INTERNATIONAL SECURITY - CONCEPTS, ISSUES & POLICIES
2013/2014, Semester 1
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Lee Kuan Yew School Of Public Policy)
Modular Credits: 4
PP 5261: International Security: Concepts, Issues, Policies
Wednesday, 2-5 pm
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
Professor Kanti Bajpai
OTH Floor 3M-02 (Vice Dean Research office)
Mon and Thus, 2-4pm (or by appointment)
This course offers a birds-eye-view of international security including the debate over the concept of security, the causes of war, and the various policies, methods, and practices that seek to manage the problem of war. These are often referred to as “traditional” security issues. It also examines various non-traditional security issues such as terrorism, climate change, water security, health security, and gender and violence.
We begin by asking “What is security?” and examine different conceptualizations of security. This is a big subject. The readings here are an introduction to the debate.
One of the key aspects of International Relations is the possibility of war – the use of force between states for political ends. We will focus on the problem of inter-state war and the resources we have in the international system for managing violence between countries.
We then go on to conceive of some of the leading causes of war: power distributions/transitions, the security dilemma/offence-defence, misperceptions, ideas/frames/cognition, and the possibility of war between nuclear-armed powers (US-China, China-India, India-Pakistan). The course will then turn its attention to the ways of dealing with the possibility of war: balance of power, deterrence, and disarmament. From here, we go on to consider “non-traditional” security issues including terrorism, climate change, water, health, and gender as security issues.
Our focus throughout the course will be: what are the causes of war and of various non-traditional security challenges; and what can policy makers do to deal with these challenges?
This course is aimed to help students:
Get an overview of the main challenges to international and national security
Develop a comprehension of the idea of security and why it is important for public policy
Understand key concepts, theories, and explanations of international security
Think critically and analytically about the policy options for governments in dealing with security challenges
Assess the possibilities of international cooperation in dealing with both traditional and non-traditional security problems
Write a policy paper which assesses the policy options available to a government or the international community in dealing with a specific security challenge
Readings and Class Sessions
The readings for the course are mostly online. You can access them using JSTOR or the Muse Project or from various websites as indicated in the Course Structure (see below). Some will be loaded onto IVLE as scanned copies.
I have tried to keep the readings to 60-80 pages per week. You are expected to do all the readings prior to class. After the first lecture, the course will be conducted seminar style, with the instructor providing a brief introduction to the topic and then opening up to student presentations on the subject. The number of student presentations will depend on the number of students in the course. After the student presentation, we will open up to more general discussion amongst all the students and the instructor.
It is important to bear in mind that the approach here is twofold: a critical assessment of the concepts and arguments presented in the readings; and a problem solving concern in which we think about the implications for policy – for national governments and for global governance.
Students will be assessed in the following ways:
Policy paper 40% Due date: in class Week 13
Short paper 2 20% Due date: in class Week 9
Short paper 1 20% Due date: in class Week 5
Class presentation 10%
The policy paper
will be 4000 words in length (the bibliography is not included in the 4000 words). It should address an issue of traditional or non-traditional security and should be related to the topics in the course. The precise subject of the term paper should be discussed and finalized with the instructor. It is intended to be a research paper and should deal with the security concerns of one or more countries. It should be analytical i.e. it should look at a case and seek to understand what the security challenge is, why it has occurred, and what governments can do to deal with it. What options do they have and which is the best policy option for them?
The short papers
will be 2000 words in length. They are intended to be “reaction” papers and should assess the readings from the point of view of a policy maker – what would he or she “get” from the readings, and what kinds of policy options might be suggested by the readings in dealing with a security challenge?
In all assessments, students will also be judged on organization, clarity of expression, and presentation of the material (proper footnoting and references, correct use of subheadings, etc., in the papers). There will be penalties for late submission of the short and term paper. The grading scale is from F (Fail) to A+ (Excellent).
Please Note: The NUS norm is that no more than 30 percent of the students in a class should get A grades.
Plagiarism and academic honesty:
The LKY School’s Academic Code of Conduct lists academic integrity as one of six important values. According to this Code, we have agreed to ‘make every effort to understand what counts as plagiarism and why this is wrong’. To avoid giving the impression that you are passing off other people’s work as your own, you will need to acknowledge conscientiously the sources of information, ideas, and arguments used in your paper. For this purpose, you will use the ‘footnote style’ according to the
Chicago Manual of Style
, the guidelines for which can be found online at
All written submissions will be checked with turnitin.com for possible plagiarism.
Making a presentation is an important skill.
The aim is to get students to make a 10-minute presentation and to answer questions for 5 minutes from the class.
The presentations will be graded by all the other students and by the professor.
The presentations will analyse the issue of the week, critically engaging the readings. In addition, students are expected to bring their own insights to the issue.
