CIAO DATE: 05/05
International Security, Fall 2004 (Volume 29 Issue 2)
Recent reports that Iran bought blueprints of a nuclear bomb from the black-market network of Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan have focused attention on the illicit spread of nuclear knowledge. Chaim Braun of Altos Management Partners and Christopher Chyba of Stanford University warn that the exchange of nuclear technologies, weapons designs, and delivery systems among networks of second-tier proliferators, which the authors dub “proliferation rings,” is far more extensive than previously recognized. Left unchecked, the activities of these networks could lead to the end of the nonproliferation regime, as growing numbers of second-tier proliferators are able to free themselves from the constraints imposed by the regime. The authors recommend the adoption of a series of demand-side and supply-side measures, including expansion of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, to address this growing danger.
Within the next several years, the United States plans to significantly increase its military activities in space, including the deployment of space-based weapons and defenses. Bruce DeBlois of BAE SYSTEMS, Richard Garwin of IBM, Scott Kemp of Princeton University , and Jeremy Marwell of New York University compare the potential utility of such space-related activities with other means to accomplish the same objectives. The authors conclude that the utility of space weapons to protect U.S. satellites, establish control of space, and project global force projection is constrained by three principal factors: “high cost, considerable susceptibility to countermeasures, and the availability of cheaper, more effective alternatives.” Based on these findings, they suggest that U.S. national security interests would be better served by an international regime that bans space weapons.
The two principal policy tools for addressing the problems of failing and collapsed states—governance assistance and transitional administration—are woefully inadequate, argues Stephen Krasner of Stanford University . Part of the problem, Krasner contends, involves the limitations of conventional sovereignty. “Recognition of juridically independent territorial entities and nonintervention in the internal affairs of other states,” he writes, “no longer work” in the case of collapsed and poorly governed countries. Indeed, the basic rules of conventional sovereignty may contribute to their problems. Krasner calls for the creation of two new institutions—de facto trusteeships and shared sovereignty arrangements with regional and international organizations or, in some cases, more powerful and better governed states—to help improve governance in these countries.
Alexander Golts of Yezhenedelnyi Zhurnal (Weekly Journal) and Tonya Putnam of Stanford University explore the history of failed military reform in Russia and what it might reveal about current Russian military reform efforts. Golts and Putnam maintain that despite “laboring under conditions of acute infrastructure decay and extreme shortages of equipment, a recruitment crisis exacerbated by a dysfunctional conscription system and the exodus of junior officers, a lack of combat-ready forces for deployment to the ongoing conflict in Chechnya, and force structures and strategies that are woefully inadequate to address the country’s security threats,” the Russian military continues to thwart governmental efforts to change the organizational and operational structures it inherited from the Soviet Union. The authors trace this failure to reform to three interrelated aspects of the militarist legacy of Peter the Great: (1) Russians’ long association of the prestige of the state with the power and prestige of the Russian military, (2) the military’s “unparalleled” level of administrative and operational autonomy, and (3) a long history of military favoritism.
Randall Schweller of Ohio State University examines the phenomenon of “underbalancing” in international politics. According to Schweller, underbalancing occurs when states fail to recognize dangerous threats, choose not to react to them, or respond in “paltry and imprudent ways.” Most likely to underbalance are incoherent, fragmented states whose elites are constrained by domestic political considerations. Schweller assesses the implications of underbalancing behavior for structural realist theory—in particular, its core prediction that states are coherent actors that, when confronted by dangerous threats, will balance by creating alliances or increasing their military capabilities and, in some cases, a combination of both.
The issue concludes with an exchange of letters between Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution and Lyle Goldstein and William Murray, both at the U.S. Naval War College, on the likelihood of a Chinese submarine blockade of Taiwan in the next several years.