By Cindy Williams, Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security
Since the end of the Cold War, the US military has reduced its combat forces by 40 percent, closed about 20 percent of its bases, and withdrawn from many overseas posts. Even after these changes, the US military is by far the strongest in the world, with huge advantages in training, equipment, and technology. Despite cutting its annual spending by about 30 percent, the United States spends more than the countries with the six next-largest military budgets combined.
How will continued proliferation of nuclear weapons change the global political order? This collection of essays comes to conclusions at odds with the conventional wisdom. Stephen Rosen and Barry Posen explore how nuclear proliferation may affect US incentives to confront regional aggression. Stephen Walt argues that regional allies will likely prove willing to stand with a strong and ready United States against nuclear-backed aggression.
Unlike the new and largely peaceful Europe, the Asia-Pacific region is fraught with old instabilities and new risks, as well as opportunities. America's Asian alliances face an arc of potential instability, from the divided Korean peninsula in Northeast Asia, to the nuclear confrontation between India and Pakistan on the South Asian subcontinent, to an unstable Indonesia in Southeast Asia. The United States and its allies must also address the rise of Chinese power, slow the spread of nuclear and high-tech conventional weapons, maintain access to energy resources, and expand the world free-trade system.
Policymakers, scholars, and the news media have been alarmed by the potential for chemical and biological weapons (CBW) terrorism, and the U.S. Congress has allocated billions of dollars for counterterrorism and "consequence management" programs. Driving these concerns are the global spread of scientific knowledge and technology relevant to CBW terrorism and the vulnerability of civilian populations to chemical and biological attacks.
Notably lacking from the analysis, however, has been a careful assessment of the terrorists themselves. What types of terrorist groups or individuals are both capable of acquiring chemical and biological weapons and motivated to use them, and for what purposes? Further, what types of toxic agents would probably be produced, and how would they be delivered?
The Middle East remains one of the world's most volatile regions. Stretching from Morocco to Iran, the area has seen numerous international and internal conflicts over the past decades. Understanding the dynamics of these conflicts requires detailed information on the military capabilities of the region's countries.
Biological weapons pose a horrifying and growing threat to the United States and to the world in general. Revelations about Iraq's weapons research and the plans of the Aum Shinrikyo cult in Japan serve as frightening reminders of the potential for military or terrorist use of biological agents.
Condemned to Repetition? The Rise, Fall, and Reprise of Soviet-Russian Military Interventionism, 1973-1996
By Andrew Bennett, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1987-1989
Why did the Soviet Union use less force to preserve the Soviet empire from 1989 to 1991 than it had used in distant and impoverished Angola in 1975? This book fills a key gap in international relations theories by examining how actors'' preferences and causal conceptions change as they learn from their experiences.
The bombings of the World Trade Center and the Oklahoma City federal building have shown that terrorist attacks can happen anywhere in the United States. Around the globe, massacres, hijackings, and bombings of airliners are frequent reminders of the threat of terrorism. The use of poison gas in the Tokyo subway has raised the specter of even more horrible forms of terror -- including the use of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
July 30, 1998
Analysts of international politics have debated heatedly over the likely consequences of the spread of nuclear weapons. Most argue that nuclear proliferation will destabilize the world and increase the risk of nuclear war. Others counter that the threat of nuclear war is enough to convince new nuclear nations to adopt prudent security policies.
By Bradley Thayer, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1995–1997, Richard A. Falkenrath, Former Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Former Principal Investigator, Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness; Former Executive Director for Research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Robert Newman, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1995-1996
Nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons delivered covertly by terrorists or hostile governments pose a significant and growing threat to the United States and other countries. Although the threat of NBC attack is widely recognized as a central national security issue, most analysts have assumed that the primary danger is military use by states in war, with traditional military means of delivery. The threat of covert attack has been imprudently neglected.