International Security: Politics, Policy, Prospects

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From war, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, through environmental and economic crises, to epidemics, cyber-war and piracy, the 21st-century world seems beset by a daunting range of international security problems. At the same time, the academic study of security has become more fragmented and contested than ever before as new actors, issues and theories increasingly challenge traditional concepts and approaches.

This innovative new text focuses on the politics of international security: how and why issues are interpreted as threats to international security and how such threats are managed. Each major issue on the contemporary security agenda is examined according to a common framework that equips readers with the conceptual tools and knowledge of real-world problems required for a systematic approach to the subject.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Michael E. Smith's new textbook promises to reinvigorate the teaching of international security. Emphasizing the fundamental role of politics and avoiding the twin perils of excessively abstract grand theorizing and ungeneralizable explanations of unique events, it offers an original and insightful framework that facilitates analysis and comparison across the full range of traditional and non-traditional international security issues." —John S. Duffield, Georgia State University

"This welcome new text strikes just the right balance. It is innovative, fresh, and breaks new ground, but is comprehensive, careful, and covers the basics. It gives due regard to different schools of thought, but is admirably synthetic. And it is sophisticated and thoughtful, but eminently readable and accessible." —Charles A. Kupchan, Georgetown University and Council on Foreign Relations

“A highly readable new introduction to the study of international security which provides students with a clear and comprehensive account of the main dynamics behind the key fault lines of the twenty-first century. Its great merits are that theory is deployed to illustrate empirical reality rather than as an end in itself, its skilful navigation between explanatory narrative and normative prescription, and that it sets international security firmly within the context of complex political processes being played out around the globe." —Jolyon Howorth, Yale University and University of Bath

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230203150
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/11/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,283,262
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL E. SMITH is Professor of International Relations, University of Aberdeen, UK and was previously Associate Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables, Figures and Boxes x

List of Abbreviations xii

Preface xvii

Acknowledgements xix

1 International Relations and International Security 1

International security: politics, policy and prospects 3

Theory and research design in international security 8

Evolution of the international security research agenda 11

2 Continuity and Change in International Security Studies 16

International security studies in the interwar period 17

International security studies and the Cold War 21

International security studies after the Cold War 27

Globalization and human security 38

Summary 43

3 The Politics of International Security 45

The politics of international security: basic assumptions 47

The value-threat relationship and international security 53

Stakeholders and international security 57

Political debates about international security 61

The politics of policy effectiveness 65

Summary 69

4 Interstate War 70

Interstate war and international security 71

Stakeholder factors 77

Interstate war as a policy problem 84

The politics of policy effectiveness 90

Summary 95

5 Intrastate War 98

Intrastate war and international security 99

Stakeholder factors 105

Intrastate war as a policy problem 111

The politics of policy effectiveness 119

Summary 123

6 Weapons Proliferation 125

Weapons proliferation and international security 125

Stakeholder factors 133

Proliferation as a policy problem 136

The politics of policy effectiveness 145

Summary 149

7 International Terrorism 151

International terrorism and international security 152

Stakeholder factors 158

International terrorism as a policy problem 165

The politics of policy effectiveness 173

Summary 177

8 International Crime 179

International crime and international security 180

Stakeholder factors 185

International crime as a policy problem 191

The politics of policy effectiveness 200

Summary 204

9 International Economic Security 206

International economics and international security 207

Stakeholder factors 211

International economic security as a policy problem 218

The politics of policy effectiveness 224

Summary 228

10 International Environmental and Resource Security 230

The environment, natural resources, and international security 231

Stakeholder factors 238

The environment and resource depletion as policy problems 244

The politics of policy effectiveness 250

Summary 253

11 International Public Health 256

International public health and international security 257

Stakeholder factors 263

International public health as a policy problem 267

The politics of policy effectiveness 274

Summary 278

12 International Population Trends 280

International population trends and international security 280

Stakeholder factors 289

Population trends as a policy problem 294

The politics of policy effectiveness 300

Summary 303

Conclusion: The Future of International Security Studies 305

The unsteady state of international security studies 307

The future international security research agenda 311

From international security to human security? 316

Bibliography 320

Index 349

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