Something Must Be Done, But What? On Humanitarian Interventions

CSP_Blog_16_04_AbeWhen confronted by shocking images of gross human rights violations, massacres and massive flows of refugees, many people may shout: ‘something must be done!’ Unfortunately, such tragic images are, on a daily basis, coming out of Syria and northern Iraq where the Islamic State reigns, and many other places all over the world. Moreover, thanks to the development of inexpensive communicative devices, such tragic images are spread worldwide at a historically unprecedented speed.

However, cries for ‘something must be done’ will soon be followed by the question: ‘but what?’. One key consideration is the legitimisation of intervention by the international community. Foreign intervention breaches of the principles of sovereign integrity and non-use of force, both of which are stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations. Whilst action can be legitimised by UN Security Council authorisation, often agreement in New York is difficult to achieve.

By questions of legitimacy do not end with UN authorisation. Foreign military intervention may bring about casualties among local civilians and soldiers of intervening states, even it was mandated to bring a conflict to a close. So we may experience a situation in which proponents of intervention use lethal force and, at the same time, voices calling for troops to be withdrawn from battle will become louder.

This question has been repeatedly posed since the end of the Cold War. One of the first instances was the war in Bosnia (broadly speaking, the former Yugoslavia). In this case, international action was strongly urged as it was stated: “Shame in Our Time, in Bosnia” (The New York Times, 21 May 1992). As the intervention continued, nevertheless, other voices were increasingly raised, warning about the dangers of becoming deeply involved. After all, Western governments were subjected to public criticism for failing to stop the war and, at the same time, for dragging their public into a foreign war.

Former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind described this difficulty by stating that:

‘something must be done’ may not be sustained if involvement in a bitter conflict in a country in which no vital national interests are at stake results in casualties. The clamour for action can turn, almost overnight, into an equally vigorous clamour to ‘bring our boys home’.

Why do such ‘dilemmas’ appear, even when action is required genuinely for humanitarian reasons? Supposedly, this is because we are living in a world where information and normative concerns are globalised, but the political system remains unchanged. The traditional international system has been established with the rule of non-intervention and the principle of non-use of armed forces to make inter-state relations more stable. Meanwhile, information recognises no territorial borders and in domestic politics its unrestricted flow has created an agenda too inhumane to ignore. This gap between a geographically-constrained world and a globally spreading world generates dilemmas for state decision makers.

In my article I analyse this dilemma in the case of Bosnian intervention and I discuss the consequences it had for NATO. These questions remain, however, critically important today. The intervention of the international community in Libya in 2011, for example, was very much inspired by the idea that ‘something must be done’ to protect civilians against the Gaddafi regime. On the other hand, the international community has been reluctant to further provide support to Libya after the NATO missions were done.

Yuki Abe is an Associate Professor at Kumamoto University, Japan. He is the author of “Norm dilemmas and international organizational development: humanitarian intervention in the crisis of Bosnia and the reorganization of North Atlantic Treaty Organization”, Contemporary Security Policy, Vol.37, No.1, pp.62-88. It is available here.

The precarious China-Russia partnership erodes security in East Asia

CSP_Blog_16_06_BaevThe real progress in building partnership is far weaker than Moscow and Beijing try to demonstrate, but this is worrisome news for their East Asian neighbors.

With the explosion of the Ukraine crisis in spring 2014, Russia made a determined effort to upgrade its strategic partnership with China and achieved instant success. Large-scale economic contracts were signed in a matter of a few months, and the military parades in Moscow and Beijing in respectively May and September 2015, in which the two leaders stood shoulder to shoulder, were supposed to show the readiness of two world powers to combine their military might. In fact, however, the partnership has encountered serious setbacks and as of spring 2016, is significantly off-track.

It is the economic content of bi-lateral cooperation that has registered the most obvious decline. The volume of trade, which the officials promised to double in just a few years, actually contracted in 2015 by about a third comparing with 2014. The economic crisis in Russia and the sharp decline in purchasing power were the main reasons for this setback, and there are no reasons to expect an improvement in 2016 or in the years to come. The dramatic drop of oil prices in 2015 has not only devalued the much-trumpeted “400 billion dollars” gas contract signed in May 2014. It has also destroyed the economic foundation of the partnership because the development of “green fields” in East Siberia and construction of pipelines to China has become entirely cost-inefficient.

