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The chapter covers Germany’s perspective on the use of force, armed conflict and international humanitarian law, and arms control and disarmament. The first part addresses Germany’s position on the US killing of Iranian General Soleimani, Germany condemning Iranian missile attacks on US bases in Iraq and Germany refining the right of sustainable self-defence. The second part shows the German Federal Court of Justice reaffirming that there is no justification in international law for attacks by the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, the German government’s stand on foreign troop presence in Syria, Germany’s stand on the law of occupation regarding US forces in Syria, Germany considering Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories illegal, Germany’s view on drones, the Federal Constitutional Court affirming only States can claim compensation for violations of international humanitarian law, and the Federal Administrative Court ruling the US may continue to use its base in Germany. The third part covers Germany’s criticism of US anti-personnel landmine policy and Germany’s condemnation of North Korean missile tests.
The period 1919–1935 was a difficult one for Armstrongs and Vickers. With the end of the war domestic and international demand collapsed, and the firms were left with significant excess armament capacity and mounting financial problems. Armstrongs and Vickers responded by diversifying into other businesses, but with limited success. The contraction of the market led the two armaments firms to merge. The Great Depression further eroded military spending and dashed hopes of expanding exports. In the early to mid-1930s three things happened simultaneously: the international situation deteriorated, arms control proceeded but did not solve international insecurity, and there was growing public ire about the past behavior of armament firms. The subsequent Royal Commission into the armament firms cast Vickers in a very negative light and the firms were threatened with nationalization, something neither the firms nor the government wanted. The intervention of Sir Maurice Hankey in defense of the firms proved vital in heading off nationalization. The interwar period was therefore an extended existential crisis for Armstrongs and Vickers.
Why do states create weak international institutions? Frustrated with proliferating but disappointing international environmental institutions, scholars increasingly bemoan agreements which, rather than solving problems, appear to exist “for show.” This article offers an explanation of this phenomenon. I theorize a dynamic of deflective cooperation to explain the creation of compromise face-saving institutions. I argue that when international social pressure to create an institution clashes with enduring disagreements among states about the merits of creating it, states may adopt cooperative arrangements that are ill-designed to produce their purported practical effects. Rather than negotiation failures or empty gestures, I contend that face-saving institutions represent interstate efforts to manage intractable disagreement through suboptimal institutionalized cooperation. I formulate this argument inductively through a new multi-archival study of conventional weapons regulation during the Cold War, which resulted in the oft-maligned 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. A careful reconsideration of the negotiation process extends and nuances existing IR theorizing and retrieves its historical significance as a critical juncture and complex product of contesting diplomatic practices.
Wise governance for nuclear weaponry and synthetic biology requires humankind to move more swiftly than today in certain technological domains, while actively slowing down the pace in other areas. For example, advancing technologies for aerial and space-based surveillance, coupled with AI for interpreting the resulting high-resolution images, could allow nations to track in real time the location of other nations’ nuclear missile submarines. Such a development would remove one of the fundamental stabilizing factors in today’s military affairs: the guarantee of a second-strike capability, which lies at the heart of nuclear deterrence. These kinds of technological breakthroughs urgently need to be restrained via diplomatic agreements akin to the superpowers’ arms control treaties during the Cold War. Similarly, the existing “Wild West” in synthetic biology and AI requires swift governmental action to create effective regulatory frameworks for these fields, both within nations and among nations.
This chapter traces Japan’s status concerns from the late 19th century leading up to the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty. It examines Japan’s approach to naval power after the First World War and derives expectations for how Japan would react to an international agreement such as the Washington Naval Treaty from two competing perspectives: material interests and IST. It tests these hypotheses through a detailed account of Japan’s approach to the Washington Conference of 1921–1922. It finds that although Japan faced a growing threat from the United States in the Western Pacific, Japan accepted greater restraints on warship construction in order to maintain its access to the great power club, alongside Britain and the United States, as part of the ‘Big Three’ at the conference. Subsequently, the US Immigration Act of 1924, which unprecedentedly banned Japanese immigration to America, served as a major betrayal of Japan’s sacrifices for the sake of the international order, thus altering Japanese perceptions of the openness and fairness of the Washington system. It convinced many moderates that the West would never consider Japan its equal, and it empowered anti-treaty factions begin the costly process of abrogating Japan’s commitment to the Washington system.
