This chapter presents an interpretation of the past and present of security studies with an emphasis on the changing periods of theory production and practical problem solving. The field started out as a distinct US specialty much shaped by the new conditions of the 1940s set by nuclear weapons and a long-term mobilization against the Soviet Union, two factors that created a need for a new kind of civilian expert in defence and strategy. From an American, think-tank-based, interdisciplinary field, security studies became institutionalized as a part of one discipline, International Relations (IR), increasingly international and with theory anchored in the universities. Since the 1990s, the field has been in a new period of high theory productivity, but largely in two separate clusters with the USA and Europe as centres of each. This analysis is used as a basis for raising some central questions and predictions about the future of the field.
This final chapter addresses a really big question: are international relations heading towards order or chaos? To answer this question, it interrogates the different IR theories presented in previous chapters. An initial section provides a conceptual map, based on a review of different understandings of the concept of world order. The chapter proceeds by discussing the effect of the rise of authoritarian power such as China, new challenges in established democracies, fragile states in the Global South, and the governance provided by international institutions. The chapter ends by arguing that the glass is at the same time half-full and half-empty: the world faces new and formidable challenges and we are very far from meeting current aspirations for world order; at the same time, global relations are much more ordered than they used to be just a few generations ago—and things are far better than many pessimists claim.
This chapter discusses how states use political violence and asks whether this sort of action could be considered terrorism or not. It lists the core points of study related to state acts of violence. These include instances of threatened acts of violence, state approval of violent acts, and the psychological impact of state and non-state acts of violence. State terrorism has become marginalized because the focus has been primarily on certain types of non-state political violence. States frequently sponsor or assist violent groups internationally when such acts serve their foreign policy objectives. The chapter examines examples of governments taking advantage of state terrorism. This tends to happen in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, but also with colonial powers and liberal democracies too. The chapter clarifies how an accurate definition of terrorism is dependent on intent, which is difficult to determine for state and non-state actors.
This chapter looks into the rationality of terrorism. It starts off by looking into the paradox of terrorism. Political scientists typically view terrorists as rational political actors. However, empirical research on terrorism suggests that terrorism is in fact an ineffective political tactic. Evidence indicates that in instances where there has been terrorist attacks on civilians, governments rarely grant concessions. This might explain why terrorism is often selected as a tactic only if alternative options are no longer viable. The chapter uses Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State as case studies to examine broader patterns of terrorism. Knowing the priority of terrorists is vital for governments when considering counterterrorism actions. Having an understanding of the grievances of terrorists helps political actors predict which targets the terrorists will attack.
This chapter examines theories that explain the causes of war. It considers ideas advanced by political scientists, sociologists, biologists, and philosophers, showing that different explanations of war give rise to different requirements or conditions for peace. After highlighting the difficulties in studying war, the chapter discusses human nature explanations of war, citing such factors as frustration, misperception, misunderstanding, miscalculation, and errors of judgement as well as the role of human collectives including factions, tribes, nations, and states. It then describes the bargaining model of war before turning to inter-state wars, intra-state conflicts, and ethnic conflicts. It also explores the debate over whether ‘greed’ or ‘grievance’ are the main causes of civil wars. The chapter concludes that identifying a single cause appropriate to all wars is an exercise in futility and that a worldwide ‘just’ peace is unattainable.
This chapter considers how China’s grand strategy has evolved over time from strategies of survival under Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping to regaining its standing as a major power under Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, and now Xi Jinping. It looks at the way Xi’s China has been particularly proactive about building Chinese economic, military, and political power and the way he has leveraged this power to make China a global power and a dominant power in Asia. In addition to external threats and opportunities, it considers how domestic factors have also shaped the contours of Chinese grand strategy. The chapter then analyses how debates about Chinese intentions, in particular towards international institutions and military expansion, colour perspectives on the potential impact of Chinese grand strategy. The main focus is on the evolution of Chinese grand strategy, its drivers, and its implications.
20. Coercive Diplomacy: Countering War-Threatening Crises and Armed Conflicts
Nowadays states rarely resort to war to defeat each other or to address war-threatening crises and armed conflicts. Instead, coercive diplomacy has emerged as their strategy of choice when persuasion and other non-military instruments fall short. Coercive diplomacy involves the use of military threats and/or limited force (sticks) coupled with inducements and assurances (carrots) in order to influence the opponent to do something it would prefer not to. States use coercive diplomacy in the hope of achieving their objectives without having to resort to full-scale war. This chapter presents the strategy of coercive diplomacy and its requirements for success and shows how states have employed it to manage crises and conflicts during the three strategic eras that the world has passed through since the end of the Cold War.