President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping have tried to downplay this weakening of economic ties by emphasizing their perfect rapport. But in fact this “beautiful friendship” is also far from sincere. Putin understands perfectly well the desire to strengthen personal power but the struggle against corruption, which is Xi Jinping’s method of choice in asserting his control, is for him a perilous path. Xi Jinping approves Putin’s boldness in challenging the US “hegemony” but is highly suspicious about his inability to ensure a smooth transition of power, which in China is a firm rule of the political game. The cultural gap between the elites in two states remains vast, and this guarantees the profound lack of trust between the leadership.

Beijing has no reasons to worry about this derailed partnership, but Moscow – engaged in a dangerous and costly confrontation with the West – most certainly has plenty of worries. Attending the September parade in Beijing, Putin quite possibly understood the need to prove Russia’s value as a strategic partner to the mighty neighbor. The effectively executed intervention in Syria was one way to do it, and Xi Jinping was probably impressed with this boldness in projecting power. Yet in the six months since September that impression has gradually paled as the limits of Russian reach have become clear and the risks have accumulated. Fundamentally, China is not interested in Russia’s attempts at manipulating conflicts in the Middle East. After all, its core interests are in ensuring the stable flow of oil, which is not necessarily what Moscow wants to see.

Russia cannot interfere with China’s expansion in Central Asia in the framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, and has very little to offer in terms of networks or influence in Africa or Latin America. The only region where it can do something that would be useful for China is, by default, the East Asia. Moscow may feel compelled to abandon its position of benevolent neutrality in various maritime disputes there and provide unambiguous support for China’s stance, which could make a difference in Beijing’s eyes.

Russia may be reluctant to execute such a political maneuver in the South China Sea as it would ruin its relations with Vietnam – an old ally and one of the few states that remain positively inclined toward Russia. It would have fewer if any reservations in coming to China’s side in the East China Sea disputes, where Japan is the key party. Russia has its own territorial issues with Japan and the recently demonstrated readiness to escalate tensions by staging high-level official visits to the South Kuril Islands may be an indication of the possibility to support China in the next round of quarrels about the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.

China’s is certainly far more cautious than Russia in projecting military power for political purposes, but it monitors Russian experiments with great interest. The price for these experiments might appear prohibitively high as economic sanctions add to the decline of industrial production and set Russia on the rack of de-modernization. What makes this balance sheet less convincing is the fact that Russian economy had entered into the phase of protracted stagnation before the introduction of sanctions and the fall of oil prices. The political turn to the extensive use of military instruments was therefore aimed at launching a “patriotic” mobilization that would negate the impact of economic downturn.

Had China’s economy continued on the trajectory of strong growth, no need in such risky experiments would have emerged for its leadership. The phenomenon of China’s uninterrupted growth might, however, arrive to an end, and the spasms in its stock market might be a symptom of deeper troubles. In the unfamiliar and disturbing situation of an economic crisis, Beijing may very well take a leaf out of Putin’s book on wielding military instruments for boosting domestic support. Moscow then will be only too happy to provide support for its mighty neighbor and thus escape from the position of the main challenger of the international order.

Until recently, East Asian states, and first of all Japan, worried about the possibility of an alliance between Russia and China as the two rising powers. Now they have more reasons to worry about the maverick behavior of declining Russia and wavering China. Both have failed to build a solid economic foundation for their partnership but may find it opportune to back one another in using military power as an effective instrument of revisionist policy.

Pavel K. Baev is is a Research Director and Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) in Norway. He is the author of “Russia’s pivot to China goes astray: the impact on the Asia-Pacific security architecture”, Contemporary Security Policy, Vol.37, No.1, pp.89-110. It is available via Open Access here.

On Style: Adopting the APA System

CSP CoverYou may have noticed that Contemporary Security Policy is undergoing a number of changes. Some of these have to do with the new editorship. Others are unrelated.

Starting with the April 2016 issue, we changed the layout of our articles. This is part of a wider drive by the publisher (Routledge / Taylor and Francis) to make journal articles fit for on-screen reading and more interactive (read more here). You will find similar article layouts in other journals by the publisher.

We have also redesigned the jacket of the journal. The colour scheme has remained the same, but the new design is more appropriate for the Internet age. Elements from the new cover design are also used on this editor’s website and the Twitter account of the journal. As such there is uniformity in terms of design. The August 2016 issue will be the first issue with the new cover.

