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International Security 28.3 (2003/04) 3-4



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Editors' Note


Do international criminal tribunals prevent mass atrocities and other gross human rights abuses? According to Jack Snyder of Columbia University and Leslie Vinjamuri of Georgetown University, recent tribunals such as those convened to prosecute war crimes in Yugoslavia and Central Africa "have utterly failed to deter subsequent abuses." In contrast, amnesties and truth commissions have succeeded largely because they solicit cooperation from powerful actors with vested interests in the outcome. Snyder and Vinjamuri maintain that preventing atrocities and strengthening respect for the law often require "striking politically expedient bargains that create effective coalitions to contain the power of potential perpetrators of abuses." This pragmatic approach, the authors argue, is key to the establishment of a norm-governed political order and effective administrative institutions.

Karen Ruth Adams of Louisiana State University lays out the technological causes of offense, defense, and deterrence dominance and assesses the ability of these factors to explain attack and conquest among great powers and nuclear states from 1800 to 1997. According to Adams, "this technological argument is a significant predictor of both conquest and attack." She discusses the significance of her findings for many issues, including the likelihood of nuclear states attacking and conquering nonnuclear states as well as the spread of nuclear weapons.

In the first of two articles on biological weapons and the bioterrorist threat, Gregory Koblentz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discusses the international security implications of biological weapons and the strategic consequences of their proliferation. Noting that previous studies have focused on assessing the potential lethality of these weapons, Koblentz expands his examination to include the role of biological weapons on four other key areas of concern: proliferation, deterrence, civil-military relations, and threat assessment. Koblentz looks at the influence of secrecy in all four areas and offers the following insight: not only does secrecy hinder verification; it also weakens deterrence, impedes civilian oversight, and complicates threat assessments.

Kendall Hoyt of Harvard University and Stephen Brooks of Dartmouth College examine the linkage between economic globalization and the threat of biological weapons. Contrary to those who argue that economic globalization increases vulnerability to a bioterrorist threat—and for this reason should be restricted—Hoyt and Brooks contend that globalization is a "double-edged sword" that has the potential to increase but also decrease levels of vulnerability—for example, by facilitating the development of vaccines. With this in mind, the authors propose the creation of an international biosecurity [End Page 3] regime that can "harmonize regulations concerning biological research and commerce" while ensuring the continued globalization of biodefense.

David Kang's spring 2003 article "Getting Asia Wrong: The Need for New Analytic Frameworks" is the subject of a commentary by Amitav Acharya of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Acharya praises Kang for challenging the pessimists' view that Asia "is ripe for rivalry," but questions his use of evidence in suggesting that Asian states are more likely to bandwagon with China than balance against it. In rebutting Acharya's criticisms, Kang reemphasizes his view that in studying Asia, international relations scholarship should be less Eurocentric and consider more carefully the Asian empirical anomalies.

Columbia University's Kenneth Waltz comments on the recent debate in International Security on when democracies are likely to go to war.

With this issue, we are pleased to announce several additions to the journal's Editorial Board. Stephen Walt, who serves as faculty chair of the International Security Program at BCSIA, joins Graham Allison as co-chair of the board. In addition, we have expanded the board to includethe following new members: Mats Berdal, Martha Crenshaw, Michael Desch, Miriam Fendius Elman, Peter Feaver, Charles Glaser, Josef Joffe, Yuen Foong Khong, Elizabeth Kier, Sarah Mendelson, John Owen, Robert Pape, Adam Roberts, Randall Schweller, David Shambaugh, Jack Snyder, Etel Solingen, Marc Trachtenberg, Cindy Williams, and William Wohlforth.

In the years since we last made significant changes to the board, a new generation of scholars has risen to prominence in the field of international security studies, which has become more diverse and international. The newly expanded Editorial Board better reflects the full range of contemporary...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1531-4804
Print ISSN
0162-2889
Pages
pp. 3-4
Launched on MUSE
2004-03-09
Open Access
No
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