Why do rising powers sometimes challenge an international order that enables their growth, and at other times support an order that constrains them? Ascending Order offers the first comprehensive study of conflict and cooperation as new powers join the global arena. International institutions shape the choices of rising states as they pursue equal status with established powers. Open membership rules and fair decision-making procedures facilitate equality and cooperation, while exclusion and unfairness frequently produce conflict. Using original and robust archival evidence, the book examines these dynamics in three cases: the United States and the maritime laws of war in the mid-nineteenth century; Japan and naval arms control in the interwar period; and India and nuclear non-proliferation in the Cold War. This study shows that the future of contemporary international order depends on the ability of international institutions to address the status ambitions of rising powers such as China and India.
This chapter, which is split into three parts, covers Germany’s perspective on the use of force; armed conflict and international humanitarian law; and arms control and disarmament. The first part discusses the finding of the German Constitutional Court that self-defence against non-State actors is a tenable interpretation of Article 51 of the UN Charter; the Federal Government justifying the fight against ‘ISIL’ in Syria on grounds of collective self-defence; Germany’s take on the legality of the Turkish invasion of north-eastern Syria under international law; Germany backing India’s cross-border strikes against terrorists in Pakistan-administered Kashmir; and Germany’s position that Saudi Arabia was invited to intervene in Yemen. The second part deals with the launch of the Humanitarian Call for Action by France and Germany; Germany opposing the new US position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank; and Germany commenting on the ILC draft principles on the protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict. Germany’s condemnation of DPRK’s missile test is addressed in the last part.
We are grateful to Kjølv Egeland, Thomas Fraise, and Hebatalla Taha for their commentary on the four editions of The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy. In addition to their critique of the book, their review was intended to offer ‘a looking glass into the broader field of nuclear security studies’. Our reply to their review therefore touches both upon their critique, as well as the more general theme of writing about the history of nuclear strategy. Although we disagree with many of their criticisms, and in some instances believe our work was misrepresented, the reviewers have nevertheless made points that deserve serious consideration by ourselves as well as other scholars working in the field. In this reply, we not only defend our work, but also use this as an opportunity to discuss how to approach the past of nuclear strategy, which in turn can allow us to better appreciate the present and future. In the first half of our reply we discuss the reviewers’ more general criticisms of our approach. In the second half we deal with some specific criticisms.
Thirty-years on, the high expectations that accompanied the end of the Cold War and the collapse of Soviet communism have been largely confounded by the emergence of the autocratic Putin regime and the rekindling of Great Power rivalry between Russia and the United States. In this chapter, we argue that these outcomes were not inevitable, but rather were significantly the result of failures in Western, and particularly American, statecraft during the 1990s. First, the democratic transition was undermined by the type of economic transition, which Western policy networks promoted in post-Soviet Russia. Had Western influencers promoted a New Deal or social democratic model of economic transition, the distributional effects which undermined the legitimacy of the Yeltsin regime would have been far less severe. Second, the American failure to devise and pursue a strategy to effectively integrate Russia into a post-NATO European security architecture made it almost certain that “left out” Russia would react negatively to NATO expansion to the East. Had the United States followed up on Gorbachev’s vision of security architecture for a “Common European Home,” the ongoing clash between Russia and the West might well have been averted.
This chapter recounts Mikhail Gorbachev’s vision for the post-Cold War world order, focusing in particular on the disarmament negotiations and the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. The chapter argues that Gorbachev’s foreign policy was underpinned by the ambition to recapture moral leadership in the world (which, for the Soviet leader, was closely linked to the legitimacy of the Soviet project, and indeed to his own political legitimacy). This ambition was clearly discernible in his approach to disarmament. The vision of a nuclear-free world (as presented by the General Secretary in 1986) was instrumental to the broader agenda of global leadership, which, Gorbachev felt, the Soviet Union had long abandoned. The same agenda animated his approach to the war in Afghanistan: Leaving Afghanistan was important for moral reasons, as a practical manifestation of the new spirit Gorbachev purported to represent. The exit was delayed, however, when the Soviet leader realized that quitting the war carried its own implications for Moscow’s global standing, and, in particular, undercut Soviet credibility in the third world. By recentering the Cold War endgame on Gorbachev’s global ambitions, the paper seeks to contextualize the General Secretary’s approach to foreign policy within the broader tradition of Soviet political leadership during and after the Cold War.