We are also changing the style of the journal and the formatting of the references. In short, we are moving from an endnote Chicago type system to in-text citation (APA). There are a number of reasons for this. First, we have experienced problems in the past with the indexing of endnotes (for example by Google Scholar). In this electronic day and age, it is important that scholarly resources are electronically linked to one another. Second, because many readers now read the articles on-screen, and since it is a hassle to scroll back-and-forward to the endnotes, it seems better that readers immediately see the source through in-text referencing. Finally, while part of the discipline of international relations and international security has a strong background in history (which traditionally prefers notes), the current reality is that most CSP articles are from the social sciences. Indeed, few recent CSP articles actually use archival sources.

We will therefore switch to APA. Most, if not all, authors are familiar with this style. It is a consistent style and it is available for EndNote. In the interest of harmonisation, we will be following the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition) to the letter. This also implies that we will be switching from Oxford English to American English (Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition).

The new stylesheet will be implemented only from volume 38 (2017). This implies, however, a degree of planning. To minimise work on the side of the authors (i.e. the need to change style), we recommend that all newly submitted papers after 15 April 2016 follow the new stylesheet. Authors with a revise-and-resubmit decision should follow the old stylesheet unless they have been informed otherwise. In case of doubt, please contact me.

You will find the new style guide and information on the formatting of the reference list on this Editor’s website. Information on the “old” style is also still listed on these pages (scroll down).

Hylke Dijkstra
Editor-in-Chief

Rising Bipolarity in the South China Sea

CSP_Blog_2016_05_Burgess_02Despite soft-balancing by the United States and its pivot to Asia, China is likely to continue its expansionist policies in the South China Sea.

The first four years of the US rebalance to Asia have witnessed increased US diplomatic, economic and military efforts, the strengthening of alliances and partnerships, and increased engagement with China. The rebalance and engagement with China have had episodically curbed Beijing’s behavior in the South China Sea followed by new waves of Chinese expansion.

US diplomacy, including statements by President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry, and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, as well as support for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Code of Conduct, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and a moratorium on construction have occasionally caused China to take “one step back” and make conciliatory gestures. But Beijing took “two steps forward” in 2013 and 2015 with accelerated outpost construction and militarization. This can be seen as a counter to the rebalance and as part of a strategy to change the status quo in the South China Sea.

Beijing has shown that it will surge, stop, and surge in its expanding construction activities. It will continue to issue warnings to military aircraft and ships from the United States and its partners from “intruding” into newly claimed territory.

The United States is currently counting on soft balancing. It employs multilateral diplomacy through ASEAN and a coalition with the Philippines, Japan, Vietnam and others to eventually bring China to negotiate a binding Code of Conduct and resolve the growing dispute. Soft balancing, backed by security cooperation and US military power, appears to be the optimal strategy in the short to medium term, given the weakness of allied and partner security forces.

Increased security cooperation, with joint exercises with Southeast Asian nations and Japan, Australia and India as well as the equipping and training of Southeast Asian security forces, is demonstrating growing resolve in the face of assertive actions by China’s security forces. Continuing cruises by the US Navy and overflight by US naval and air force planes are providing military backing to soft balancing. It is a signals to China and reassures allies and partners, which are trying to defend their exclusive economic zones.

As the cornerstone of the rebalance, the Trans-Pacific Partnership will increase US influence in the region and strengthen ties with Malaysia and Vietnam and eventually other states. Increased multilateral trade will enable these states to stand up to China and efforts at economic blackmail. The increasing free flow of goods and investment will encourage US companies to become more involved in the region and will increase US interests in the region. The invitation to China to join provides an incentive for cooperation on the South China Sea issue.

The trajectory of China’s behavior will determine if the soft balancing approach will be successful. Until recently, defensive realists have been correct in explaining China’s behavior and gauging its intentions. China had been driven both by the need to defend growing national security and economic interests, evidenced by the leadership’s statements on the South China Sea and incremental expansionist policy.

If China remains motivated mainly by defense of its interests, the reputational costs being imposed against expansion will eventually cause a recalculation of Beijing’s strategy. Soft-balancing by the United States and its partners would stand a good chance of working. A ruling in favor of the Philippines in the UNCLOS case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the International Court of Justice would add ammunition to the soft balancing strategy.