This chapter looks into various conceptualizations of terrorism. Most terrorism scholars view terrorism as a distinctive phenomenon when compared with other forms of political violence. Terrorism is most often defined as the use of violence for the purpose of generating a psychological impact beyond the immediate victims or any sort of political motive. However, how to accurately define terrorism has long been the subject of contentious debates both within policy-making and the terrorism studies literature of the past fifty years. The chapter then lists the levels of analysing terrorism. These are: definition, conceptualization, and pejorative labeling. It notes how the psychological impact and terrorism is viewed as fundamental in understanding terrorism.
Contemporary Security Studies provides an introduction to Security Studies. It features a wide breadth and depth of coverage of the different theoretical approaches to the study of security and the ever-evolving range of issues that dominate the security agenda in the twenty-first century. In addition to covering a large range of topical security issues, from terrorism and inter-state armed conflict to cyber-security, health, and transnational crime, the sixth edition features an examination of popular culture and its implications for security, as well as coverage of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout, readers are encouraged to question their own preconceptions and assumptions, and to use their own judgement to critically evaluate key approaches and ideas. To help them achieve this, each chapter is punctuated with helpful learning features including ‘key ideas’, ‘think points’ and case studies, demonstrating the real-world applications and implications of the theory.
Contemporary Terrorism Studies is made up of three parts. Part One looks at the state of terrorism studies. Chapters here ask first, what are terrorism studies? These chapters also look at critical terrorism studies and conceptualizations of terrorism. The second part is about issues and debates in terrorism studies. This part starts off with an overview of the history of terrorism. It asks what the root causes of terrorism are and whether terrorism can ever be rational. Chapters here also look into old and new terrorism and social media and terrorism. To conclude this part, the last chapter here asks whether terrorism is effective. The third part of the book covers countering terrorism. Here, counterterrorism agencies are examined. Issues such as human rights, foreign policy, and international terrorism are covered. The chapters in this part also seek ways to prevent and counter violent extremism. They also consider victims of terrorism. The book concludes with an analysis of the end of terrorist campaigns.
This chapter explores a variety of questions on how to control the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). It begins with a discussion of the shift that took place during the cold war from disarmament to arms control, as well as the shift in relative importance that occurred in the early post-cold war era from arms control to more forcible means to tackle nuclear proliferation. It then considers the emergence of new ideas, first in the Clinton administration, and then in the Bush administration, that focused less on arms control and more on counterproliferation. It also examines a host of problems and dilemmas associated with counterproliferation, the Obama administration’s policy of engagement and ‘tough but direct diplomacy’, and the challenges presented by new geopolitical tensions. Finally, it reflects on future prospects for strategic nuclear arms control.
This chapter examines how conventional power shapes warfare in the contemporary world. It considers the present and emerging state of conventional military power, how conventional forces function in areas such as distant strike and urban warfare, and how their role differs from that of other forms of force, including terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The chapter first provides a historical background to demonstrate the important role played by conventional power in war before discussing the rise of new world orders in 1945, 1989, and 2001. It then describes states possessing power and hyperpower, along with the revolution in military affairs and how developing countries may trump it through various strategies. It also shows how the distribution of conventional power is changing, noting that Western countries are in decline and new world powers are emerging, especially China and India.
This chapter looks into the work of counterterrorism agencies. It also lists the key roles and responsibilities of military, intelligence, and criminal justice agencies alongside the policy frameworks that shape and structure counterterrorism interventions. The demands of political actors are supplied by counterterrorism strategies. Large-scale, multi-faceted government counterterrorism policies strive to manage the risk, stop support for terrorist motivations, and protect citizens and economic interests. Mapping the changes in the organization of counter-terrorism highlighted how issues of transparency, oversight, and accountability have become increasingly significant. The chapter then examines the ethical and practical dilemmas of counterterrorism that have to be navigated and negotiated.
This chapter cites how counterterrorism policies and operations have impacted human rights in liberal democracies. It highlights how detention without trial, torture, and extra-judicial killings impact negatively human rights. Human rights are defined as the fundamental moral rights of a person necessary for a life with human dignity. Additionally, counterterrorism, in the chapter, refers to policies formulated and actions taken to reduce, mitigate, or prevent terrorism. The chapter presents key factors and mechanisms at play through case studies of Northern Ireland in the 1970s and the United States ‘war’ against jihadist terrorism. It also looks at theories of international relations as they relate to how human rights impacts policies for counterterrorism.
