In late 2015 Stanley Hoffmann, Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and a longtime member of this journal's Editorial Board, passed away. Few knew Professor Hoffmann better than Joseph Nye, Chairman Emeritus of the International Security Editorial Board and University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University. He offers these reflections on Professor Hoffmann's influential contributions to the study of international relations.
Stanley Hoffmann published in this journal and educated many of those connected with it, including me. Stanley was a major scholar and public intellectual in the field of international security as well as a brilliant teacher. His unique perspective was informed by his experience as a child in Vichy France and his French training before arriving at Harvard in the 1950s. Stanley's trenchant critiques of American foreign policy such as Gulliver's Troubles and Primacy or World Order were informed by his being at home in two cultures. His eclectic approach to theory included the realism of The State of War and the liberalism of Duties Beyond Borders. Stanley often said that he studied power not to wield it but to understand better how to control its negative effects. No scholar taught me more about international relations. He will be greatly missed by all who experienced the clarity of his mind and sparkle of his personality.
All of us at International Security join Professor Nye in acknowledging Stanley Hoffmann's extraordinary influence on the field of international relations. We will miss him very much.
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers in the Twenty-first Century: China's Rise and the Fate of America's Global Position
Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, both at Dartmouth College
Unipolarity is arguably the most popular concept used to analyze the U.S. global position that emerged in 1991, but the concept is totally inadequate for assessing how that position has changed in the years since. A new framework that avoids unipolarity's conceptual pitfalls and provides a systematic approach to measuring how the distribution of capabilities is changing in twenty-first-century global politics demonstrates that the United States will long remain the only state with the capability to be a superpower. In addition, China is in a class by itself, one that the unipolarity concept cannot explain. To assess the speed with which China's rise might transform this into something other than a one-superpower system, analogies from past power transitions are misleading. Unlike past rising powers, China is at a much lower technological level than the leading state, and the gap separating Chinese and U.S. military capabilities is much larger than it was in the past. In addition, the very nature of power has changed: the greatly enhanced difficulty of converting economic capacity into military capacity makes the transition from a great power to a superpower much harder now than it was in the past. Still, China's rise is real and change is afoot.
Is the Taiwan Strait Still a Flash Point? Rethinking the Prospects for Armed Conflict between China and Taiwan
Scott L. Kastner, University of Maryland
After decades of tension, relations between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan have improved dramatically in recent years. How durable is this détente? To what degree is armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait a continued possibility? Answering these questions requires grappling with the impact of several different trends in cross–Taiwan Strait relations, including a rapidly shifting balance of military power, deepening China-Taiwan economic integration, and changing Taiwanese views on sovereignty and identity issues. Taken together, these trends help to stabilize the cross-strait relationship. Nevertheless, this relationship has not been fundamentally transformed, and future trends could evolve in a way that again increases the danger of military conflict. In particular, a changing balance of military power in the Taiwan Strait has the potential to be highly destabilizing if it overtakes other trends such as economic integration.
United They Fall: Why the International Community Should Not Promote Military Integration after Civil War
Ronald R. Krebs, University of Minnesota, and Roy Licklider, Rutgers University
Preventing the recurrence of civil war has become a critical problem for both scholarship and policy. Conventional wisdom urges the creation of capable, legitimate, and inclusive postwar states to reduce the risk of relapse into civil war, and international peacebuilders have often encouraged the formation of a new national army that would include members of the war's opposing sides. However, both the theoretical logics and the empirical record identifying military integration as a significant contributor to durable post–civil war peace are weak. An analysis of eleven cases finds little evidence that military integration played a substantial causal role in preventing the return to civil war. Military integration does not usually send a costly signal of the parties’ commitment to peace, provide communal security, employ many possible spoilers, or act as a powerful symbol of a unified nation. It is therefore both unwise and unethical for the international community to press military integration on reluctant local forces.
Breaker of Armies: Air Power in the Easter Offensive and the Myth of Linebacker I and II in the Vietnam War
Phil Haun, Yale University, and Colin Jackson, Naval War College
Most traditional accounts identify the Linebacker I and Linebacker II campaigns as the most effective and consequential uses of U.S. air power in the Vietnam War. They argue that deep interdiction in North Vietnam played a central role in the defeat of the Easter Offensive and that subsequent strategic attacks on Hanoi forced the North Vietnamese to accept the Paris accords. These conclusions are false. The Linebacker campaigns were rather ineffective in either stopping the Communist offensive or compelling concessions. The most effective and consequential use of U.S. air power came in the form of close air support and battlefield air interdiction directly attacking the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam. The success of these air strikes hinged on the presence of a U.S.-operated tactical air control system that incorporated small numbers of ground advisers, air liaison officers, and forward air controllers. This system, combined with abundant U.S. aircraft and a reasonably effective allied army, was the key to breaking the Easter Offensive and compelling Hanoi to agree to the Paris accords. The effectiveness of close air support and battlefield air interdiction and the failure of deep interdiction and strategic attack in the Vietnam War have important implications for the use of air power and advisers in contemporary conflicts in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.
Trade Expectations and Great Power Conflict—A Review Essay
Jack Snyder, Columbia University
Whether economic interdependence is a cause of war or peace constitutes a central debate in international politics. Two major approaches advance diametrically opposed claims: liberal theory holds that interdependence between states promotes peace by increasing the costs of war; realist theory argues that interdependence is just another word for vulnerability, a condition that states may try to escape by seizing the resources and markets they need for self-sufficiency. Considerable evidence supports both of these claims. In Economic Interdependence and War, Dale Copeland proposes to resolve this stalemate by showing that interdependence promotes peace when states expect mutually beneficial trade to continue, but creates incentives for war when at least one of the states expects that trade trends will leave it dangerously vulnerable. Notwithstanding this book's major theoretical contributions and its impressive historical research, it leaves open several important questions about how to move forward with its agenda of theoretical development and testing.
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