In recent years, however, the offensive realist perspective on China’s behavior and intentions has gained currency. If China is indeed assertively trying to change the status quo in the South China Sea, it will be more difficult for soft balancing to influence Beijing’s behavior. However, it is too early to definitively conclude that China has gone over to the offensive. President Xi Jin Ping may be using expansion in the South China Sea as a way of demonstrating his power as a leader. Alternatively, the economic slowdown in China combined with the US rebalance may cause the leadership to rethink the strategy. Also, the New Silk Road strategy of infrastructure investment may cause Beijing to become more cooperative with the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The constructivist perspective, which points to the leadership’s self-conceptualization as succeeding Imperial China in the Asian domain and as part of its strategic culture and appeals to Chinese nationalism, provides further insight into Beijing’s behavior and intentions. On the one hand, China’s strategic culture also includes confidence that patience will eventually bring rewards and that dominance will come sooner or later.

On the other hand, Xi appears to be offensively asserting China’s growing power and moving towards dominance before he is due to step down in 2023. He is also appealing to Chinese nationalism in forging ahead in the South China Sea. Nationalism is strong in China. It may lead to unintended escalation and other negative consequences in the South China Sea as well as the East China Sea against Japan.

In 2023, it is likely that Xi Jin Ping’s successor will continue the policy of expansion in the South China Sea. By that time, China may have been able to resolve its domestic problems and shifted to a consumer-driven economy. This could put it into a position where it is able to make international concessions. China also will strive to draw closer diplomatically, economically and militarily to ASEAN states. However, if China’s economy declines, the leadership could either focus inward and make concessions on the South China Sea or less likely stir up nationalist sentiments and initiate a diversionary conflict.

Stephen Burgess is a Professor at the Department of International Security Studies of the Air War College at the Maxwell Air Force Base in the United States. He is the author of “Rising Bipolarity in the South China Sea”, Contemporary Security Policy, Vol.37, No.1, pp.111-143. It is available here.

Shortlist 2016 Bernard Brodie Prize

Bernard Brodie lecturing, by Walter Sanders for Life Magazine, September 1946
Bernard Brodie lecturing, by Walter Sanders for Life Magazine, September 1946

Contemporary Security Policy awards the Bernard Brodie Prize annually to the author of an outstanding article published in the journal the previous year.

The award is named for Dr. Bernard Brodie (1918-1978), author of The Absolute Weapon (1946), Strategy in the Missile Age (1958) and War and Strategy (1973), establishing ideas that remain at the centre of security debates to this day. One of the first analysts to cross between official and academic environments, he pioneered the model of civilian influence that CSP represents.

It is with great pleasure to announce the shortlist of the 2016 Bernard Brodie Prize:

  • Seth Baum (2015) ‘Winter-safe Deterrence: The Risk of Nuclear Winter and Its Challenge to Deterrence’, Contemporary Security Policy 36(1): 123-148.
  • Richard Bitzinger (2015) ‘Defense Industries in Asia and the Technonationalist Impulse’, Contemporary Security Policy 36(3): 453-472.
  • John Mitton (2015) ‘Selling Schelling Short: Reputations and American Coercive Diplomacy after Syria’, Contemporary Security Policy 36(3): 408-431.
  • Niklas Nováky (2015) ‘Why so Soft? The European Union in Ukraine’, Contemporary Security Policy 36(2): 244-266.
  • Patricia Shamai (2015) ‘Name and Shame: Unravelling the Stigmatization of Weapons of Mass Destruction’, Contemporary Security Policy 36(1): 104-122.

The shortlist has been put together by outgoing editors Aaron Karp and Regina Karp and the new editor Hylke Dijkstra. The Bernard Brodie Prize will be awarded by a jury from the CSP editorial board. All the articles on the shortlist for the 2016 Bernard Brodie Prize are freely available here.

Prepare for the Coming Multi-Order World

CSP_Blog_16_02_FlockhartThe international system is changing on a scale that is bigger than the end of the Cold War.

The international system is changing, while our institutions seem to be challenged by a long succession of crises. Policy makers have expressed the feelings that ‘the world is spinning out of control’ and that ‘order is collapsing’ and that we appear to be returning to a multipolar system.