We will begin the class with an introduction to the subject by the instructor and then go to the presentation(s).
Active class participation not only helps students to put forward their arguments and critically engage the readings but it also gives them an opportunity to appreciate various points of views on a subject. Therefore, you are encouraged to speak up in class. Students will be graded on the
quality and quantity
of their interventions in class. For example, a student with no participation at all will be graded zero. Students who participate but whose interventions suggest that they have not done the readings and who therefore do not contribute to our learning process will be given between 0-50 percent for the week. Students whose contributions critically reflect on the readings and who engage with fellow students in a meaningful discussion will get 50-100 percent for the week.
August 14 (Week 1): Introduction to the Course/SHOPPING WEEK
August 21 (Weeks 2): What is Security?
David Baldwin, “The Concept of Security,”
Review of International Studies
(1997), vol. 23, pp. 5–26.
Mohammed Ayoob, “Inequality and Theorizing in International Relations: The Case for Subaltern Realism”.
Tarak Barkawi and Mark Laffey, “The Post-Colonial Moment in Security Studies,”
Review of International Studies,
vol. 32, 2006, pp. 329-352.
Roland Parris, “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?”
26:2 (2001), 87-107.
What are the different notions of security?
Should security policy be restricted to preventing war?
Are the different notions of security related to each other?
August 28 (Weeks 3): The Nature, Incidence, and Causes of War
Paul Williams, “War,” in Paul Williams, ed.,
Security Studies: An Introduction
(Abingdon, Oxford: Routledge, 2008), pp. 151-170.
Human Security Report Project,
Human Security Report 2012
, chapter 5,
International Politics: Power and Purpose in Global Affairs
(Singapore: Wadsworth, 2012), chapter 7.
Kenneth N. Waltz, “The Origins of War in Neo-Realist Theory,”
Journal of Interdisciplinary History
, vol. 18, no. 4, Spring 1988, pp. 615-628.
What is war?
Has the amount of war increased or decreased?
What are the causes of war and what can governments do to avoid war?
Is war always a bad thing?
September 4 (Week 4): Power Distributions, Power Transitions, Security Dilemma, and War
Kenneth N. Waltz, “The Stability of a Bipolar World,”
, Vol. 93, No. 3, Population, Prediction, Conflict, Existentialism (Summer 1964), pp. 881-909.
Douglas Lemke, “The Continuation of History: Power Transition Theory and the End of the Cold War,”
Journal of Peace Research
, Vol. 34, No. 1 (Feb., 1997), pp. 23-36.
Charles Glaser, “The Security Dilemma Revisited,”
, vol. 50 (1997), pp. 171-201.
T.V. Paul, “Why Has the India-Pakistan Rivalry Been so Enduring? Power Asymmetry and an Intractable Conflict,”
, 15:4 (October-December 2006), pp. 600-630.
Is a bipolar world more stable?
Do power differences lead to war or are they the basis for peace?
How can governments deal with the security dilemma?
11(Week 5): Cognition, Ideas, and War
Robert Jervis, “Hypotheses on Misperceptions,”
, vol. 20, no. 3 (April 1968), pp. 454-479.
Stephen Van Evera, “The Cult of the Offensive and the Origins of the First World War,”
, vol. 18, no. 4 (1984), pp. 5-39.
Alastair Iain Johnston, “Cultural Realism and Strategy in Maoist China,” in Peter Katzenstein (ed.),
The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), pp. 216-68.
Kanti Bajpai, “Indian Strategic Culture,” in
Michael R. Chambers, ed.,
South Asia in 2020: Future Strategic Balances and Alliances
(Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2003), pp. 245-303.
Do misperceptions lead to war? When do misperceptions matter?
Do strategic ideas (e.g. about the “offensive”) matter?
Are China’s and India’s strategic cultures conducive to peace or war?
18 (Week 6):
Regional Wars Under the Shadow of Nuclear Weapons? US-China, China-India, India-Pakistan
Aaron L. Friedberg, “The Future of US-China Relations: Is Conflict Inevitable?”
, vol. 30, no. 2, Fall 2005, pp. 7-45.
David Scott, “Sino-Indian Security Predicaments for the Twenty-First Century,”
, vol. 4, no. 3, 2008, pp. 244-270.
Kanti Bajpai, “India and China: Can the Giants of Asia Cooperate?” Y.B. Chavan Memorial Lecture, delivered at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, November 2011.
Sumit Ganguly, “Nuclear Stability in South Asia,”
, vol. 33, no. 2 (Fall 2008), pp. 45-70.
Will there be war between the US and China, China and India, and India and Pakistan?
What is the conflict between these major powers about?
How can they cooperate and resolve their differences?
