The theme of the 2018 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA) is “The Power of Rules and Rule of Power”. Over the past five years, Contemporary Security Policy has published various articles that address questions of power, rules as well as their interaction. These articles are made freely available until the end of April.
In her award-winning article, Trine Flockhart argues that power and rules vary across the different orders in the world. We can no longer speak of one set of powers or rules, but there are indeed multiple constellations of powers and rules.
Great powers versus local powers
A critical theme over the last two decades has also been the inability of international (great) powers to take on local powers and set the rule. David H. Ucko has analyzed local-level counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, whereas Birte Julia Gippert looks at the interaction between local and international power in Bosnia.
New arenas of contestation
The power of rules and the rule of power are also themes relevant in new arenas of contestation. Stephen Burgess and Janet Beilstein have studied China’s scramble for resources in southern Africa, whereas Conrad Rein examines how peace and security in Africa are strengthened through institutional cooperation. Cyber has also become a critical topic for CSP over the last five years. Ilai Saltzman analyses cyber posturing and the offense-defense balance, while Krzysztof Feliks Sliwinski discusses the difficulty of the EU to become an actor in the field of cyber.
Emerging powers and the Old Continent
Finally, where there are emerging powers, there are old powers. While other journals and magazines have paid considerable attention to the United States-China rivalry, authors in CSP have also considered the role of the Old Continent. Jolyon Howorth provides a sober overview of EU strategic thinking on the emerging powers. Niklas I.M. Nováky, in his CSP article, discusses why the EU has gone so soft on Russia in the case of Ukraine.
These nine articles provide a glimpse of the scholarship that CSP publishes on powers and rules. The collection of articles testifies to the prominence of this year’s ISA theme in security studies and the understanding of international relations more generally. CSP therefore welcomes future submissions on this theme.