A return to a multipolar system is, however, an overly simplistic reading of the current situation. Rather what appears on the horizon is a completely different international system, which is composed of different international orders rather than by different powerful sovereign states. The coming multi-order world will be characterized by very different dynamics and order-making practices. The current liberal order will continue to exist, but its global reach will be a thing of the past and it will be joined by other ‘orders’ based on different ideas and identities. Liberal order-making practices and values will no longer be universally shared.

The uncertainty about the apparent systemic change in the making is not surprising. Systemic change is a rare occurrence, which has only happened three times in the last 200 years – in 1815 after the Napoleonic wars, in the protracted and bloody process of collapsing order between 1914-1945 and finally in 1989 with the end of the Cold War. Moreover, systemic change is complex and likely to be a long process of subtle changes, whose significance may only be visible retrospectively. The question is therefore how we know if the international system is changing, and if it is changing, what kind of international system lies ahead?

Despite the rarity, complexity and subtlety of change in the international system, indicators of systemic change are all too apparent. They include shifting power, the appearance of new and re-emerging actors on the international scene, and challenges to established practices and ideas, all of which are expressed in the many ongoing crises facing decision-makers.

In addition, strategic foresight analyses point to changes in demographics, individual empowerment, technology and access to technology, resources, economics and the environment. These changes are likely to place increased demands on the institutional capacity and political structures of the current international order. Together these two forms of change add up to a murky picture of compounding complexity and add to the feelings of ‘collapsing order’.

To better understand the significance of the multi-order world, it is useful to compare this system with the three alternative arguments in the academic and policy literature on the kind of new international system in the making.

The first position is the most prevalent. Proponents argue that what lies ahead is a multipolar world in which several great powers will compete and use traditional balance of power politics to balance each other and to advance their own interests. It is anticipated that the international system will revert back to a past system of multipolarity much akin to what was in place during the 19th century. This position assumes continued primacy of the United States, although balancing may either be an active form primarily against China or it may be offshore with a retrenched America focusing on domestic American issues.

The second position is favored by liberal internationalists such as Hillary Clinton and John Ikenberry. Proponents argue that what lies ahead is a multi-partner world. This is essentially a continuation of the existing system in which the United States will attempt to maintain its leadership position. At the same time, it will enter into partnerships with new actors, which they assume can be coopted into a reformed version of the existing order. This position assumes a continued high level of American engagement in global affairs in partnership with allies and other stakeholders in the global order.

The third position emphasizes that the new international system will not only be characterized by a diffusion of power, but will also be characterized by diversity of ideas. The position argues that what lies ahead is a multi-culture world. The challenge will be to reach global consensus on collective security challenges whilst accepting diversity in domestic and regional affairs. The expectation is a new form of international system, which is de-centered and lacking any overall shared values and practices. The position of the United States will be to remain the leader of liberal states and to strengthen the core and the magnetism of the existing liberal order.

Although each of the three positions point to a plausible future, they do not fully capture what lies ahead. Rather, it is necessary to look more closely at the constituent elements of international orders and how the condition of order is constituted through different practices and resting on particular identities. By uncovering the different elements of international orders, it is possible to see how the three previous historical processes of systemic change have played out in very different ways on each occasion. Moreover, by focusing on the elements making up the current international order, it is revealed that the current changes taking place are deeper and perhaps more far-reaching than previous systemic change. The likely coming international system is a new form composed of several ‘international orders’ nested within an overall international system.

The challenge in a multi-order world will be to forge new forms of relationships between diverse actors. This requires convergence involving complex power relations, different partnerships and reformed institutions that are able to reach across dividing lines to forge cooperation between different cultures with different domestic governance structures. The coming multi-order world will be radically different and the changes that are currently taking place are every bit as far reaching as previous systemic changes. Given that it is likely to end 200 years of the expansion of the liberal order, the coming systemic change is likely to be experienced by the West as deeply unsettling.

Trine Flockhart is Professor of International Relations at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. She is the author of “The Coming Multi-Order World”, Contemporary Security Policy, Vol.37, No.1, 2016, pp.3-30. It is available via OpenAccess here.

Un(wo)manned Aerial Vehicles: How UAVs Influence Masculinity In The Conflict Arena

CSP_Blog_16_01_KunashakaranAs a result of the introduction of drones (or UAVs), there have been numerous studies on the moral and ethical uses of an asymmetrical warfare, a war where one side is vastly superior to the other. However, not much research has been done into the intrinsic effects of these technologies.

