from Politics, Power, and Preventive Action and Center for Preventive Action

You Might Have Missed: Academic Journals V

May 25, 2016

Blog Post

This is the fifth blog post in this series. The previous four were published in FebruaryJuly, and October 2015, and January 2016, and highlight earlier academic findings. 

David B. Carter, “Provocation and the Strategy of Terrorist and Guerrilla Attacks,” International Organization 70(1), December 2015, pp. 133-173.

…States are not often provoked into forcefully responding to terrorist attacks because their responses tend to mostly harm civilians…. In other words, I expect more guerrilla attacks to be accompanied by more state responses that result in some collateral damage. In four out of the five high-violence cases, this is true. (p. 160)

These results suggest at least two things. First, groups are targeting security forces when the state is responding forcefully to attacks and imposing some civilian damage. Second, the pattern is consistent with all but one of the five high-violence cases. These results rely on raw data, so I further explore patterns with the statistical version of our theoretical model that also controls for other plausible confounding factors. (p. 161)

Terrorist attacks generally avoid the state rather than provoke it, whereas guerrilla attacks can be part of a provocation strategy. In combination with the results for the state’s propensity to respond, the graph in Figure 5(c) provides striking evidence that guerrilla attacks are associated with provoking state response, and terrorist attacks with avoiding state response. (p. 165)

Brian Michael Jenkins, Henry H. Willis, and Bing Han, “Do Significant Terrorist Attacks Increase the Risk of Further Attacks?” RAND Corporation, 2016.

Attacks in the United States and Europe seem to generate more fear among the public in the West and prompt swifter responses from public officials than attacks in other parts of the world. In some cases, official travel warnings and security advisories reminding people to exercise vigilance reinforce apprehension. Visible increases in security reflect prudence but also suggest that there is reason to worry about further terrorist attacks.

Inherent in these comments and actions is the presumption that a major terrorist attack somehow increases the likelihood that another attack will soon occur—or at least the concern that another attack will soon occur. (p. 1)

Results of analysis summarized in Table 1 show that the distribution of small-but-fatal terrorism events (defined in this analysis as those killing at least one but less than three people) appears to be not random in Europe and the United States between 1970 and 2002, but it does appear random between 2003 and 2013. In other words, in the earlier period, events were more inclined to occur in clusters….Terrorists are systematic in plotting, planning, and carrying out their attacks. However, across the universe of attacks, it appears that, over time, terrorism occurs with a frequency and distribution that would be expected from a random process. (p. 2)

Emily Meierding, “Dismantling the Oil Wars MythSecurity Studies 25(2), 2016.

This article examined four conflicts that are commonly identified as oil wars. Three of the four are highly likely cases, displaying many of the characteristics that should make fighting for oil pay. They should therefore be easy cases for the oil war hypothesis. Yet, the hypothesis is not supported by any of them. In the Iran–Iraq War and Chaco War, the desire to control petroleum resources was not an incentive for international aggression. In Japan’s invasion of the Dutch East Indies and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, leaders did aim to seize foreign oil resources. However, the motives underlying their attacks were very different from those proposed by the oil war hypothesis. Japan and Iraq did not fight out of oil greed, expecting to profit from seizing a petroleum prize. Instead, they fought because of security needs, believing that gaining control over additional oil was a necessary tool for their survival. Had leaders not perceived this broader sense of threat, neither state would have attempted to seize foreign petroleum resources. Existential imperatives, rather than oil ambitions, drove international aggression. These findings indicate that oil wars, as conventionally conceived, do not exist. (p. 287)

Benjamin J. Appel, “In the Shadow of the International Criminal Court: Does the ICC Deter Human Rights Violations,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2016.

The results suggest that the ICC has influenced the human rights records of states since the Rome Statute entered into force in 2002. While researchers have identified some important limitations with the Court, the empirical evidence suggests that the ICC is associated with greater human rights practices among ratifiers. While it is true that states that ratify the Rome Statute have on average better human rights records than nonratifiers, it is also the case that the human rights practices of ratifiers have improved since the Court’s establishment more than the human rights practices of nonratifier states over time…. The primary statistical results suggest that ratifiers commit lower levels of human rights abuses than nonratifiers. (pp. 17-18)

ICC involvement signals to domestic and international actors that the government in question has committed gross violations of human rights, leading third parties to act and punish such violators in the form of economic sanctions and domestic challenges to the regime. (p. 19)

Jessica Auchter, “Paying Attention to Dead Bodies: The Future of Security Studies?Journal of Global Security Studies 1(1), 2016, pp. 36-50.

I argue that thinking explicitly about dead bodies opens a new agenda for security studies. Dead bodies can be conceptualized not only as a failure of the system but as agents worthy of securing. In practice, dead bodies are integral to individuals’, communities’, and states’ senses of identity and ontological security. By centralizing death rather than silencing it, and addressing its cultural, emotional, and national facets rather than paring it down to its strict numbers, scholars could generate new insights about the motivations behind political action….