What Bernard Brodie said about nuclear weapons in 1946 continues to be true: The most important thing about nuclear weapons is that they exist and are terribly powerful. This was true in both the Cold War and the subsequent era. Although the situation has changed a great deal, there are striking continuities, especially in American attitudes and policies. Most obviously, the United States has consistently opposed nuclear proliferation, with only a very few exceptions for its closest friends. Second, the debate within the United States about the role of nuclear weapons has been altered only slightly by the end of the Cold War. The fundamental division between those who see nuclear weapons as having a revolutionary impact on world politics and those who do not continues. Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review makes arguments that are remarkably similar to those made under the Raegan administration. In parallel, the arguments made against Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) systems today are quite similar to those advanced during the Cold War, despite the radically changed conditions. This indicates that ways of thinking about nuclear weapons have become deeply engrained.
Looming decisions on arms control and strategic weapon procurements in a range of nuclear-armed states are set to shape the international security environment for decades to come. In this context, it is crucial to understand the concepts, theories, and debates that condition nuclear policymaking. This review essay dissects the four editions of The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, the authoritative intellectual history of its subject. Using this widely acclaimed work as a looking glass into the broader field of nuclear security studies, we interrogate the field's underlying assumptions and question the correspondence between theory and practice in the realm of nuclear policy. The study of nuclear strategy, we maintain, remains largely committed to an interpretive approach that invites analysts to search for universal axioms and to abstract strategic arguments from the precise circumstances of their occurrence. While this approach is useful for analysing the locutionary dimension of strategic debates, it risks obscuring the power structures, vested interests, and illocutionary forces shaping nuclear discourse. In the conclusion, we lay out avenues for future scholarship.
This chapter considers the inter-relationship between the right to life and arms control and disarmament more broadly, encompassing also prohibitions and restrictions on conventional weapons as well as those pertaining to weapons of mass destruction. It offers definitions of both ‘arms control’ and ‘disarmament’ in the absence of agreement under international law as to the scope of each term. It then considers obligations under global arms control and disarmament treaties, first with respect to specific weapons of mass destruction and then with respect to conventional weapons. The use of weapons is addressed separately from disarmament duties and other arms control obligations.
This article deals with a question foregrounded by historian Willem van Schendel in his seminal 2002 article ‘Geographies of Knowing, Geographies of Ignorance’: how do arms, arms flows, and associated regulatory practices reshape the geometries of authority and power in borderlands? The rich transdisciplinary literature on borderlands has fruitfully deployed van Schendel's insights to re-spatialise areas and states but has devoted scant attention to such question. Drawing from ‘new materialist’ scholarship in IR and the concept of scale in political geography, the paper argues that fluid and fractionally coherent combinations of weapons as technical objects that come from somewhere, rationalities, and techniques of arms control reproduce multiple scales of territorial authority and struggles over scaled modes of governing violence in borderlands. Such struggles of scales and about scale constantly reconfigure the territorial arenas of authority on violence at the edge of the state. Based on fieldwork in Ta'ang areas of northern Shan State, Myanmar, the article develops an empirical analysis of encounters between explosive devices/landmines and the subjects and spaces they target. Delving into the processes and practices of ‘making’ and controlling the ‘landmine’, I find that different socio-political orders confront themselves through rationalities, techniques, and practices of humanitarian arms control via which they navigate/jump across scales, forge new ones, or mobilise multi-scalar alliances. Different types of ‘dead’ and ‘alive’ landmines nonetheless defy these attempts at rescaling territorial authority over violence by acting in unforeseen manners at the scale of their own ecologies of violence.
