Nowhere to Hide? Global Policing and the Politics of Extradition

Daniel Krcmaric, Northwestern University

Global policing efforts go far beyond combatting terrorism. The United States has tracked down war criminals in the former Yugoslavia, prosecuted Mexican drug kingpins in U.S. courts, transferred a Congolese warlord to the International Criminal Court, and even invaded foreign countries to apprehend wanted suspects. Likewise, Chinese police and intelligence forces crisscross the globe engaging in surveillance, abductions, and forced repatriations. But global policing activities are hard to study because they tend to occur “in the shadows.” Extradition treaties—agreements that facilitate the formal surrender of wanted fugitives from one country to another—represent a unique part of the global policing architecture that is directly observable. An original dataset of every extradition treaty that the United States has signed since its independence shows that extradition cooperation is not an automatic response to the globalization of crime. Instead, it is an extension of geopolitical competition. Geopolitical concerns are crucial because many states try to weaponize extradition treaties to target their political opponents living abroad, not just common criminals. Future research should reconceptualize the role of individuals in international security because many governments believe that a single person—whether a dissident, a rebel, or a terrorist—can imperil their national security.


Dangerous Changes: When Military Innovation Harms Combat Effectiveness

Kendrick Kuo, U.S. Naval War College

Prevailing wisdom suggests that innovation dramatically enhances the effectiveness of a state's armed forces. But self-defeating innovation is more likely to occur when a military service's growing security commitments outstrip shrinking resources. This wide commitment-resource gap pressures the service to make desperate gambles on new capabilities to meet overly ambitious goals while cannibalizing traditional capabilities before beliefs about the effectiveness of new ones are justified. Doing so increases the chances that when wartime comes, the service will discover that the new capability cannot alone accomplish assigned missions, and that neglecting traditional capabilities produces vulnerabilities that the enemy can exploit. To probe this argument's causal logic, a case study examines British armor innovation in the interwar period and its impact on the British Army's poor performance in the North African campaign during World War II. The findings suggest that placing big bets on new capabilities comes with significant risks because what is lost in an innovation process may be as important as what is created. The perils of innovation deserve attention, not just its promises.


How Much Risk Should the United States Run in the South China Sea?

M. Taylor Fravel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Charles L. Glaser, George Washington University

How strenuously, and at what risk, should the United States resist China's efforts to dominate the South China Sea? An identification of three options along a continuum—from increased resistance to China's assertive policies on one end to a partial South China Sea retrenchment on the other, with current U.S. policy in the middle—captures the choices facing the United States. An analysis of China's claims and behavior in the South China Sea and of the threat that China poses to U.S. interests concludes that the United States' best option is to maintain its current level of resistance to China's efforts to dominate the South China Sea. China has been cautious in pursuing its goals, which makes the risks of current policy acceptable. Because U.S. security interests are quite limited, a significantly firmer policy, which would generate an increased risk of a high-intensity war with China, is unwarranted. If future China's actions indicate its determination has significantly increased, the United State should, reluctantly, end its military resistance to Chinese pursuit of peacetime control of the South China Sea and adopt a policy of partial South China Sea retrenchment.


China's Party-State Capitalism and International Backlash: From Interdependence to Insecurity

Margaret M. Pearson, University of Maryland, College Park, Meg Rithmire, Harvard Business School, and Kellee S. Tsai, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Contrary to expectations, economic interdependence has not tempered security conflict between China and the United States. In response to perceived domestic and external threats, the Chinese Communist Party's actions to ensure regime security have generated insecurity in other states, causing them to adopt measures to constrain Chinese firms. Security dilemma dynamics best explain the subsequent reactions from many advanced industrialized countries to the evolution of China's political economy into party-state capitalism. Party-state capitalism manifests in two signature ways: (1) expansion of party-state authority in firms through changes in corporate governance and state-led financial instruments; and (2) enforcement of political fealty among various economic actors. Together, these trends have blurred the distinction between state and private capital in China and resulted in backlash, including intensified investment reviews, campaigns to exclude Chinese firms from strategic sectors, and the creation of novel domestic and international institutions to address perceived threats from Chinese actors. The uniqueness of China's model has prompted significant reorganization of the rules governing capitalism, both nationally and globally.


Small Satellites, Big Data: Uncovering the Invisible in Maritime Security

Saadia M. Pekkanen, University of Washington, Setsuko Aoki, Keio University, and John Mittleman, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory

Data from small satellites are rapidly converging with high-speed, high-volume computational analytics. “Small satellites, big data” (SSBD) changes the ability of decision-makers to persistently see and address an array of international security challenges. An analysis of these technologies shows how they can support decisions to protect or advance national and commercial interests by detecting, attributing, and classifying harmful, hostile, or unlawful maritime activities. How might the military, law enforcement, and intelligence communities respond to maritime threats if these new technologies eliminate anonymity at sea? The emerging evidence presented on maritime activities is intertwined with national security (e.g., territorial and resource claims, sanctions violations, and terrorist attacks), legal and illicit businesses (e.g., illegal fishing, trafficking, and piracy), and other concerns (e.g., shipping and transit, chokepoints, and environmental damage). The ability of SSBD technologies to observe and catch wrongdoing is important for governments as well as the commercial, academic, and nongovernmental sectors that have vested interests in maritime security, sustainable oceans, and the rule of law at sea. But findings indicate that transparency alone is unlikely to deter misconduct or change the behavior of powerful states.