Abstract: This article deals with the concept of indirect coercion as a distinct type of coercive strategy involving three actors. We introduce a taxonomy of triangular strategies commonly employed in international politics: ‘hostage-taking’, ‘patron-client’ and ‘composite’ strategies. These three types of indirect coercion cover different ways in how the coercer draws the intermediary actor in the process of coercive bargaining to enhance his leverage over the target. For each type, we conduct a plausibility probe to study these dynamics on short empirical case studies. We argue that our conceptualisation of indirect coercion opens new avenues for research into deterrence and compellence in contemporary world politics.
Authors: Michal Smetana, Michal Onderčo
Cambridge Review of International Affairs
Abstract: In this article, we draw on insights from the interactionist perspective in sociology and international relations (IR) norm contestation literature to explore the relationship between deviance and normative change in international politics. In IR, this is still largely unexplored territory: we already know a great deal about how norms change, yet we know much less about the actual role norm violations play in this process. In order to address this gap, we conceptualize three types of normative contestation and affirmation that take place in connection with deviance (re)construction: (1) applicatory contestation and affirmation, reconstructing the meanings of international norms; (2)justificatory contestation and affirmation, challenging and reaffirming the legitimacy of international norms; and (3) hierarchical contestation and affirmation, contesting and reaffirming the relative value and importance of international norms. We discuss how, as a consequence of these dynamics, deviance-making produces both stability and change in the normative structure of world politics.
Weapons of Mass Protection? Rogue Asteroids, Nuclear Explosions in Space, and the Norms of Global Nuclear Order
Abstract: Planetary defense scientists frequently consider nuclear explosive devices (NED) among the suitable tools for deflection of near-Earth objects. Despite the convenient physical characteristics of nuclear explosions, this chapter sketches the negative implications of developing any options in this direction for the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the global nuclear order as such. Moreover, the author critically unpacks the seemingly objective scientific rationality of these proposals and discusses how support for the NED development de-stigmatizes technology that, similarly to the impact of large asteroids, also carries the risk of destroying human civilization with a non-zero probability. The chapter concludes with a pragmatic attempt to find the middle ground between the NED advocates and critics.
(De-)stigmatising the outsider: nuclear-armed India, United States, and the global nonproliferation order
Author: Michal Smetana
Journal of International Relations and Development
Abstract: In this article, I employ an interactionist perspective from sociology to examine the dynamics of de-stigmatisation of nuclear-armed India after the 1998 nuclear tests. Drawing on Erving Goffman and other interactionist scholars, I study the social dimension of India’s transformation from ‘nuclear pariah’ to a ‘responsible’ nuclear-armed power that plays by the global non-proliferation rules even though it remains outside of the NPT club. I trace the interactive process of the normalisation of India’s deviant identity in nuclear politics, highlighting the key role of the United States in the de-stigmatisation of India’s outsider status, as well as the power-laden factors underpinning the process. Beyond the empirical contribution, I elaborate on discursive strategies that states employ to normalise their disvalued identities. By conceptually unpacking the logic of normalisation and de-stigmatisation in international politics, I aim to contribute to the current debates in International Relations about norms and deviance in world order.
Authors: Miloš Balabán, Michal Tomášek
The Lawyer Quarterly
Abstract: The four decades of breath-taking political and economic changes in China raise a host of questions about the governance of this, in many ways unique, world power. The authors analyse the economic, political and historical context of the origins and operation of the present-day Chinese political model, the country’s legal system and the role of the Communist Party in the Chinese society, similar in many ways to the role previously played by China’s imperial dynasties. They also highlight the new trends in Chinese domestic politics and foreign policy of the late 2010s, which bear witness to a sustained effort of the Chinese political leadership to enhance China’s great-power status on the global stage.
Author: Michal Smetana
The Washington Quarterly
Abstract: The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review strikes a rather different tone than its predecessor and provides a novel strategic narrative for the development of U.S. nuclear posture, but a careful contextual analysis also reveals much more policy continuity with previous administrations than meets the eye.
Authors: Sumit Ganguly, Michal Smetana, Sannia Abdullah, Ales Karmazin
Asia Europe Journal
Abstract: The Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan remains at the core of one of the most intractable conflicts in modern history. This article provides a plausibility probe into the dynamics of this South Asian rivalry that is conceptually based on the dynamic understanding of “frozen conflicts” introduced in this special issue of Asia Europe Journal. We lay out the key features of the conflict vis-à-vis the redefined notion of frozen conflicts, situating the rivalry in the broader category of unresolved protracted conflicts with a looming threat of violence renewal. In turn, we examine the three transformational dynamics as they operate in this particular case: peaceful thawing, violent thawing, and conflict withering. We conclude that despite the ongoing developments within the conflict dynamics, the possibility of conflict transformation through any of the suggested pathways remains unlikely in the near future.
Author: Jan Ludvík
Abstract: Living with a nuclear-armed enemy is unattractive, but, strangely, states seldom use their military power to prevent the enemy’s entry into the nuclear club. It is puzzling why preventive strikes against nuclear programs have been quite rare. I address this puzzle by considering the role of conventional retaliation, a subfield of deterrence that so far has received scant attention in the literature. I theorize the concept of conventional retaliation and test its explanatory power. First, I explore all historical cases where states struck another state’s nuclear installations and find none occurring when the proliferator threatened conventional retaliation. Second, I explore two cases where a strike was most likely, but the would-be attacker balked and find smoking-gun evidence that the threat of conventional retaliation restrained the would-be attacker. This evidence supports my claim that the threat of conventional retaliation is sufficient to deter a preventive strike against emerging nuclear states.