How do they affect soldiers? How do they transform the role of gender in the society? Are they really the “silver bullet” that policymakers have been looking for: a machine that keeps troops far away from the ugliness of war? Or do they in fact bring the conflict zone closer than ever before?

Albert Camus once said that “there are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for”. With the technological advancements of drones and the continuous distancing of troops from the warzone, the question is not so much of what militaries would kill for, but rather how they could potentially suffer from the kill.

Talking about masculinity and militaries can get rather tense. And a full article on it seems to simply suck all the air out of the room. However, with the technological advancements that push soldiers further and further away from the battlezone, we need to give more thought to such abstract ideas.

The Evolution of Technology and The Role of Women

Today’s women are beginning to lead in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In institutions that are considered “manly”, women are beginning to play a leading role. And with the introduction of technology, neither mere brute strength nor physical prowess are deciding factors of what makes an ideal combatant.

When studying the changing dynamics of a conflict zone, gender is increasingly a key consideration.CSP_Blog_16_01_Kunashakaran_wecandoit

With the increasing use of UAVs, and similar distancing technologies that seek to protect troops, it is also time we talked about how women play a role with the technologies that dominate the conflict arena.

Back in the 20th century, World War II had a strong influence on women and the workforce. During this period, fields that were usually reserved for men suddenly saw a previously untapped demographic. An example are the very iconic “Rosie The Riveter” posters. This thrust helped to change the futur
e of the world, and of women in the workforce.

More recently, the US Army has begun to open up previously “men-only” positions to women. But do current deeply-entrenched norms and values in a rather male-dominated society give way that easily? Does the continuous chase for the ultimate killing machine transform traditional masculinity?

The Latent Psychological Effects of Combatant Technology

When writing my article on the influence of UAVs on gender dynamics, it made me think of how we approach the very tricky subject of humanity. Studying the various effects that arise with the increasing distancing of the warzone, I observed that sometimes hardest part is to reconcile the conflict going on “within”.

A stark finding were the significant levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that drone operators suffer from, even when far away from the warzone. This seems counter-intuitive to introducing a technology that “protects” combatants. It is precisely for this reasons that we need to further delve into these latent psychological effects.

PTSD seems to be caused by the incredibly complex juxtaposition of having to constantly switch between a combatant mind-set and then stepping out of the airbase to go home interacting with family or everyday society. This constant psychological switch takes a toll of previously unobserved magnitude on the individual.

Critical Policy Considerations for the Future

This is why, more so than soldiers on the ground, structural policies need to address a vast number of psychological, emotional and social factors. It also begs the question of when we are going to consider the aspect of human fallibility in the design of technologies?

Every day we hear more about robots and cyborgs taking over aspects of daily lives of humans. A rather (seemingly) un-gendered entity encroaches upon humanity and sufficient focus needs to be placed on policies that address this changing dimension. And in the fields of security and the military, advancements in technology keep the battlefield far away from home, with the ease of eliminating an individual resting on an operator’s fingertips.

With the future of warfare teetering on the edge of humanity, the increase of distancing technology in the conflict zone could potentially give individuals a more cavalier attitude towards conflict, resulting in ideas that violence is a need, rather than a last resort. After all, it is a clean war. And human lives are simply collateral damage.

A key consideration for policymakers should be to be a little more introspective, rather than to go out guns blazing and causing irreparable damage to humanity.

Sumita Kunashakaran is currently based in Singapore and is an Associate Consultant at Strategic Moves Pte Ltd and an External Consultant at Asia Aviation Services Pte Ltd. She is the author of “Un(wo)manned aerial vehicles: an assessment of how unmanned aerial vehicles influence masculinity in the conflict arena”, Contemporary Security Policy, Vol.37, No.1, 2016, pp.31-61 which she completed during her Masters in International Relations at The University of Edinburgh. Access here

The coming multi-order world

novus_ordos
US Dollar Bill: Novus Ordos Seclorum

Trine Flockhart from the University of Kent, United Kingdom has just published an article entitled “The coming multi-order world”.

