18 March 2017   Leave a comment

The Security Dilemma is one of the bedrock analytical frameworks of world politics.  It is a very simple framework that posits that even purely defensive security moves by a state will likely be perceived as aggressive moves by another state.  Thus, when a state takes measures to enhance its security, it inevitably sets off a reaction from other states who are forced to interpret those moves as threatening.  Robert Jervis is the scholar who has developed this framework to an incredible degree, and in an interview with The Atlantic’s the Security Dilemma to analyze US-North Korean relations Kathy Gilsinan, uses .  The framework unfortunately leads to some troubling conclusions.  The interview is a very valuable insight into the dynamics of world politics.

The G20, the group of 20 nations that collectively account for the vast majority of the world’s GDP, has issued a communique at the end of its 2-day annual meeting.  The communique, for the first time in many years, dropped its boiler-plate language in favor of free trade and against protectionism, apparently because of opposition by the US to the language.  It also dropped its language exhorting financial commitments to prevent climate change that has only recently been adopted because of opposition from the US and Saudi Arabia.  According to Reuters:

“In a meeting that some said was at times 19 against one, the U.S. did not yield on key issues, essentially torpedoing earlier agreements as the G20 requires a consensus.”

The change in stance is truly dramatic from past G20 meetings.

The rise in hate crimes and incidents in the US since the beginning of the year has been astonishing, and the increase has prompted 156 civil rights organizations in the US to issue an open letter to President Trump demanding a stronger response to them by the US government.  The letter reads, in part:

“Just this year, we have seen an alarming increase in accounts and reports of hate-based acts of violence and intimidation. Some recent examples include:

  • The February shooting in Olathe, Kansas, where two Indian Hindu Americans were attacked, killing Srinivas Kuchibhotla;
  • Four mosques burned in the past two months, in Texas, Washington, and Florida, and more defaced by acts of vandalism;
  • Numerous bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers, synagogues, and ADL offices around the country;
  • The recent shooting in Washington state of a Sikh American outside of his home;
  • Racist graffiti targeting African Americans in Stamford, Connecticut and at a high school in Lake Oswego, Oregon;
  • An attack on a Latino man in Daly City, California, and an attack on a Hispanic woman in Queens, New York, with both targeted because of their ethnicity;
  • The murders of seven transgender women of color, including six African Americans and one Native American.”

The rise in anti-Semitic incidents, in particular, is especially troubling.

Posted March 18, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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