The answers that each political community finds to the law reform questions posed by AI may differ, but a near-term threat is that AI systems capable of causing harm will not be confined to one jurisdiction – indeed, it may be impossible to link them to a specific jurisdiction at all. This is not a new problem in cybersecurity, but different national approaches to regulation will pose barriers to effective regulation exacerbated by the speed, autonomy, and opacity of AI systems. For that reason, some measure of collective action is needed. Lessons may be learned from efforts to regulate the global commons as well as moves to outlaw certain products (weapons and drugs, for example) and activities (such as slavery and child sex tourism). The argument advanced here is that regulation, in the sense of public control, requires active involvement of states. To co-ordinate those activities and enforce global ‘red lines’, this chapter posits a hypothetical International Artificial Intelligence Agency (IAIA), modelled on the agency created after the Second World War to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy, while deterring or containing its weaponization and other harmful effects.
Chapter 4 examines international attempts to regulate the acquisition of weapons by those at war. The chapter examines the development of export controls, the disarmament regime, and Security Council arms embargoes as part of the normative background to the Arms Trade Treaty (2014).
Chapter 5 covers the second year of the Reagan administration, and the growing public concern over nuclear war. It discusses the rise of a major grassroots movement, which called for a freeze in the production, deployment, and testing of nuclear weapons by the US and the Soviet Union. The nuclear freeze campaign soon morphed into the largest peacetime peace movement in American history. The force of the movement would make foreign policy the political liability of the Reagan administration. Public demands for a “freeze” on nuclear weapons began to elicit support from within the Democratic Party. The freeze campaign, and a broader “peace movement,” became the Democrats’ most potent political weapon against Reagan’s conservative revolution. The chapter analyzes the administration’s struggle to combat the movement, and persuade the public of the benefits of its own strategy for reducing nuclear weapons. Among other aspects, it discusses Reagan unveiling of a START initiative. By late 1982, Reagan’s policies had raised tensions with Moscow, upset NATO allies, weakened support for his arms buildup, and generated antinuclear movements across America and Western Europe.
Three decades after what is widely referred to as the transition from a First to a Second Nuclear Age, the world stands on the cusp of a possible Third Nuclear Age where the way that we conceptualise the central dynamics of the nuclear game will change again. This paradigm shift is being driven by the growth and spread of non-nuclear technologies with strategic applications and by a shift in thinking about the sources of nuclear threats and how they should be addressed, primarily, but not solely, in the United States. Recent scholarship has rightly identified a new set of challenges posed by the development of strategic non-nuclear weaponry (SNNW). But the full implications of this transformation in policy, technology and thinking for the global nuclear order as a whole have so far been underexplored. To remedy this, we look further ahead to the ways in which current trends, if taken to their logical conclusion, have the capacity to usher in a new nuclear era. We argue that in the years ahead, SNNW will increasingly shape the nuclear order, particularly in relation to questions of stability and risk. In the Third Nuclear Age, nuclear deployments, postures, balances, arms control, non-proliferation policy, and the prospects for disarmament, will all be shaped as much by developments in SNNW capabilities as by nuclear weapons. Consequently, we advocate for an urgent reassessment of the way nuclear order and nuclear risks are conceptualised as we confront the challenges of a Third Nuclear Age.
Realist and rationalist approaches to balance of power politics underplay the degree to which balances are socially constructed. We develop a constructivist approach that accounts for the elusive and contentious nature of the balances that states seek to balance. The approach foregrounds contests over balance interpretations between states that shape whose conceptions and assessments underpin the making and remaking of balances. We argue that shifts in balancing practices are crucial to the dynamics of these contests. To substantiate this argument, we empirically study the contests over the conventional and theatre nuclear balances between East and West in the last two decades of the Cold War. The case study shows that the conventional and theatre nuclear arms control negotiations – that is, the partial shift from adversarial to associational balancing – initially fuelled and amplified both contests. At the same time, the arms control negotiations eventually resolved the contests through the development of shared understandings of the two balances, thus ending the adversarial balancing between East and West. Overall, we contribute to theory development on balance of power politics by highlighting the importance of contests over balance interpretations and by providing insights into the politics and dynamics that shape these contests.