8. Critical Security Studies II —Narratives of Security: Other Stories, Other Actors
Taking its main cues from Critical Security Studies, this chapter asks some unconventional questions about somewhat unconventional subjects for a field that has traditionally been more inclined to centre states in its investigations. In so doing, it brings to light the concealed political commitments that are a part of any attempt to theorize security and which fix arbitrary limits on whom and what gets foregrounded in the security stories told. Placing particular emphasis on recovering agency and political subjecthood, one can see the crucial part played by other actors in both the everyday practices of security and it has come to be defined. One can better appreciate both the problems and promise of one’s own roles in producing security—and insecurity—in the ways it is approached, as students and scholars.
7. Critical Security Studies: A Schismatic History
This chapter provides a partial history of a label. It is partial both in that it is not, and cannot be, complete, and in that I, David Mutimer, am both the author of, and participant in, the history. It is therefore partial in the way all other history is partial. The label is ‘Critical Security Studies’. The chapter tells a story of the origin of the label and the way it has developed and fragmented since the early 1990s. It sets out the primary claims of the major divisions that have emerged within the literatures to which the label has been applied: constructivism, critical theory, and poststructuralism. Ultimately, the chapter suggests that Critical Security Studies needs to foster an ‘ethos of critique’ in either the study or refusal of security, and that the chapter is an instance of that ethos directed at Critical Security Studies itself.
This chapter focuses on critical terrorism studies (CTS), which is an investigation into whether terrorism exists at all. These sorts of studies look into the different actors who play a part in different practices and consequences. CTS considers how the construction of the terrorist threat serves specific political, economic, and social functions. Additionally, CTS hopes for a political project aimed at changing the world's policies and practices of security and terrorism. The chapter lists the theoretical foundations of CTS, which derive from post-structuralism and constructivism, and the Frankfurt School's ideas on critical theory. Finally, the chapter shows that terrorism is primarily seen as a political issue under the stance of CTS.
16. Cyber Conflict in the Age of Great Power Competition
Ryan C. Maness, Rebecca Lorentz, and Brandon Valeriano
This chapter explains the concepts of cyberspace, cyberpower, cyber strategy, cyber security, and cyberwar and illustrates how cyberpower manifests today among both state and non-state actors. Managing information is part of a persistent challenge that is not unique to any time or place. What is different today is the speed of transmission and the reach of information, which are both aided by cyberattacks and cyber-enabled technologies that leverage digital communications. Search engines, video platforms, and encrypted messaging services allow for loaded phrases to return troves of fake stories and narratives reflecting extremist ideologies in the infosphere. The Covid-19 pandemic also brought along what can be dubbed an ‘infodemic’, where disinformation about mitigation and vaccines has yet to bring the crisis to a definitive end. These developments carry transformative national security implications for all societies. Cyber conflict—the use of digital technologies in military interactions or military affairs in the realm of international affairs—is also occurring. Cyber conflict involves direct cyberattacks that are aimed at opponents’ digitally enabled systems.
This chapter looks at what makes cyber-security a key national security issue. Section 28.2 provides background information to understand why cyberspace is insecure and what it takes to hack a system. Section 28.3 looks at different types of politically relevant cyber-operations, describing hacktivism, cyber-crime, cyber-espionage, cyber-terrorism, and cyber-war, among others. Section 28.4 puts the threat into perspective, exploring the realities of cyber-conflict. The debate has shifted from scenarios of imminent cyber-doom to the observable reality of often stealthy, sometimes disruptive operations under the threshold of war. Section 28.5 details selected protection concepts that help to reduce cyber-risks.
This chapter explores the increasing significance of disengagement and de-radicalization programmes in countering terrorism. It looks at initiatives supporting a transition away from militancy. Deradicalization can be defined as the psychological and sociological attitude change wherein an individual no longer feels personally responsible for progressing a political agenda through violence. Meanwhile, disengagement is the behavioural process that sees an individual cease involvement in political violence. The chapter discusses the history and evolution of deradicalization interventions before tackling the empirical evidence on deradicalization. Deradicalization programmes have become an important part of many states' counter-terrorism efforts. Examples here include Norway and Sweden.