I first establish what is at stake in theoretical debates about the dead body in security studies to describe the analytical position the dead body holds in the field: how the dead body has been represented in international politics and why it has been under-addressed in security studies. Then I explore the politics of measurement in security studies to engage scholars who are rethinking the measurement of war casualties, the assumptions embedded in quantitative casualty data, the ethnography of these numbers, and the politics of representing them. The larger point of this section is that the way in which dead bodies are counted, the key grounds of debate between traditional and human security studies, may matter less for thinking about security than how they are counted and assigned value as agents of and for global security. In the third section, I use several examples of dead body management (how they are secured and governed, and the political and legal structures in place to manage them) to demonstrate that dead bodies are already subjects and objects of security in practice. This section demonstrates that while dead bodies appear as subjects of governance, as worthy of management, discussions of such management could be further intertwined with discussions of security. In the conclusion, I offer some ideas for a research agenda that includes the global dead. (p. 37)

Benjamin Acosta, “Dying for Survival: Why Militant Organizations Continue to Conduct Suicide Attacks,” Journal of Peace Research, online, January 14, 2016.

Descriptive statistics reveal that various targeting patterns have emerged over the three and a half decades of the contemporary suicide attack phenomenon (see Table I). In the early 1980s, militant organizations launched suicide attacks mostly against foreign combatants. In the late 1980s, organizations carried out suicide attacks chiefly against domestic combatants. During the 1990s, the primary targeting profile shifted to domestic civilians, and since the mid- 2000s the main targeting profile has reverted back to domestic combatants. (pp. 2-3)

The empirical findings allude to the central role that high-status organizations like Hezbollah, Hamas, and al-Qaeda have played in perpetuating suicide attacks. The results also support contentions that even high-status organizations have influenced one another in their initial adoption of suicide attacks – for example, Hezbollah inspiring the LTTE (Hoffman & McCormick, 2004) and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) (Atran, 2003), the latter two which influenced al-Qaeda (Acosta, 2010), and in turn inspired al-Tawhid wal-Jihad and various others (Rosen, 2006). (p. 9)

Studies of political violence analyze bandwagoning in terms of competition and rivalry between militant organizations (Crenshaw, 1981; Kydd & Walter, 2006). Notably, Bloom (2005) asserts that rival militant organizations use suicide attacks to compete for popularity in societies where martyrdom operations generate high degrees of support. In contrast, this study’s empirical analysis suggests a cooperative spirit between organizations that adopt suicide attacks – even among some organizations with explicit and lasting rivalries. (pp. 12-13)

Allan Dafoe and Devin Caughey, “Honor and War: Southern US Presidents and the Effects of Concern for Reputation,” World Politics 68(2), April 2016, pp. 341-381.

Southern presidents are twice as likely to use force, experience disputes that last on average twice as long, and are three times as likely to achieve victory. (p. 371)

While interesting in themselves, our results have important theoretical implications. Most directly, they provide evidence consistent with the strongest claims about the importance of concern for reputation. Concern for reputation is some of the dark matter of international relations; it is necessary for many theories of international relations but it eludes scientific study. Regardless of the degree to which reputation influences outcomes, actors’ concern for their reputation appears to have large effects. Leaders more concerned with reputation for resolve are more likely to prevail in militarized conflicts with other countries, though at the cost of longer and more violent—though not necessarily more frequent—interstate disputes. It is important to keep in mind that even our control group of non-Southern presidents placed high value on reputation, and so the full effects of concern for reputation in international relations are probably even larger than the effects we estimate in this study. (pp. 372-373)

Sam R. Bell, K. Chad Clay, and Carla Martinez Machain, “The Effect of US Troop Deployments on Human Rights,” The Journal of Conflict Resolution, online, April 1, 2016.

In summary, the results illustrate support for the idea that U.S. troop deployments only produce improvements in human rights in contexts where there is a lower level of security salience. In addition, it appears that this effect is largely driven by deployments after the Cold War. (p. 21)

…When a state is distant from strategically important locations, and thus, is not particularly salient for U.S. security purposes, increases in the size of a U.S. troop deployment lead to increasing government respect for physical integrity rights. However, as the security salience decreases, that positive relationship diminishes to the point where there is no longer a statistically significant relationship between U.S. troop deployments and physical integrity rights. (p. 23)

That, in less salient states during the post-Cold War period, as human rights training has increasingly been incorporated into U.S. military training, U.S. troops have largely been related to better human rights practices in their host states. However, in states with a high security salience, as well as during the Cold War, when these changes had not yet been implemented, U.S. troop presence had no statistically significant impact on the human rights practices of host states. (p. 25)