Abstract: The article shows that the current international system is changing towards a completely new form of international system, conceptualized as a multi-order system. The suggestion for a multi-order world stands in contrast to three current narratives about the future global order expressed through a multipolar narrative; a multi-partner narrative and a multi-culture narrative. The article demonstrates that although each narrative points to a plausible future, neither fully captures what lies ahead. Using English School concepts such as order, international society, international system and primary and secondary institutions, the article reveals a conception of the coming international system as a system consisting of several different ‘orders’ (or international societies) nested within an overall international system. In the coming ‘multi-order world’, the liberal order will continue, and may even be strengthened internally, but its global reach will be a thing of the past. Moreover, the challenge in a multi-order world will be to forge new forms of relationships between composite and diverse actors across complex lines of division and convergence. Scholars and policy-makers should note that the coming multi-order world will be radically different, requiring new thinking and new institutions and the acceptance of diversity in both power and principle.

Access the full article here (Open Access).

United States policy toward Taiwan

U.S._President_Eisenhower_visited_TAIWAN
Visit of President Eisenhower to Taiwan in 1960.

Shaohua Hu from the Department of Government and Politics, Wagner College NY, has just published an article entitled “A framework for analysis of national interest: United States policy toward Taiwan”.

Abstract: The rise of China in the 21st century has generated a new round of debates on American policy toward Taiwan. Generally speaking, one side suggests that Washington should adjust its Taiwan policy to improve its relations with China, while the other argues against downgrading the relations with Taiwan. Both sides invoke the concept of national interest, but the concept is not unproblematic, and cherry-picking different facts and arguments is far from convincing. This article has two purposes: using the concept of national interest to examine the Taiwan policy, and using this case to illuminate the concept itself. After reviewing the concept, I propose what I call ‘four Ps’ framework to facilitate policy-making and analysis. The framework comprises four factors that help determine which policy is in national interest. They are players (decision makers), preferences (foreign policy goals), prospects (possible outcomes), and power (the capability of achieving goals).

Access the full article here.

Call for the 2017 Special Issue

Contemporary Security Policy is seeking proposals for a special issue to be published in 2017. The special issue should address a topic within the aims and scope of the journal.

One of the oldest peer reviewed journals in international conflict and security, CSP promotes theoretically-based research on policy problems of armed conflict, intervention and conflict resolution. Since it first appeared in 1980, CSP has established its unique place as a meeting ground for research at the nexus of theory and policy. Major fields of concern include:

  • War and armed conflict
  • Peacekeeping
  • Conflict resolution
  • Arms control and disarmament
  • Defense policy
  • Strategic culture
  • International institutions

CSP is committed to a broad range of intellectual perspectives. Articles promote new analytical approaches, iconoclastic interpretations and previously overlooked perspectives. Its pages encourage novel contributions and outlooks, not particular methodologies or policy goals. Its geographical scope is worldwide and includes security challenges in Europe, Africa, the Middle-East and Asia. Authors are encouraged to examine established priorities in innovative ways and to apply traditional methods to new problems.

Special Issue Proposals

Special issue proposals should contain (in one PDF document):

  • A short discussion of the rationale and contribution of the special issue (3 pages max). Please also state why the topic falls within the aims and scope of the journal and why the proposal would be of interest to a large audience.
  • Contact details, institutional affiliation, one paragraph biography of the special issue co-editors, and three recent publications of each of the co-editors. Feel free to include a link to the personal website of the co-editors. Do not submit full CVs.
  • A list of confirmed articles and authors. Please include for each article (a) the title; (b) 150 word abstract; (c) a very short statement how the article contributes to the special issue and why it needs to be included; (d) a one paragraph author biography; and (e) three recent publications of the author(s).
  • The current state of the special issue. Please describe the background (e.g. previous workshops and conferences) and the timeframe towards the submission deadline.

The special issue will consist of a substantive introduction and 6-8 articles. The introduction should stand on itself. It should serve as a state-of-the-art article and be a reference point for all the other articles in the special issue. It is recommended that special issue proposals include at least 8-9 articles. All articles will be sent by the journal for peer-review on an individual basis. It is unlikely that all articles will eventually make the cut.

Most articles in CSP are around 7,000-8,000 words (including notes and references). However, manuscripts up to 11,000 words are accepted, for example when they include multiple case studies or use mixed methods. Total word limits will be discussed in case of acceptance.

Please submit your application (one PDF file) to csp@nullmaastrichtuniversity.nl. The deadline for the special issue proposal is 15 May 2016. The decision will be announced soon afterwards. The decision by the editor is final. All articles, including the introduction, will have to be submitted by 1 December 2016.