This article uses the testimony to the Rattenbach Commission, the official Argentine inquiry into the Falklands/Malvinas War, to refute fallacious explanations for the Argentine decision to invade the islands at the start of April 1982 and to offer an alternative explanation of its own. Those to be refuted are described as the “diversionary thesis,” which suggests that the war was launched to distract from the domestic woes of the ruling Junta, and the “miscalculation thesis” (34), which suggests that the Junta’s move was premeditated but failed to anticipate the British response. Instead of these theories the authors use prospect theory to argue that the Junta embarked on a military adventure with a high chance of failure in an effort to address a long-term sense of national decline and anxiety.
Category: Article Reviews
Our planet is approaching an environmental cliff edge. Deforestation, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and climate change put our future at risk. Nuclear power, once envisaged as a source of energy that would become ‘too cheap to meter,’ is now regarded by some as a ‘green’ alternative to fossil fuels. For advocates of nuclear power, developments in recent years have brought reasons for optimism. Approximately 30 countries are contemplating, negotiating, or already setting up nuclear power programs. Eighty percent of them are developing economies, which, given the financial repercussions of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, need access to affordable and clean energy in order to reduce the devastating effects of this economic tsunami. Among the countries aspiring to introduce nuclear power into their energy mix is Israel, whose government hopes that building nuclear power plants (NPPs) would help it reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030.
The repressive policies deployed by the Chinese party-state towards its Muslim population in the western region of Xinjiang has been at the forefront of international media attention. Beyond the sharp increase in the security presence in the region and the widespread use of technology-intensive policing, the extra-legal internment of 1 to 3 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups has been the most notable of these repressive policies. The so-called “Xinjiang papers,” a leak of internal Chinese documents revealed by the New York Times in 2019, have contributed to unveil the policy shift that has occurred in this region since early 2017. This tightly-written article by Sheena Chestnut Greitens, Myunghee Lee, and Emir Yazici endeavors to explain this evolution. It also stresses the transnational security dimension of these policies and aims at situating the Chinese case in the broader literature on political violence and domestic repression.
In this article Marina Henke takes an interest in force generation processes in European Union (EU) peacekeeping operations. Even though the EU is the subject of the research, force generation in multilateral peacekeeping operations is indeed an overlooked phenomenon in general. As such, and beyond the carefully studied and researched case that Henke examines here, her findings and the network theory of force generation that she offers have great potential for further empirical testing and validation in the framework of the operations of other organizations such as the United Nations or NATO.
In their recent article, “Dangerous Confidence? Chinese Views of Nuclear Escalation,” Fiona S. Cunningham and M. Taylor Fravel outline both the causes and consequences of Chinese views concerning conventional and nuclear warfare, limited or otherwise.
Nicolas Blarel and Jayita Sarkar have written a valuable article on the intra-state politics of foreign policy. An extensive line of research in recent years has examined how domestic political competition (i.e. elections and parties), public opinion, and leaders can shape foreign policy. Yet bureaucracies within the state – what Blarel and Sarkar refer to as ‘sub-state organizations’ or SSOs—are often powerful actors, especially in technical domains that often escape the detailed attention of the public or politicians. The authors aim to revive an older research approach—perhaps most associated with Graham Allison’s Essence of Decision – that took bureaucracies seriously as actors in international politics.
With the advent of nuclear weapons came the question of how their very existence changed the way we conduct and think about warfare. Nearly seventy five years after their first (and, to date, only) use at the end of World War II, the question remains far from resolved, as nuclear ‘optimists’ and ‘pessimists’ continue to debate what Andrew H. Kydd presents as a seemingly simple question: “Is the world better off with nuclear weapons or without?” (645). Kydd’s goal in this article is not to definitively adjudicate the question and come down conclusively on either side, but rather to add the conceptual element of ‘expected costs’ to the debate. In doing so, he introduces a useful meeting point for the two camps.
The technology of war is changing. Remarkable developments are underway in artificial intelligence, cyber technology, autonomous weaponry, hypersonic munitions delivery vehicles, additive manufacturing, remote sensing, stealth, and precision guidance. The ability of forces endowed with state-of-the-art warfighting technologies to see, target, and act efficiently and effectively on the battlefield is arguably greater than it has ever been, and is only likely to continue to improve. Recognizing that no single state is likely to create a monopoly on such technologies, and that it will be even less likely to maintain it if one is established, many observers argue that these advances have the potential to be profoundly destabilizing. The capabilities afforded to the most technologically advanced belligerents in future conflicts will likely spark arms races, create incentives to strike first in crises, and make the conduct of war more costly and painful for both combatants and for civilians on the home front. In short, the developing conventional wisdom suggests that while the capabilities afforded by these emerging technologies may be magnificent, their consequences for strategic stability are likely to be very dangerous.
In her article “Proliferation and the Logic of the Nuclear Market,” Eliza Gheorghe argues that the distribution of power in the international system and the intensity of great power rivalries shape the supply-side environment for nuclear weapons proliferation. Her article offers an international system-level explanation for why potential proliferators were more successful at acquiring foreign support for their nuclear weapons programs during the early part of the Cold War but were less so during the détente period of the Cold War and the unipolar period after its conclusion. Notably, Gheorghe predicts that the multipolar period into which the international system is emerging poses the greatest supply-side risks for nuclear weapons proliferation.
Andrew Cottey’s article “Europe and China’s Sea Disputes” analyzes Europe’s approach to China’s maritime territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas. The author argues that there are three major European approaches toward Chinese maritime disputes: “a normative approach emphasizing the resolution of disputes within the framework of international law; a power balancing approach, led by France and the United Kingdom, involving support for freedom of navigation operations and strengthened bilateral and EU ties with other Asian states; and de facto acquiescence to Chinese advances in the region” (473). The article further notes that these three approaches also follow a sequence. That is, Europe first took the normative approach, and then turned to power balancing when the normative appeal was not effective. Nevertheless, the author suggests that Europe has not taken a unitary stance regarding China’s territorial disputes; rather, divisions exist among European Union (EU) member states, with some members acquiescing to China.