International Security, issue 1, volume 38
By Aidan Hehir
Many observers heralded the Security Council–sanctioned intervention in Libya in March 2011 as evidence of the efficacy of the responsibility to protect (R2P). Although there is no doubt that the intervention was significant, the implications of Resolution 1973 are not as profound as some have claimed. The intervention certainly coheres with the spirit of R2P, but it is possible to situate it in the context of a trajectory of Security Council responses to large-scale intrastate crises that predate the emergence of R2P. This trajectory is a function of the decisionmaking of the five permanent members of the Security Council (P5), a group guided by politics and pragmatism rather than principles. As a consequence, the Security Council’s record in dealing with intrastate crises is characterized by a preponderance of inertia punctuated by aberrant flashes of resolve and timely action impelled by the occasional coincidence of interests and humanitarian need, rather than an adherence to either law or norms. The underlying factors that contributed to this record of inconsistency—primarily the P5’s veto power—remain post-Libya, and thus the international response to intrastate crises likely will continue to be inconsistent.
issue 1, volume 38
By Alan Kuperman, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2000–2001
NATO's 2011 humanitarian military intervention in Libya has been hailed as a model for implementing the emerging norm of the responsibility to protect (R2P), on grounds that it prevented an impending bloodbath in Benghazi and facilitated the ouster of Libya's oppressive ruler, Muammar al-Qaddafi, who had targeted peaceful civil protesters. Before the international community embraces such conclusions, however, a more rigorous assessment of the net humanitarian impact of NATO intervention in Libya is warranted.
World Politics, issue 3, volume 65
By Dara Kay Cohen, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
Much of the current scholarship on wartime violence, including studies of the combatants themselves, assumes that women are victims and men are perpetrators. However, there is an increasing awareness that women in armed groups may be active fighters who function as more than just cooks, cleaners, and sexual slaves. In this article, the author focuses on the involvement of female fighters in a form of violence that is commonly thought to be perpetrated only by men: the wartime rape of noncombatants.
July 1, 2013
By Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom
Despite substantial progress in improving nuclear security in recent years, there is more to be done. The threats of nuclear theft and terrorism remain very real. This paper recommends learning from the much stronger national and international efforts in nuclear safety, and in particular taking steps to build international understanding of the threat; establish effective performance objectives; assure performance; train and certify needed personnel; build security culture and exchange best practices; reduce the number of sites that need to be protected; and strengthen the international framework and continue the dialogue once leaders are no longer meeting regularly at the summit level.
International Security, issue 4, volume 37
Gareth Evans and Ramesh Thakur respond to Robert A. Pape's summer 2012 International Security article, "When Duty Calls: A Pragmatic Standard of Humanitarian Intervention."
International Security, issue 4, volume 37
Many experts argue that climate change will exacerbate the severity and number of extreme weather events. Such climate-related hazards will be important security concerns and sources of vulnerability in the future regardless of whether they contribute to conflict.
Wartime rape is neither ubiquitous nor inevitable. The level of sexual violence differs significantly across countries, conflicts, and particularly armed groups. Some armed groups can and do prohibit sexual violence. Such variation suggests that policy interventions should also be focused on armed groups, and that commanders in effective control of their troops are legally liable for patterns of sexual violence they fail or refuse to prevent.
By Terence Roehrig, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program/Project on Managing the Atom, 2012–2014
In March 2009, the South Korean National Assembly approved the first foreign deployment of South Korea's naval forces to join the U.S.-led Combined Task Force (CTF-151). The purpose of CTF-151 is to conduct antipiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia's east coast by the Horn of Africa. South Korea joined the navies of twenty four other countries that participate in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) through one of three combined task forces, CTF-150, CTF-151, and CTF-152, to help ensure maritime security in this region. The CMF is an international effort to conduct maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean.
Given the seriousness of the ongoing standoff on the Korean peninsula, South Korea's emergence as an active contributor to international security addressing challenges far from the Korean peninsula is a striking new development, marking South Korea's emergence as a producer rather than a consumer of global security resources. This volume outlines South Korea's progress and accomplishments toward enhancing its role and reputation as a contributor to international security.
"The Psychology of Threat in Intergroup Conflict: Emotions, Rationality, and Opportunity in the Rwandan Genocide"
International Security, issue 2, volume 37
By Omar S. McDoom, Former Research Fellow, Intrastate Conflict Program/International Security Program, 2004-2007; Former Associate, Intrastate Conflict Program/International Security Program, 2007-2008
Group emotions, fear in particular, play an important role in how security threats polarize social groups. The case of the Rwanadan genocide demonstrates that four psychosocial mechanisms (boundary activation, outgroup derogation, outgroup homogenization, and ingroup cohesion) play an important role in group polarization, and that fear is a crucial driver of these mechanisms. A more thorough understanding of how security threats activate group polarization could help policymakers to minimize intergroup conflict.