What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

International security, for free

It's always nice to get something for free. So if you don't have a subscription to the journal International Security, you might appreciate seeing S. Paul Kapur's article (pdf) available for download at Stanford, from IS' Fall 2008 issue. He takes aim there at proliferation optimists.


"I examine three phases of Indo-Pakistani relations since the nuclear tests. First, I discuss the period 1998 to 2002. I show that during these years Indo-Pakistani tensions reached levels unseen since the early 1970s, resulting in the 1999 Kargil war as well as a major militarized standoff that stretched from 2001 to 2002. An examination of this period reveals that nuclear weapons facilitated Pakistan’s adoption of the low-intensity conflict strategy that triggered these confrontations, and that the crises’ eventual resolution resulted primarily from nonnuclear factors such as diplomatic calculations and conventional military constraints. In the article’s next section I examine the years 2002 to 2008. I argue that although Indo-Pakistani relations became more stable during this period, the improvements were modest and had little to do with nuclear weapons. Instead, they resulted mainly from changes in the international strategic environment, shifting domestic priorities, and nonnuclear security calculations. In addition, this period saw the emergence of strategic trends that could eventually undermine South Asian security. In the article’s subsequent section, I discuss these developments’ likely impact on future regional stability. I show that past Indo-Pakistani conflict led the Indians to begin formulating a more aggressive conventional military doctrine. This could increase Indo-Pakistani security competition and result in rapid escalation in the event of an actual conflict. Thus nuclear weapons not only destabilized South Asia in the aftermath of the nuclear tests; they may damage the regional security environment in the years to come. In the article’s final section, I discuss the implications of my argument."
(pp. 72-73.)

Update (February 6): Kapur's article came out before the Mumbai attacks. All in all, what happened seems to be added evidence regarding his conclusions. Anyway, while nuclear optimists may likely have it entirely wrong why post Mumbai India's ColdStart war plans weren't realised, here's a mildly hilarious vid from The Onion. Not as funny as some of the other stuff they have, and less logical and coherent, but still entertaining and to-the-subject... so why not watch it to see conflict self-resolution on the horizon, at the end.

Volatile India-Pakistan Standoff Enters 11,680th Day

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