CIAO DATE: 08/05
International Security, Spring 2005 (Volume 29 Issue 4)
"Nuclear weapons have come to be defined as abhorrent and unacceptable weapons of mass destruction," writes Nina Tannenwald of Brown University. The taboo, she argues, has become so widely recognized that the use of nuclear weapons—whether for tactical or strategic purposes—has become "practically unthinkable." Tannenwald offers a systematic analysis of the development of a nuclear taboo in world politics and U.S. policy. She attributes the growth of the taboo to three factors: a global grassroots antinuclear weapons movement, the role of Cold War power politics, and the ongoing efforts of nonnuclear states to delegitimize nuclear weapons. She closes with some thoughts on ways to further strengthen the taboo, including the creation of a no-first-use agreement and the ratification of a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.
Deborah Yarsike Ball of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Theodore Gerber of the University of Wisconsin consider the likelihood of Russian scientists with knowledge of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons selling their expertise to so-called rogue states seeking to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Using data collected in an unprecedented survey of Russian WMD scientists, the authors assess the effectiveness of U.S. and Western nonproliferation assistance programs aimed at keeping these scientists employed in Russia, where, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, they have watched their salaries plummet and their job security sharply decline. Despite the overall success of these programs, one-fifth of the survey's participants stated they would consider working in a "rogue" state—a possibility that policymakers must address.
Amy Zegart of the University of California, Los Angeles, argues that the vulnerability of the United States to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is explained by the failure of U.S. intelligence agencies to address the rise of the terrorist challenge following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Zegart presents evidence suggesting that although policymakers were well aware of the terrorist threat to the United States and realized the need for organizational change in the U.S. intelligence community, they were unable to achieve the reforms that several blue-ribbon commissions and studies urgently recommended before the September 11 attacks. Zegart contends that three factors explain the intelligence community's failure to adapt: the nature of bureaucratic organizations; the self-interest of presidents, legislators, and government bureaucrats; and the fragmented structure of the federal government.
According to President George W. Bush, the promotion of democracy abroad is vital to the success of the United States in the war against terrorism. It is also a key objective of the administration's grand strategy of expanding the political and economic influence of the United States internationally. Jonathan Monten of Georgetown University examines two contending approaches to the long-term promotion of democracy: "exemplarism," or leadership by example, and "vindicationism," or the direct application of U.S. power, including the use of coercive force. Whereas exemplarism largely prevailed in the twentieth century, vindicationism has been the preferred approach of the Bush administration. Monten attributes the Bush administration's activist democracy promotion to two main factors: the expansion of material capabilities, and the presence of a nationalist domestic ideology.
Alex Bellamy of the University of Queensland and Paul Williams of the University of Birmingham consider two questions regarding the proliferation of non–United Nations peace operations. Have these operations enhanced international peace and security? Or have they produced a multitiered, regionalized system that threatens to undermine the UN's global mission? Basing their evaluation on three criteria—the legitimacy of these peace operations, their effectiveness in achieving their mandate, and their ability to contribute to regional peace and security—the authors conclude that none of these operations "fundamentally challenged the core elements of the UN system."
In the first of two sets of correspondence, Ronald Krebs and Chaim Kaufmann offer competing explanations for the role of the marketplace of ideas in the lead-up to the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq in March 2003 and remove Saddam Hussein from power.
In the second set of correspondence, Ernest May and Philip Zelikow dispute several points made by Richard Falkenrath in his review of The 9/11 Commission Report. Falkenrath replies to their criticisms.