News

Big Think: Why the Real North Korea Threat Isn't Its Nuclear Weapons

Author: Michael Desch

Friendly neighbors and wide oceans. That, in a phrase, is America's fallback security plan. It happens to be a very effective security plan, says Michael Desch, although you wouldn't know it by listening to politicians. Their squawking about threats to America are more the result of what President Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex and America's history of interventionist foreign policy. Case in point: North Korea. The hermit kingdom's nuclear weapons are a defensive strategy, not an offensive one. Kim Jong-un is a rational actor who wants his family to stay in power, not risk the complete erasure of his country. …

ISSF: Forum on the Gender Gap in Political Science

Author: Michael Desch

Dawn Langan Teele and Kathleen Thelen raise challenging and important questions about the gender gap in publications in top political science journals. 2 At Security Studies we are grateful for the opportunity to reflect on our own history in representing women in the pages of our journal. Teele and Thelen are right—women have been underrepresented—but there is some cause for optimism. From its entirely male dominated founding nearly 30 years ago, the journal has made great strides, though there remains more to do, and we encourage ISSF readers with ideas on this issue to communicate with us or members of the editorial board and team...…

The American Conservative: America’s (Dis) Regard for its Soldiers and Veterans

Author: Michael Desch

The American people and their leaders have been swooning for years over the boys and girls in uniform. Our national crush on the armed forces reflects in part symptoms of lingering collective post-9/11 traumatic stress syndrome. The al Qaeda attacks represented the deadliest terrorist strike in American history, and that incongruous bolt of death and destruction from the blue skies of an otherwise lovely fall day compounded our terror. Our armed forces rushed to protect us after the attack and then quickly visited righteous retribution on the perpetrators and their Taliban allies in Afghanistan...…

CNBC.com: What Chairman Mao can teach the world about North Korea

Author: Michael Desch

Pop Quiz: Which Asian despot (hint: he was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of his country-men and had launched a surprise attack against U.S. military forces on the Korean Peninsula) said these crazy things about nuclear war, clearly making his country unfit for their possession: "We have a very large territory and a big population. Atomic bombs could not kill all of us…. We would still have many people left."...…

World Politics Review: Why U.S. Strategy Must Adapt to Technological Change

Author: Eugene Gholz

The United States shapes, monitors and reacts to events around the world every day—developments that require minor, and sometimes major, military and foreign policy actions to implement the established U.S. strategy. But some developments call for more than just decisions to implement the current strategy. They require an adjustment to a new strategy. The current trajectory of military-technological change is one such development making a strategic adjustment necessary...…

The Diplomat: Sebastian Rosato on the US-China 'Collision Course'

Sebastian Rosato, an Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science and Director of the Notre Dame International Security Program, famously theorized that the United States and China are on a collision course. He recently spoke with Zhang Juan of Dunjiao about the potential for a conflict between China and the United States and the future of the bilateral relationship...…

Notre Dame International Security Center begins significant expansion with new hires, paper series, and conference planning

The first pieces in the expansion of the Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC) are in place, as the once-small program builds toward its long-term goal as a thought leader in American grand strategy. Inspired by the inscription over an entrance to Notre Dame’s Basilica of the Sacred Heart—“God, Country, Notre Dame”—the center seeks to meaningfully engage with pressing international security issues facing the nation and world. It strives to play a catalytic role in matters of global policy through actionable research guided by the University’s Catholic character...…

“Getting Out of the Gulf: Oil and U.S. Military Strategy,” in Foreign Affairs

Author: Rose Kelanic

In January 1980,U.S. President Jimmy Carter used his State of the Union address to announce that in order to protect "the free movement of Middle East oil," the United States would repel "an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf." Carter and his successors made good on that pledge, ramping up U.S. military capabilities in the region and even fighting the Gulf War to prevent Saddam Hussein's Iraq from dominating the region's oil supplies. Although Washington has had a number of interests in the Persian Gulf over the years, including preventing nuclear proliferation, fighting terrorism, and spreading democracy, the main rationale for its involvement has always been to keep the oil flowing...…

Financial and energy security analysis of China’s loan-for-oil deals

Author: Eugene Gholz

As China’s dependence on imported oil has soared in recent years, Chinese concerns about energy security have naturally increased. The Chinese government has encouraged China’s National Oil Companies to expand their investments around the world. Some of the high profile cases of state support for these international deals have taken the form of “loan-for-oil” agreements in which Chinese state development banks lend billions of dollars to oil-producing countries at below-market interest rates in exchange for the producers’ agreements to sell oil to Chinese oil companies (at future market prices rather than at a fixed price). Some analysts consider the Chinese investments to be an energy security policy. Using standard financial analysis, we show that these agreements cannot reasonably be considered profitseeking investments by the Chinese. Separately, we also show that only a few of the projects connected to loan-for-oil deals could ameliorate China’s fear of future political-military supply interruptions, and even in those cases, China could achieve the same energy security benefit through simpler mechanisms. The loan-for-oil deals implicitly suggest that China does not expect future conflict that might block Chinese access to oil imports...…

The National Interest: Is America Being Crushed by the Weight of the World?

Author: Michael Desch

Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union we have been living in the era of American primacy. Primacy, of course, is just a euphemism for empire. The early 1990s ostensibly inaugurated a “new American Century,” with the United States bestriding the planet like a colossus. On both the left and right, policy elites fretted that absent American leadership the world would devolve into a Yeatsian “Second Coming” of anarchy, chaos, bloodshed and destruction...…