Articles

7 Items

In this Sept. 24, 2010, file photo the National Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) prepares for the Cyber Storm III exercise at its operations center in Arlington, Va.

AP Photo

Magazine Article - Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Future of Power

| Spring 2011

"The conventional wisdom among those who looked at the Middle East used to be that you had a choice either of supporting the autocrat or being stuck with the religious extremists. The extraordinary diffusion of information created in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries reveals a strong middle that we weren't fully aware of. What is more, new technologies allow this new middle to coordinate in ways unseen before Twitter, Facebook, and so forth, and this could lead to a very different politics of the Middle East. This introduces a new complexity to our government's dealings with the region."

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

The Security Curve and the Structure of International Politics: A Neorealist Synthesis

    Author:
  • Davide Fiammenghi
| Spring 2011

Realist scholars have long debated the question of how much power states need to feel secure. Offensive realists claim that states should constantly seek to increase their power. Defensive realists argue that accumulating too much power can be self-defeating. Proponents of hegemonic stability theory contend that the accumulation of capabilities in one state can exert a stabilizing effect on the system. The three schools describe different points along the power con­tinuum. When a state is weak, accumulating power increases its security. This is approximately the situation described by offensive realists. A state that con­tinues to accumulate capabilities will eventually triggers a balancing reaction that puts its security at risk. This scenario accords with defensive realist as­sumptions. Finally, when the state becomes too powerful to balance, its oppo­nents bandwagon with it, and the state’s security begins to increase again. This is the situation described by hegemonic stability theory. These three stages delineate a modified parabolic relationship between power and secu­rity. As a state moves along the power continuum, its security increases up to a point, then decreases, and finally increases again. This modified parabolic re­lationship allows scholars to synthesize previous realist theories into a single framework.

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Graceful Decline? The Surprising Success of Great Power Retrenchment

| Spring 2011

There is broad scholarly consensus that the relative power of the United States is declining and that this decline will have negative consequences for interna­tional politics. This pessimism is justified by the belief that great powers have few options to deal with acute relative decline. Retrenchment is seen as a haz­ardous policy that demoralizes allies and encourages external predation. Faced with shrinking means, great powers are thought to have few options to stave off decline short of preventive war. Contrary to the conventional wis­dom, however, retrenchment is not a relatively rare and ineffective policy in­strument. A comparison of eighteen cases of acute relative decline since 1870 demonstrates that great powers frequently engage in retrenchment and that re­trenchment is often effective. In addition, we find that prevailing explanations overstate the importance of democracies, bureaucracies, and interest groups in inhibiting retrenchment. In fact, the rate of decline can account for both the ex­tent and form of retrenchment, even over short periods. These arguments have important implications for power transition theories and the rise of China.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, left, and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul at the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul, Aug. 14, 2008. Iran's President arrived in Turkey where he is expected to sign a new gas pipeline deal.

AP Photo

Journal Article - Viewpoints

Iran's Islamic Revolution and Its Future

| January 29, 2009

"Regime sustainability despite different internal crises and foreign threats underlines the fact that Iran enjoys a relatively rational decision-making process. The central slogan of the Iranian Revolution was "Independence, Freedom, and Islamic Republic." Today, Iran is an independent state, as it does not belong to an Eastern or a Western bloc. Although the country has not realized its ambition of economic independence, the revolution has provided economic welfare. Rural development has improved people's lives by providing villages with water, electricity, and infrastructure. The essence of independence also
referred to the specific relations between the Iranian monarchy and the United States. The US-sponsored 1953 coup against the popular Muhammad Mosaddeq government made Iran an American client state, leading to Iranian dependence in all aspects."

Magazine Article - The American Interest

Size Matters

| July-August 2008

"As the American political system hurtles toward its quadrennial encounter with the oracle of democracy, it is worth our while to take stock of the country's place in a world beset by bewilderingly rapid change. (Heaven knows none of the candidates will bother to do this.) I want to suggest that an old yet generally neglected subject remains particularly relevant: the relationship between the size of political units and the effective scale of systems of economic production and exchange. Another way to describe this relationship is by recourse to the hoary scholarly phrase "political economy", a term of art that has unfortunately gone out of style...."

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Journal Article - Foreign Affairs

Testing Gorbachev

| Fall 1988

Criticizes "the failure of American policymakers to develop any concept or strategy for dealing with the 'new-thinking' Soviet leadership". Proposes that "the United States and its allies... reach beyond containment to aggressive engagement of the Soviet Union in ways that encourage Gorbachev's reformist instincts" by means of specific tests of his intentions in the fields of arms control, regional conflict and human rights.