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  • Editor’s Note

We have had three special issues awaiting publication for quite a while now, including the final of our three special issues on "The Collapse of the Soviet Union," which will be published at the end of this year. (The full set of articles from those three issues will then be published as a book.) In the meantime we will be putting out two other special issues—one on "Great-Power Politics and Regional Security: China, Tibet, and South Asia during the Cold War," which will appear as the Fall 2005 issue; and the other on "Ideas, International Relations, and the End of the Cold War," which is appearing here.

The role of ideas in international relations, especially with regard to the end of the Cold War, has been the subject of lively and at times acrimonious debate among scholars for more than a decade. I have taken part in the debate myself, including an exchange in the Review of International Studies in 1999-2001 that dealt with many of the same points discussed in the articles below. Although the debate has often been fruitful, I had begun to wonder whether there was really much left to be said about the topic. To my relief, when Bill Wohlforth and Nina Tannenwald approached me about the possibility of a special issue and I read the papers they had assembled, I quickly saw that my misgivings were unfounded. The collection of articles is valuable not only in sharpening the relevant questions but also in highlighting the "tests" and evidence that can help answer these questions. Nina's own article and Bill's conclusion are particularly helpful in this regard. The external reviewers (both of whom read the full collection) concurred with my favorable reaction, and although I found some of the discussion in the empirical articles unconvincing or incomplete, I agreed with the reviewers that the collection holds together well (not least because Bill and Nina ensured that all the authors wrote with an eye to the larger theoretical issues) and is definitely stronger if published as a whole. Hence, I am delighted to include the full set in this special issue.

Our next special issue, on great-power politics and South Asian security during the Cold War, brings together an equally important set of articles. The publication of those articles will be especially timely in light of the continued tensions surrounding Tibet, which has been occupied and claimed by the People's Republic of China for nearly fifty-five years. The current Chinese leader, Hu Jintao, was in charge of Tibet during the final years of the Cold War (1988-1992), when remarkable political changes were transpiring in other parts of the Communist world. Throughout the political upheavals in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the Chinese authorities ruled Tibet with an iron hand. Unfortunately, little has changed since then. Most of the problems and conflicts discussed in the special issue are as salient now as they were during the Cold War. [End Page 1]

One of my more mundane tasks as editor of the journal is to fix the misspellings and grammatical lapses that crop up in manuscripts. I intend at some point to compile a primer for authors to help them avoid the mistakes I frequently encounter. Among the commonly used words that I most often find misspelled are: accommodate, adscititious, annihilate, anodyne, aphrodisiac, daiquiri, desiccate, depredation, dispel, embarrassing, exhilarate, fluorescent, harass, hemorrhage, idiosyncrasy, infinitesimal, ingenious, innuendo, inoculate, iridescent, millennium, minuscule, mischievous, misogyny, occurrence, perseverant, pusillanimous, reminiscence, sacrilegious, spurious, supersede, and tobacco. Grammatical and stylistic lapses include dangling modifiers, ambiguous or incorrect antecedents, confusion of restrictive and non-restrictive clauses, unwieldy constructions, excessive or insufficient punctuation, misplaced possessives, and mangled metaphors. These are the sorts of mistakes that occur with dismaying frequency in students' papers, but it is surprising how often I come across similar glitches in the writing of even the most eminent scholars. I fully acknowledge that grammar and acceptable spellings change over time and that some widely accepted usage today was frowned upon in the recent past. It would be foolish to be pedantic about the matter. Nonetheless, I do occasionally fear that...