JoGSS is a new security journal in the International Studies Association’s (ISA) stable of journals. Frank Gavin asked me to write a brief essay for ISSF on the origins and foundation of this new journal, which aims “to publish first-rate work addressing the variety of methodological, epistemological, theoretical, normative, and empirical concerns reflected in the field of global security studies. More importantly, it encourages dialogue, engagement, and conversation between different parts of the field.”
Jonathan Caverley challenges our image of democracies – and mass publics – as being relatively averse to war. The costs of war, he correctly argues, are not distributed evenly across all citizens. Those who are taxed less heavily than others or do not serve in the military, he reasons, will be less averse to war and will support more aggressive foreign policies, favor more military spending, prefer more capitalized armies that substitute equipment and technology for individual soldiers, and fight insurgencies inefficiently. He tests this argument using public opinion surveys linking income to attitudes and case studies of the expansion of the franchise in nineteenth-century Britain and the overly capitalized wars fought by the United States in Vietnam and Israel in southern Lebanon. This is an original and insightful contribution to the literature on war and international security more generally, and is an outstanding example of how mixed-method research designs are often more persuasive than any single method design. It deserves a broad audience, especially as it appears that the United States and others will be confronted with many ‘small wars’ and insurgencies in the years ahead. If Caverley is right, we are doomed to fight these wars badly and ineffectively.
James Stocker offers a deep historical analysis of U.S. foreign policy towards regional nuclear weapons free zones (NWFZs) during the tenure of three American presidents — Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson— and maps its evolution over eleven years of pre-détente Cold War. He examines how the Eisenhower administration rejected the idea of NWFZs owing to its discomfort with a possible European zone but that a gradual shift occurred in favor of their limited acceptance during President Kennedy’s time in office, and final implementation of such acceptance during the Johnson administration. Not surprisingly, the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1964 Chinese nuclear test made significant contributions to the altered U.S. policy position post-Eisenhower. According to Stocker, while the United States began to perceive NWFZs as nonproliferation tools through which it could tackle the spread of nuclear weapons in a very precarious world, such zones also precluded U.S. rights to station, deploy, and transport nuclear weapons in the regions, thus obstructing Washington’s security interests. Based on U.S. archival sources from Presidential libraries, the National Archives and Record Administration, and published documentation in Foreign Relations of the United States, the article is a systematic study of U.S. policy towards NWFZ under three different administrations.
Do American alliances provide stability at acceptable cost and risk to the United States, or do they ensnare the U.S. in wars it need not fight? The debate is a key one: if alliances entangle, it would seem prudent for American leaders to heed the advice of President Thomas Jefferson, who prescribed “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none,” as well as President George Washington, who in his farewell address famously warned his countrymen to dodge alliances so not to be drawn into the “quarrels” of others. In his article, Michael Beckley has constructively advanced this important debate; this review essay summarizes his research design and findings, and raises questions about both that should be the focus of future inquiry.
For many, the U.S. experience in Iraq casts a large shadow over the current American willingness to utilize military force. This ‘Iraq-syndrome’ is a part of the broader war-weariness theoretical claim that following major conflicts – and particularly inconclusive or controversial ones – the public and policymakers will be hesitant to fight. If there were a strong Iraq syndrome, however, it has proven remarkably short-lived. With the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria the United States has engaged in thousands of air strikes in the region and started to deploy additional advisors. In the wake of the Islamic State’s November 2015 Paris attacks members of both the Democratic and Republican parties have called for more aggressive military measures.
In “Alliance Coercion and Nuclear Restraint,” Gene Gerzhoy offers a novel theory of how alliances can prevent nuclear proliferation. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, which holds that alliances prevent proliferation by reassuring the client state and providing a substitute for an indigenous arsenal, Gerzhoy argues that clients in threatening security environments will nonetheless be interested in nuclear weapons since they can never have full confidence in their patrons’ present and future commitments. As a result, in order to prevent a client from going nuclear, the patron must employ threats of military abandonment, coupled with an assurance that its security commitment will be maintained (or increased) if the client complies and gives up its nuclear program. Whether these threats are successful, according to Gerzhoy, depends on the degree to which the client is militarily dependent on its patron. The article tests the theory with an in-depth examination of U.S. policy toward West Germany’s nuclear ambitions in the 1950s and 1960s. Consistent with the theory, Gerzhoy finds that West Germany was interested in nuclear weapons despite American protection, and that it only gave up these ambitions as a result of American coercion and assurances.
Our panel at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) in San Francisco in 2015 was organized around the question “Why isn’t there more scholarly evaluation of war?” I’m grateful to the editors at H-Diplo for their interest in this topic, and for the invitation to continue our discussion online.
Dale Copeland’s Economic Interdependence and War is an ambitious book that should receive close attention from both international-relations theorists and diplomatic historians. The author’s main objective is to offer an alternative explanation of the relationship between commerce and international conflict, one that challenges both liberal and realist theories. In his view, liberals are correct to believe that increasing trade and investment flows can enhance the prospects for peace, but realists also have solid grounds for believing that increased economic interdependence can lead to conflict and war. It is because both theories are plausible, Copeland argues, that it is necessary to consider an additional variable that he defines as “a state’s expectations of the future trade and investment environment” (2). When states have positive expectations about the future trade and investment environment, they are unlikely to resort to war. But if a state has negative expectations about the future, it is going to be more willing to consider war as an attractive policy option. It is this argument that Copeland tests against the historical evidence of great-power conflict from 1790-1991 and also applies to the future of U.S.-Chinese relations in the twenty-first century.
This article is based on a report written by General Gaston Renondeau, who served as military attaché to the French embassy in Berlin, to the French Government and to the 2e Bureau de l’État-Major de l’Armée (EMA, the French external military intelligence agency) on 13 November 1934. Thanks to a thorough analysis of the political and military context, the authors demonstrate that military intelligence must be considered not only from a factual angle (enemy capacity, movement of troops, and evaluation of industrial potential and technological level) but also from a psychological perspective, which includes the role of political propaganda. The authors aim to contribute to the historiographical analysis of the French defeat of May-June 1940, which has traditionally been presented as either the result of the Third Republic’s pacifism or as a consequence of the French High Command’s incompetency. These two explanations are irreconcilable and equally simplistic.
Barry Buzan and George Lawson have produced a book of grand scope that examines the multiple ways modernity has influenced the world and our theories about it. What they call the ‘global transformation’ brought about a shift from a polycentric world to a core-periphery order centered on the West. In the process, according to the authors, regional systems of international relations were integrated into a global one. In effect, international relations theories and the discipline of international relations are products of the long nineteenth century. They further contend, and more controversially, that these theories, and the discipline more generally, have neglected this ‘global transformation.’