Existential Threats and Civil Security Relations

Overview

At the onset of the twenty-first century, a substantial portion of politicians and citizens throughout the world believe and declare that their states are facing existential threats, whether domestic, external, or both. This perception is discerned in states categorized widely, from not democratic and partially democratic states to small states and greater powers that are considered to be democratic, such as the United States, Britain, and France. The chapters in this book present and further develop the major ...

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Overview

At the onset of the twenty-first century, a substantial portion of politicians and citizens throughout the world believe and declare that their states are facing existential threats, whether domestic, external, or both. This perception is discerned in states categorized widely, from not democratic and partially democratic states to small states and greater powers that are considered to be democratic, such as the United States, Britain, and France. The chapters in this book present and further develop the major theoretical approaches to existential threats: structural, cultural, and rational. The authors also conceptualize existential threats and distinguish them from other types of threats, discussing some of the most important actors that promote the perception of an existential threat-the security sector especially (the military and the other security agencies), but also the media. Existential Threats and Civil Security Relations provides fresh comparative perspectives on a number of relevant cases, including small states that have faced-or still face-similar predicaments. These include effective democracies, such as the United States (in its formative period) and Switzerland; formal democracies, such as Israel and Finland; authoritarian or partially free states that have transformed into formal democracies, such as South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa, and the East European and Baltic states after the Cold War; and states that have remained partially free like Singapore and some formerly Soviet states.

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Editorial Reviews

Richard H. Kohn
In this fascinating and timely collection, Oren Barak, Gabi Sheffer, and their colleagues explore the crucial issue of existential threats to nation-states and the implications for foreign policy and domestic governance, particularly the relationship between the topmost civilian and security officials. The studies are interdisciplinary and comparative, the case studies shrewdly chosen. The result is an original, sophisticated book that will appeal—and become indispensable—to scholars and policy makers alike. The future of both democracy and security reside in the findings of this significant work.
Alan Dowty
This book is a tightly conceived and extraordinarily well-focused volume that illuminates the critical and changing issue of existential threats among states. While paying close attention to the central case of Israel, it puts this case in a rich conceptual and comparative framework and will therefore be of great utility to both specialists and generalists. Few anthologies in the field, if any, hang together so well and make such a signal contribution to our practical and theoretical understanding of a neglected core concept of interstate relations.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Oren Barak is senior lecturer of political science and international relations at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and research fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations. Gabriel Sheffer is professor of political science at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has been the director of both the Jerusalem Group for National Planning at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and the Leonard Davis Institute for International Relations of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 Part One. Definitions and Dimensions of Existential Threats Chapter 3 Chapter 1. What Exactly Makes a Continuous Existential Threat Existential—and How is it Discontinued? Chapter 4 Chapter 2. Liberalism and the New Definition of "Existential" Threat Chapter 5 Chapter 3. The Nature of Existential Threats to Democracies Part 6 Part Two. Existential Threats in a Comparative Perspective Chapter 7 Chapter 4. Deciding Democracy: External Security Threats and Domestic Regime Choices Chapter 8 Chapter 5. Continuous Existential Threats, Civil-Security Relations, and Democracy: A Comparative Exploration of Five Small States Chapter 9 Chapter 6. Democratic Control of the Armed Forces in Israel and Switzerland In Times of Security Threats Part 10 Part Three. The Israeli Case and Theories of Existential Threats Chapter 11 Chapter 7. Threat Perception and Threat Manipulation: The Uses and Misuses of Threats in Israel's National Security, 1949-2008 Chapter 12 Chapter 8. The Paradox of Security Views in Israel: A Social-psychological Explanation Chapter 13 Chapter 9. Coping with the Palestinian Threat: Adaptation and Learning in Israel's Strategies towards the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 1993—2006 Chapter 14 Chapter 10. Towards an Israeli-Iranian Nuclear Balance

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