CIAO DATE: 04/07
International Security, Fall 2006 (Volume 31, Issue 2)
The Unipolar Illusion Revisited: The Coming End of the United States' Unipolar Moment by Christopher Layne Cronin
The conventional wisdom among U.S. grand strategists is that U.S. hegemony is exceptional—that the United States need not worry about other states engaging in counterhegemonic balancing against it. The case for U.S. hegemonic exceptionalism, however, is weak. Contrary to the predictions of Waltzian balance of power theorists, no new great powers have emerged since the end of the Cold War to restore equilibrium to the balance of power by engaging in hard balancing against the United States—that is, at least, not yet. This has led primacists to conclude that there has been no balancing against the United States. Here, however, they conflate the absence of a new distribution of power in the international political system with the absence of balancing behavior by the major second-tier powers. Moreover, the primacists’ focus on the failure of new great powers to emerge, and the absence of traditional “hard” (i.e., military) counterbalancing, distracts attention from other forms of counter balancing—notably “leash-slipping” —by major second-tier states that ultimately could lead to the same result: the end of unipolarity. Because unipolarity is the foundation of U.S. hegemony, if it ends, so too will U.S. primacy.
Why Terrorism Does not Work by Max Abrahms
This is the first article to analyze a large sample of terrorist groups in terms of their policy effectiveness. It includes every foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designated by the U.S. Department of State since 2001. The key variable for FTO success is a tactical one: target selection. Terrorist groups whose attacks on civilian targets outnumber attacks on military targets do not tend to achieve their policy objectives, regardless of their nature. Contrary to the prevailing view that terrorism is an effective means of political coercion, the universe of cases suggests that, first, contemporary terrorist groups rarely achieve their policy objectives and, second, the poor success rate is inherent to the tactic of terrorism itself. The bulk of the article develops a theory for why countries are reluctant to make policy concessions when their civilian populations are the primary target.
Friends Like These: Counterinsurgency and the War on Terrorism by Daniel L. Byman
U.S. allies that are fighting al-Qaida-linked insurgencies often suffer illegitimate regimes, civil-military tension manifested by fears of a coup, economic backwardness, and discriminatory societies. These problems, coupled with allies’ divergent interests, serve to weaken allied military and security forces tactically, operationally, and strategically. The ability of the United States to change its allies’ behavior is limited, despite the tremendous difficulties these problems create, because relying on allied forces is a key component of U.S. strategy in the war on terrorism and the U.S. goal of handing off security to Iraqi military forces. To reduce the effects of allies’ weaknesses, the United States should try to increase its intelligence on allied security forces and at times act more like a third party to a conflict. In addition, Washington must also have realistic expectations of what training and other efforts can accomplish.
Preventing the Misuse of Biology: Lessons from the Oversight of Smallpox Virus Research by Jonathan B. Tucker
Certain basic research findings in the life sciences have the potential for misuse by states or sophisticated terrorist organizations seeking to develop more lethal or effective biological weapons. The recognition of this problem has led to proposals for new systems of governance, including the international review and oversight of “dual-use” research. The case of the World Health Organization’s Advisory Committee on Variola Virus Research (VAC), which oversees all research with the live smallpox virus, offers some useful lessons for assessing these proposals. This article examines how the VAC has dealt with contentious policy issues, describes the strengths and weaknesses of the oversight process, and discusses the implications for the international governance of dual-use research.
Breaking Out of the Security Dilemma: Realism, Reassurance, and the Problem of Uncertainty by Evan Braden Montgomery
In the debate between offensive and defensive realism, a central issue is whether major powers can overcome the uncertainty that drives the security dilemma. Whereas offensive realists maintain that states cannot know others’ motives and intentions, defensive realists argue that states can reveal their preferences by altering their military posture. Defensive realists have, however, presented an incomplete account of the constraints and opportunities associated with military reassurance. To demonstrate its motives, a security-seeking state must take actions that will often increase its vulnerability to potential aggressors. Although offense-defense variables have been invoked to address the constraint of vulnerability, the conditions usually considered most favorable for reassurance—differentiation between offense and defense and an advantage for the latter—make it no easier to achieve. A defensive advantage makes reassurance difficult by encouraging all states to adopt defensive capabilities, and by requiring large concessions to reveal benign motives. Only when offense and defense are differentiated and the balance between them is neutral can states reveal their motives without also endangering their security. These arguments are illustrated with three empirical examples: the Anglo-German naval race, Nikita Khrushchev’s troop cuts, and Mikhail Gorbachev’s arms limitation and arms control policies.
Casualties, Polls, and the Iraq WarKlarevas, Louis J.; Gelpi, Christopher, and Jason Reifler. "Correspondence: Casualties, Polls, and the Iraq War." International Security 31, no. 2 (Fall 2006, forthcoming): 186-198.
Structural Sources of China's Territorial CompromisesWolf, Albert B., and M. Taylor Fravel. "Correspondence: Structural Sources of China's Territorial Compromise." International Security 31, no. 2 (Fall 2006, forthcoming): 199-205.
Thinking Systemically About ChinaJervis, Robert. "Correspondence: Thinking Systemically About China." International Security 31, no. 2 (Fall 2006, forthcoming): 206-208.