Seeking Security in an Insecure World

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Overview

This comprehensive yet concise introduction to international security explores the constantly changing conditions that lead to an insecure world. During the Cold War, the Soviet-American nuclear rivalry generated insecurity. Since then, state-based nuclear threats have diminished while the threat of non-state actors wielding weapons of mass destruction has increased. A global surge in mass-casualty terrorism, persistent and costly intrastate wars, and environmental threats have reshaped our thinking about security threats and how best to respond to them.

Now in a thoroughly updated edition, the text considers today's security agenda, including the threat posed by the spread of infectious disease, drug trafficking and competition for petroleum, ethnic rebellions, transnational criminal and terrorist organizations, and wars in cyberspace and on the ground against elusive individuals and shadowy organizations rather than states. The authors show, in other words, how the quest for security has become far more salient than it was during the euphoric days of the post-Cold War period and far more complicated than it was during the Cold War as threats are increasingly transnational, interconnected, and stateless.

Seeking Security in an Insecure World offers a broad overview of both traditional and "new" conceptions of security. With clear and lively prose, compelling examples, and solid scholarship, it engages both students of international relations and general readers who wish to gain a better understanding of what security means today and how it can best be achieved.

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Editorial Reviews

Proceedings
This book deals with this oft quoted but little understood issue in an organized and scholarly yet lively manner....In dealing with both traditional and contemporary sources of insecurity, this book provides light in an area commonly containing primarily heat.
Ambassador Dennis Ross
PRAISE FOR THE FIRST EDITION In a world that is increasingly interconnected, the very concept of security requires redefinition and broadening. Dan Caldwell and Robert Williams not only offer a cogent explanation for why this is the case, they also present an excellent overview of the range and nature of the new threats. In doing so, they have provided a real service to scholars, policymakers, and interested laypeople alike. Scholars will benefit greatly from the discussion of why traditional state-based threats are limiting and a new security paradigm incorporating non-state threats is needed. Policymakers will gain from the analysis of the character of new threats, the danger of unintended consequences when employing traditional military responses to them, and the value of new forms of cooperation for containing and combating them. And interested citizens, after reading this thoughtful book, will both understand the challenges of security in a new century better and also be able to demand more imaginative and integrated responses from governments and non-governmental organizations.
Choice
In this second edition of their well-received survey (1st ed., CH, Dec'06, 44-2361), Caldwell and Williams (both, Pepperdine Univ.) offer an exceptional overview of international security challenges and the status of threats to both states and individuals. Seeking Security in an Insecure World is a sober reminder that while the threat of interstate war has severely diminished in the developed world, developing nations remain plagued by political instability, civil wars, crime, infectious diseases, and persistent environmental challenges. The transnational nature of these problems has led to a progressive securitization of issues not previously perceived as part of a dynamic threat environment, and necessitates that state-centered security paradigms give way to new realities—including the fact that human security is very often threatened by the very states responsible for its assurance. This updated book is a measured and comprehensive appraisal of the contemporary security environment. While the authors offer advice and suggestions for policy moving forward, the level of insecurity presented as endemic to 21st-century geopolitics is such that it leaves the reader intellectually challenged yet highly concerned about the prospects for international security in the near term. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
CHOICE
In this second edition of their well-received survey (1st ed., CH, Dec'06, 44-2361), Caldwell and Williams (both, Pepperdine Univ.) offer an exceptional overview of international security challenges and the status of threats to both states and individuals. Seeking Security in an Insecure World is a sober reminder that while the threat of interstate war has severely diminished in the developed world, developing nations remain plagued by political instability, civil wars, crime, infectious diseases, and persistent environmental challenges. The transnational nature of these problems has led to a progressive securitization of issues not previously perceived as part of a dynamic threat environment, and necessitates that state-centered security paradigms give way to new realities—including the fact that human security is very often threatened by the very states responsible for its assurance. This updated book is a measured and comprehensive appraisal of the contemporary security environment. While the authors offer advice and suggestions for policy moving forward, the level of insecurity presented as endemic to 21st-century geopolitics is such that it leaves the reader intellectually challenged yet highly concerned about the prospects for international security in the near term. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
Michael Krepon
Dan Caldwell and Robert Williams have written a superb survey on threats to international security and how public policies can ameliorate or exacerbate them. This is a thoughtful, wise, and accessible book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742538122
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/3/2006
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.92 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Caldwell is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Pepperdine University. Robert E. Williams Jr. is associate professor of political science at Pepperdine University.
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Table of Contents

1 The meaning of security today 1
2 Conventional weapons and war : traditional threats in new forms 19
3 Nuclear weapons : living in the shadow of the mushroom cloud 34
4 Bugs and gas : biological and chemical weapons 47
5 The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction : spreading insecurity? 61
6 Disease : the greatest killer? 75
7 Cyber-threats : how we're all connected to the bad guys 89
8 Drugs and thugs : trafficking and international security 103
9 The state of the state : national security after 9/11 117
10 Ethnic conflicts and security : ancient hatreds? 129
11 The root of all evil? : the matter of economic security 144
12 Ecological disasters and resource wars : seeking environmental security 154
13 Living in the shadow of the World Trade Center : coping with the threat of terrorism 170
14 Seeking security in an insecure world : the way forward 182
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