Democracy Promotion National Security and Strategy coverIn Democracy Promotion, National Security and Strategy: Foreign Policy under the Reagan Administration, Robert Pee explores the United States’ attempts to promote democracy abroad during the Reagan administration. The title of Pee’s book captures a central challenge Washington faced with this issue not only during the 1980s but also throughout the Cold War after 1945. Security considerations frequently clashed with efforts to promote democracy, representative government, and human rights versus authoritarian regimes that were allied with the U.S. around the globe. After an overview of the emergence of democracy promotion and its relationship to U.S. Cold War policies under containment and a discussion of problems that disrupted cooperation between Washington and private groups as well as a decline in support for modernization as an effective solution, Pee focuses on debate within the Reagan administration on how to integrate the promotion of democracy with U.S. foreign policy goals, most notably the perception of increased challenges of communism aided by the Soviet Union spreading in the Southern hemisphere. In several chapters Pee explores the debate within the Reagan administration over how to respond to issues such as the effort by the Polish government in 1981 to ban the Solidarity labor movement and whether the effort to promote democracy should be aimed at reinforcing Washington’s national-security goal of challenging the Soviet Union and regimes identified as Communist allies of Moscow from Fidel Castro’s Cuba to the new Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and the Soviet- and Cuban-backed government in Angola.

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Security Studies coverFor scholars engaging in qualitative analysis, the concept of ‘process tracing’ comes in many shapes and forms. In its most basic form, process tracing refers to a set of procedures that uses qualitative evidence in an attempt to establish a causal relationship between one or more explanatory variables and a dependent variable. Notwithstanding the common use of this conventional term in scholarly work in international relations, we still lack conceptual clarity about what ‘good process tracing’ genuinely entails, how to utilize it best in qualitative research, and what its limitations are. This is unfortunate given that one of the advantages of case studies is their potential for illuminating causal mechanisms. Process tracing, in particular, is one of the most useful procedures available to test causality using qualitative evidence. For exactly these reasons, this symposium is of significant importance both for scholars who already believe (mistakenly or not) that the evidence they present amounts to ‘process tracing,’ as well as those who wish to learn how to use this important technique in their future qualitative work.[2]Continue reading

Intelligence and National Security coverWhat are preferred ways for members of the academic community to undertake analytic outreach with their counterparts in the intelligence community on important issues, such as emerging biotechnology threats? What are the impediments and opportunities most likely to shape a productive engagement between academic scholars and intelligence analysts on the topics of assessing biotechnology trends and bioweapon threats to U.S. national security?

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Nic von Wielligh’s new book on the history of the South African nuclear project is a timely contribution to the on-going scholarly debate on why and how countries choose to develop, maintain and dismantle nuclear weapons programs. Since South Africa is the only country to date that has undergone a voluntary complete nuclear roll-back, its history is particularly important to scholars of nuclear proliferation, especially in the contemporary context of the debate surrounding Iran’s nuclear program and its trajectory. The author, nuclear physicist Nic von Wielligh, began his involvement in South Africa’s nuclear program in 1975, graduating into a managerial position in South Africa’s Atomic Energy Corporation a decade later. This unique position enabled von Wielligh, with the assistance of his daughter, Lydia von Wielligh-Steyn, to write the book from an insider’s perspective, revealing many previously unknown details and filling-in some much sought-after gaps in the literature on South Africa’s nuclear endeavour.[1]

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Gendering Global Conflict coverLaura Sjoberg’s important book, Gendering Global Conflict, engages a wealth of both traditional and contemporary ‘war studies’ (as Sjoberg phrases them) to lay bare the theoretical gaps caused by omitting gender from our explanations of why individuals and collectivities fight.   As Sjoberg convincingly argues, scholars cannot understand the causes and consequences of conflict and violence without also understanding how both are gendered.

 

 

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JoGGS coverJoGSS 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.”[1]

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Democratic Militarism coverJonathan 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.

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JCWS coverJames 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.

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International Security coverDo 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.[1] 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.

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JCWS coverFor 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.[1] 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.

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