October 2 (Week 7): Dealing with Anarchy: Balance of Power
William Wohlforth et al, “Testing balance-of-power theory in History,”
European Journal of International Relations
, 13(2), 2007, pp. 155-185,
Robert Pape, “Soft Balancing Against the United States,”
, vol. 30, no. 1 (Summer 2005), pp. 7-45.
Steve Brooks and William Wohlforth, “Hard Times for Soft Balancing,”
, vol. 30, no. 1, Summer 2005, pp. 72-108.
Evelyn Goh, “Great Powers and Hierarchical Order in Southeast Asia: Analyzing Regional Security Strategies”
, vol. 32, no. 3, Winter 2007/8, pp. 113-157.
What is a balance of power and does it prevent war?
Is soft balancing a useful way of preventing powerful states from dominating smaller states?
Are Southeast Asian states balancing against China and other powers?
October 9 (Week 8): Dealing with Anarchy: Nuclear Deterrence and Disarmament
Robert Jervis, “The Utility of Nuclear Deterrence,” in Robert J. Art and Kenneth N. Waltz, eds.,
The Use of Force: Military Power and International Politics
ed. (Lanham, M.D.: University Press of America, 2004), pp. 94-102.
Ward Wilson, “The Myth of Nuclear Deterrence,
The Non-Proliferation Review
, 15 (3), November 2008, pp. 421-439,
Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism From Hiroshima to Al Qaeda
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), chapter 2.
T.V. Paul, “Disarmament Revisited: Is Nuclear Abolition Possible?”
Journal of Strategic Studies
, 35 (1), 2012, pp. 149-169.
Can deterrence prevent war?
Are nuclear weapons the solution or are they the problem?
Is disarmament possible?
October 16 (Week 9): Beyond Anarchy: Terrorism
Robert Pape, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,”
American Political Science Review
, vol. 97, no. 3, 2003, pp. 1-19.
Max Abrahms, “What Terrorists Really Want: Motives and Counter-terrorism Strategy,”
, vol. 32, no. 4, Spring 2008, pp. 78-105.
Audrey Kurth Cronin, “How Al Qaeda Ends: The Decline and Demise of Terrorist Groups,”
, vol. 31, no. 1 (July 2006), pp. 7-48.
Jonathan Chow, “ASEAN Counterterrorism Cooperation Since 9/11,”
45:2 (2005), 302-321.
What are the causes of terrorism?
How does terrorism end?
Is terrorism a domestic, regional, or global issue? How is ASEAN dealing with terrorism?
October 23 (Week 10): Environmental Security/Climate Change
Nicole Detraz and Michele Betsill, “Climate Change and Environmental Security: For Whom the Discourse Shifts,”
International Studies Perspectives
10 (2009), 303 -320.
Alan Dupont, “The Strategic Implications of Climate Change”,
50:3 (2008), 29-54.
Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience,
A report for the World Bank, chapter 4,
In what way is the environment a security challenge?
How big a problem is climate change? Is it a global security challenge?
What can states do about climate change? Is it too late for climate change mitigation?
October 30 (Week 11): Water Security
Water: Asia’s New Battleground
(Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011), chapter 1.
Richard Cronin, “Mekong Dams and the Perils of Peace”,
51:6 (2009), 147-160.
Selina Ho, “River Politics: China's Policies in the Mekong and the Brahmaputra in Comparative Perspective,”
Journal of Contemporary China
What approaches frame the analysis of the water and security relationship?
What are the main arguments for and against considering water a security issue?
How is China dealing with river water conflicts with its neighbours?
November 6 (Week 12): Health Security
Jonathan Ban, “Health as a Global Security Challenge,”
Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
4:2 (2003), pp. 19-28.
Sarah Davies, “Securitizing Infectious Diseases,”
84:2 (2008), pp. 295-313.
Christian Enemark, “Is Pandemic Flu a Security Threat?”
51:1 (2009), pp. 191-214.
Elizabeth M. Prescott, “SARS: A Warning,”
45:3 (2003), pp. 207-226.
Is health a global security risk?
How serious a threat are pandemics?
How can states cooperate in dealing with pandemics?
November 13 (Week 13): Gender and Security
Human Security Report Project,
Human Security Report 2012
, chapter 2 ,
Valerie Hudson and Andrea M. den Boer, “A Surplus of Men, A Deficit of Peace: Security and Sex Ratios in Asia’s Largest States,”
, vol. 26, no. 4 (Spring 2002), pp. 5-38.
Valerie Hudson, M. Caprioli, Bonnie Ballif-Spanvill, Rose McDermott, “The Heart of the Matter: The Security of Women and the Security of States,”
, vol. 33, no. 3, Winter 2008/9, pp. 7-45.
What are the sources of violence against women?
Does the gender balance matter in a society?
What are the implications of the gender balance for public policy?