"Hot Off The Presses"
Recent Publics of the Belfer Center
Author: Susan M. Lynch, Program Assistant, International Security Program; Web Manager, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security
Do Democracies Win Their Wars?
Edited by Michael E. Brown, Owen R. Coté, Sean M. Lynn-Jones, and Steven E. Miller; An International Security Reader
The MIT Press (Forthcoming June 2011)
In recent years, a new wave of scholarship has argued that democracies have unique advantages that enable them to compete vigorously in international politics. Challenging long-held beliefs—some of which go back to Thucydides’ account of the clash between democratic Athens and authoritarian Sparta—that democracy is a liability in the harsh world of international affairs, many scholars now claim that democracies win most of their wars. Critics counter that democracy itself makes little difference in war and that other factors, such as overall power, determine whether a country tastes victory or defeat. In some cases, such as the Vietnam War, democracy may even have contributed to defeat.
Disarmament Diplomacy and Human Security: Regimes, Norms, and Moral Progress in International Relations
By Denise Garcia, former Research Fellow and Associate, International Security Program/Intrastate Conflict Program; Routledge Global Security Studies
Routledge (February 2011)
Disarmament Diplomacy and Human Security looks at three cases of the development of international norms in this arena. First, it traces how new international normative understandings have shaped the evolution of and support for an Arms Trade Treaty (the supply side of the arms trade); second, it examines the small arms international regime and examines a multilateral initiative that aims to address the demand side (by the Geneva Declaration); and, third, it examines the evolution of two processes to ban and regulate cluster munitions.
The formation of international norms in these areas is a remarkable development, as it means that a domain that was previously thought to be the exclusive purview of states, i.e. how they procure and manage arms, has been penetrated by multiple influences from worldwide civil society. As a result, norms and treaties are being established to address the domain of arms, and states will have more multilateral restriction over their arms and less sovereignty in this domain.
Withdrawing Under Fire: Lessons Learned from Islamist Insurgencies
By Joshua L. Gleis, former Research Fellow and Associate, International Security Program
Potomac Books (April 2011)
The post-9/11 world has witnessed a rebirth of irregular and asymmetrical warfare, which, in turn, has led to an increase in conflicts between conventional armies and non-state armed groups. In their haste to respond to the threat from insurgencies, states often fail to plan effectively not only for combat operations but also for withdrawal, which is inevitable, win or lose. In order to answer the question of how to withdraw from engagement with an insurgency, Gleis examines how insurgencies are conducted and what, if anything, is unique about an Islamist insurgency. He then proposes ways to combat these groups successfully and to disentangle one’s military forces from the war once strategic objectives have been met—or once it is clear that they cannot be.
The author analyzes six counterinsurgency operations that have taken place in the past, with the intention of gleaning from them as many lessons as possible to better prepare for future withdrawals.
Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century
By Eric Kaufmann, former Research Fellow, Initiative on Religion in International Affairs/International Security Program
Profile Books (2010)
Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have convinced many western intellectualsthat secularism is the way forward, but most people don't read their books before deciding whether to be religious. Instead, they inherit their faith from their parents, who often inoculate them against the elegant arguments of secularists. And what no one has noticed is that far from declining, the religious are expanding their share of the population; in fact, the more religious people are, the more children they have. The cumulative effect of immigration from religious countries and religious fertility will be to reverse the secularization process in the West. Not only will the religious eventually triumph over the non-religious, but it is those who are the most extreme in their beliefs who have the largest families.
Eric Kaufmann examines the implications of the decline in liberal secularism as religious conservatism rises—and what this means for the future of western modernity.
Our Own Worst Enemy? Institutional Interests and the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Expertise
By Sharon Weiner; Belfer Center Studies in International Security
The MIT Press (April 2011)
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, many observers feared that terrorists and rogue states would obtain weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or knowledge about how to build them from the vast Soviet nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons complex. The United States launched a major effort to prevent former Soviet WMD experts, suddenly without salaries, from peddling their secrets. In Our Own Worst Enemy, Sharon Weiner chronicles the design, implementation, and evolution of four U.S. programs that were central to this nonproliferation policy and assesses their successes and failures.
Weiner examines the parlous state of the former Soviet nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons complex, the contentious domestic political debate within the United States, and most critically, the institutional interests and dynamics of the Defense, State, and Energy departments, which were charged with preventing the spread of WMD expertise. She explains why—despite unprecedented cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries—U.S. nonproliferation programs did not succeed at redirecting or converting to civilian uses significant parts of the former Soviet weapons complex.
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