Author: Pavlína Bláhová
Asia Europe Journal
Abstract: The enduring deadlock in peace negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has created a special, “frozen” phase in the conflict cycle. Several cases of skirmishes, escalating in 2016 during the Four-Day War, demonstrate the security threat the conflict represents. Simultaneously, ongoing unsuccessful peace talks and escalations and de-escalations of violence at the line of contact indicate the failure to transform the conflict in either a peaceful or a violent way. This paper seeks to identify conditions contributing to the stalemate of the conflict. The key actors contributing to the conflict’s “frozenness” are the political leadership of Armenia and Azerbaijan and third parties represented by the Minsk Group. The failure to achieve a peaceful transformation is given by political hostilities carried out through negative labelling, uncompromising statements and the self-victimisation of the belligerents. Such activities deepen the grievances within the Azerbaijani and Armenian populaces, which in response to such behaviour does not support any concessions in negotiations. At the same time, the Minsk Group does not provide any concrete model for a peaceful settlement nor does it apply pressure on the belligerents to grant concessions. A violent transformation of the conflict is not possible due to the presence of third parties in the region which deter the belligerents from full-scale war. These findings indicate that in order to avoid the future failure of negotiations and violent escalations at the line of contact, the political leaderships of Armenia and Azerbaijan need to withdraw from mutual hostilities, the negotiation agenda and framework need to be changed and the third parties involved have to actively participate in the peace process.
Abstract: Frozen conflicts, situations in which war ended yet stable peace did not materialize, trouble both Asia and Europe. Despite the clear policy relevance of this problem, the notion of frozen conflicts remains surprisingly blurred in peace and conflict studies literature. In this paper, we seek to provide a rigorous conceptualization of frozen conflicts. We situate frozen conflicts into a broader debate about enduring rivalries in international politics and demonstrate the theoretical relevance of the term vis-à-vis existing concepts. Furthermore, we outline a theoretical model of frozen conflict dynamics, which portrays frozen conflicts as dynamic configurations undergoing a periodical “thawing” in relations between the opposing sides: either toward diplomatic negotiations (“peaceful thawing”) or re-escalation toward use of armed force (“violent thawing”). We illustrate the usefulness of our model with empirical observations from other articles in this special issue and conclude with possible avenues for further research.
Author: Miloš Balabán
CEJISS, Volume 11 / Issue 3
Abstract: The author analyses a number of major works by American scholars (Fukuyama, Huntington, Zakaria, Nye, Haass, Mearsheimer, Brzezinski, Jentleson, Wright, Ikenberry, Jones) that examine the global power shifts, especially with regard to the changing position and role of the US as the leading Western power. The United States is coming to terms with the end of the unipolar moment and adapting to new political, economic and security realities ushered in by the rise of non-Western powers. The above-mentioned scholars agree that, while this adaptation is not a smooth process, America̕ s substantial economic, military and research power still guarantees it a major role in the inevitable transformation of the international order. The article confronts academic concepts with the dynamics of global power shifts and the mistakes of American policy (e.g. in the Middle East) that undermine America’s global position. The erosion of American power and the power of the West is also bound to the economic and political problems generated by the US-triggered financial crisis of 2008. The last-mentioned factors help strengthen the role of non-western powers, especially China, in international politics, highlighting the need for a broader dialogue between them and the West about the future world order and forms of global governance.
The Limits, Dilemmas and Challenges of European Security in Uncertain Times
Author: Miloš Balabán
CEJISS, Volume 10 / Issue 1
Abstract: The article assesses the current state of European security, and its future, against the backdrop of several key processes: the rising political and economic power of non-western actors; economic problems in America and Europe; and the dynamic of changing security environment and threats, especially in Europe’s backyard. It also analyses the consequences of the long-term decline in EU members’ defence spending, which undermines Europe’s military capabilities and makes the continent ever more dependent on American military power. It goes on to ask to what extent the Ukrainian conflict and Russia’s involvement in it may change the approach of NATO’s European members to collective defence. According to some polls, we can see – despite conclusions reached at NATO’s Welsh summit in September 2014 – different levels of support for NATO in member states, which highlight current tensions and suggest possible future difficulties for the coalition. Nevertheless, this work concludes that given the strength of the existing political, economic and security ties between Europe and the United States, including the current prospect of a transatlantic free trade zone, it is very likely that the two partners will increasingly divide security responsibilities. However, this supposed trend toward a conscious complementarity of roles cannot, at present, fully manifest itself, as the conflicts in Europe's neighbourhood (North and sub-Saharan Africa, the Sahel, the Middle East) tend both to flare up suddenly and escalate quickly, forcing both actors to adopt improvised, ad hoc solutions.
Author: Michal Smetana
International Affairs, Volume 92/ Number 1
Abstract: The quinquennial Nuclear Non‐Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference represents a highly important event from the perspective of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Though not a party to the treaty itself, the EU has made a consistent effort since the 1990s to coordinate the positions of its member states and achieve higher visibility in the NPT review process. The aim of this article is to examine the role of the EU in the 2015 NPT Review Conference deliberations. Drawing on on‐site observations, statements and in‐depth research interviews, it argues that the recent institutional changes notwithstanding, the influence of the EU as a distinct actor in the NPT context remains very limited, and the EU's common position is in bigger disarray than ever before. This year's Review Conference demonstrated the widening rift between the member states, in particular in the area of nuclear disarmament and the related issues. The inability to maintain a coherent common position limits the EU ‘actorness’ and impedes its striving for relevance in the NPT forums. The dynamics outlined in this article further highlight the limits of the EU CFSP in security matters in which the national positions of individual member states are as divergent as in the case of nuclear disarmament.