ECONOMICS OF NATIONAL SECURITY
March 27, 2014
Op-Ed, The Atlantic
By Ben Heineman, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
Now that military strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has declared his intention to run for Egypt’s presidency, he should keep something in mind: Both Hosni Mubarak and his successor, Mohammed Morsi, weren’t only ousted from the country’s highest office because they suppressed political and constitutional rights, writes Ben Heineman. They also fell because fitful economic reforms failed to address poverty and near-poverty, high unemployment, extremely high youth unemployment, and unchecked inflation.
Journal Article, International Security, issue 2, volume 38
By Charles Glaser, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1982-1985; Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security
U.S. scholars and policymakers commonly worry that a lack of "energy security" hurts U.S. national security, yet few have analyzed the links between states' energy requirements and the probability of military conflict. An investigation of these links identifies threats to U.S. national security flowing from other countries' consumption of oil, rather than just U.S. consumption. Furthermore, while many of the security threats associated with Persian Gulf oil have decreased, new oil-driven dangers are emerging in Northeast Asia.
Journal Article, International Security, issue 2, volume 38
While the threat of "resource wars" over possession of oil reserves is often exaggerated, between one-quarter and one-half of interstate wars since 1973 have been connected to one or more of eight distinct oil-related causal mechanisms. Understanding these mechanisms can help policymakers design grand strategy and allocate military resources.
October 17, 2013
Journal Article, Monitor, International Interviews, issue 1/1, volume 6
"In our view, the field has moved away from a careful reliance on theory, and is just mindlessly going out and testing hypotheses without thinking very hard about what's really causing what."
Journal Article, International Security, issue 1, volume 38
A common argument among scholars and policymakers is that America’s military preeminence and deep international engagement yield significant economic benefits to the United States and the rest of the world. Ostensibly, military primacy, beyond reducing security tensions, also encourages economic returns through a variety of loosely articulated causal mechanisms. A deeper analytical look reveals the causal pathways through which military primacy is most likely to yield economic returns: geoeconomic favoritism, whereby the military hegemon attracts private capital in return for providing the greatest security and safety to investors; direct geopolitical favoritism, according to which sovereign states, in return for living under the security umbrella of the military superpower, voluntarily transfer resources to help subsidize the costs of hegemony; and the public goods benefits that flow from hegemonic stability. A closer investigation of these causal mechanisms reveals little evidence that military primacy attracts private capital. The evidence for geopolitical favoritism seems more robust during periods of bipolarity than unipolarity. The evidence for public goods benefits is strongest, but military predominance plays only a supporting role in that logic. While further research is needed, the aggregate evidence suggests that the economic benefits of military hegemony have been exaggerated in policy circles. These findings have significant implications for theoretical debates about the fungibility of military power and should be considered when assessing U.S. fiscal options and grand strategy for the next decade.
July 7, 2013
Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal
By Michèle Flournoy, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
With more than a decade of war coming to a close and the U.S. government facing daunting fiscal challenges, the defense budget is on the chopping block. Without a budget deal that addresses tax and entitlement reforms, defense spending will play a disproportionately large role in getting the nation's economic house in order. The 2011 Budget Control Act mandated that the Defense Department cut nearly $500 billion over the next decade and crafted the sequestration straitjacket now binding the Pentagon.
July 1, 2013
The United States and India have a strong and shared interest in preventing extremist groups from using Afghanistan as a base from which to launch terror attacks. If our two countries work together to foster stability in Afghanistan without provoking a counterproductive Pakistani response, we can further our Strategic Partnership and advance peace and security in South Asia.
Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter
The Belfer Center launched its annual International Council meeting on April 9 with animated discussions of, among others, U.S. energy politics, the links between economic policy and national security, cybersecurity, and the rise of China. Participants included members of the Center's International Council and Board of Directors as well as faculty and senior fellows.
The United States' extended system of security commitments creates a set of institutional relationships that foster political communication. Alliance institutions are first about security protection, but they also bind states together and create institutional channels of communication. For example, NATO has facilitated ties and associated institutions that increase the ability of the United States and Europe to talk to each other and to do business. Likewise, the bilateral alliances in East Asia also play a communication role beyond narrow security issues. Consultations and exchanges spill over into other policy areas. This gives the United States the capacity to work across issue areas, using assets and bargaining chips in one area to make progress in another.
November 23, 2012
Op-Ed, Washington Post
By David Ignatius, Senior Fellow, Future of Diplomacy Project
The Syrian opposition took a big step forward this month by forming a broad political coalition that includes local activists who started the revolution. But the opposition’s military command is still a mess, and until it’s fixed, jihadist extremists will keep getting more powerful.