have relied on strategic restraint and commitments by using multilateral institutions to deal with vanquished great powers. He is skeptical, however, of Ikenberry's key theoretical innovation of "binding institutions"(e.g., NATO and the WTO) to explain how interlocking institutional constraints effectively limit a hegemon's power.
We conclude with an exchange of letters between Duncan Bell and Paul MacDonald and Bradley Thayer on the role of evolutionary theory in realist thought.
International Security at Twenty-Five: From One World to Another by Steven E. Miller
The modern field of international security studies is roughly half a century old. It emerged after World War II and took hold in the 1950s. The journal International Security has spanned half that period, having now completed twenty-five years of publication. During that time, the world and the field have changed dramatically. We are not in the habit of utilizing the pages of this journal for introspective or self-referential ruminations, but it seems appropriate to mark the passage of a quarter-century with some reflections on the history of the journal, the evolution of the field within which it operates, and the altered world that the field seeks to understand, explain, and perhaps even influence. Here, the aim is simply to sketch suggestive snapshots of then and now, in the hope of conveying the magnitude and character of the changes that a quarter of a century has wrought. This exercise provides the opportunity to revisit some of the issues and articles that have justified and animated the pages of International Security over its first twenty-five years.
National Missile Defense and the Future of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy by Charles L. Glaser and Steve Fetter
How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict by Ivan Arreguín-Toft
Beyond Anarchy: The Importance of Security Institutions by David A. Lake
The Problem of International Order Revisited: A Review Essay by Randall L. Schweller
Start the Evolution Without Us by Duncan S. A. Bell, Paul K. MacDonald and Bradley A. Thayer