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Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors: Globalized Terrorism and the Illusion of Multilateral Security

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 345
  • Book Info
    Smoke and Mirrors
    Book Description:

    The threat of terrorism has become a fact of life for American citizens and, by extension, an important issue for current and future U.S. governments. International relations are inevitably affected by this situation, yet allies of the United States have of late been decrying the Bush administration's move toward unilateralism and its sceptical attitude toward multilateral approaches to security.

    InSmoke and Mirrors, Frank P. Harvey mounts a powerful case for American unilateralism by exposing the real costs, potential risks, and catastrophic failures of multilateral alternatives, that are rarely acknowledged by proponents. He addresses the relationship between globalization, terrorism, and unilateralism, and provides a systematic explanation for, and defence of, Washington's response to threats of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The reality of an increasingly fragile national security environment will impose tremendous pressure on Republican and Democratic leaders alike, and will compel American officials to prioritize safety, protection, and invulnerability above all else in an effort to become self-reliant in matters of security.

    Harvey develops his arguments with evidence from two significant case studies: the American ballistic missile defence program and the 2003 war in Iraq. He argues that, as the costs and risks of relying exclusively on multilateralism increase, the logical, legal, strategic, and moral reasons for embracing only multilateral approaches to security are becoming more tenuous. The implications for Canada and Europe are obvious. As the U.S. becomes more threatened, the pressures that drive American unilateralism will clash with the foreign, economic, and security policies of other powers, including traditional allies, themselves motivated by a competing set of unilateral self-interests.

    Smoke and Mirrorswill compel critics of the Bush administration to move beyond the assumption that American foreign policies are temporary in nature. Indeed, the tensions caused by terrorism and proliferation will continue to shape Washington's threat perceptions and responses for decades. The book challenges critics to demonstrate the successes – as distinct from the promises – of multilateral security and to prove that their preferred alternative has achieved the victories that would justify a sweeping rejection of unilateralism.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8000-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  5. Introduction Transformation and Complexity: Predicting Global Security after 9/11
    (pp. 3-10)

    Measured by their impact on international alliances, foreign and security policies of major powers, American military priorities, long-term defence plans, fluctuations in global financial and economic markets, and even patterns of military, economic and development assistance, the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon (9/11/2001) and subsequent wars in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) combined to produce tectonic shifts in world politics and international relations. Consider, for example, the impact of 9/11 on U.S. alliance priorities: much less emphasis is being placed on military-security cooperation with major allies in the context of, say, NATO, and much more energy...

  6. Chapter 1 Linking Globalism, Terrorism, and Proliferation
    (pp. 11-32)

    Globalism has emerged as the most important force in the international system.¹ It affects every aspect of global economic, political, diplomatic, and military behaviour and continues to influence major debates in the fields of international relations, foreign policy, international trade, development, global finance, immigration, governance and democratization, and global security (to name a few).² Globalism typically refers to one (or more) of five trends outlined in Table 1.1.

    Thomas Friedman’s analogy of ‘three democratizations’ (finance, technology, and information) inThe Lexus and the Olive Treeis perhaps the most straightforward portrayal of globalization. Consider, for example, the system-transforming impact of...

  7. Chapter 2 Linking Globalism, Unilateralism, and Multilateralism
    (pp. 33-63)

    According to several prominent globalization experts, the terrorist attacks on 9/11 destroyed, once and for all, the myth of American independence. According to this view, U.S. officials can no longer remain complacent in the belief that they are somehow isolated from global conflict, or that they have the power to independently protect the United States from external (and internal) attacks. As the world continues to transform, state-centric models of international politics will become increasingly obsolete. These outdated frameworks no longer provide a useful analytical tool for predicting international behaviour and have become almost useless as a guide for foreign and...

  8. Chapter 3 Gulf War II: Unilateralism and Multilateralism in Practice
    (pp. 64-81)

    Perhaps the most popular myth about the United Nations is that it is a separate entity that competes with nation-states to constrain their behaviour, to prevent defection from international norms, rules, and regimes, and to serve as a multilateral alternative to unilaterally motivated power politics. The UN represents the most prominent multilateral check on relentless efforts by states to protect their own national economic, political, and security self-interests. But in reality the UN is merely another venue through which power politics plays out, and the Iraq war of 2003 is but the latest (and perhaps clearest) in a long list...

  9. Chapter 4 WMD Proliferation: The Case for Unilateral Ballistic Missile Defence
    (pp. 82-134)

    The debate between supporters of ballistic missile defence (BMD-unilateralism) and their critics who favour reliance on multilateral arms control and disarmament encapsulates the policy divide in the security community and, like the previous case study, helps to explain the post-9/11 preference in Washington for unilateral solutions to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).¹

    There are essentially three prerequisites for establishing a strong case in favour of U.S. BMD. First, the evidence must highlight the fundamental logical, historical, and factual errors critics make when developing their case against BMD. Disconfirming claims about BMD’s technological limitations, economic costs, and proliferation...

  10. Chapter 5 WMD Proliferation: The Case against Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament
    (pp. 135-163)

    Some will no doubt argue that the approach I’ve taken in the previous chapter essentially reverses the burden of proof. As David Mutimer asserts,

    National Missile Defence is a major, costly and quite dramatic alteration of the strategic status quo. Just how costly it will be is at the heart of the debate about its future, but its cost is certain to include billions of dollars and political disruption with American allies and others. Under the terms of almost any understanding of debate, whether logical, formal or political, those proposing have the responsibility to make the case for the proposal...

  11. Chapter 6 The Inevitability of Terrorism, and American Unilateralism: Security Trumps Economics
    (pp. 164-184)

    Sceptics in more traditional fields of scientific inquiry often claim that unlike their areas of expertise (e.g., physics, chemistry, and biology), forecasting human social, political, and international behaviour is virtually impossible. Actions of inanimate objects and chemicals under controlled experimental conditions, they assert, are much easier to predict than the behaviour of political officials interacting within and across complex social settings, bureaucracies, states, and international systems. But, in reality, accurate social scientific predictions are relatively easy to make, because some trend lines are considerably more obvious and informative than others. The hard part is convincing sceptics that the future is...

  12. Chapter 7 The Moral Foundations of Canadian Multilateralism: Distinction Trumps Security
    (pp. 185-215)

    Regardless of how commendable are a nation’s goals of establishing a truly multilateral global order, the refusal to acknowledge the many deficiencies of multilateralism outlined in the previous six chapters is morally suspect. This is particularly true given the lack of any compelling evidence that multilateral approaches to terrorism and proliferation have succeeded in enhancing global security, or that similar commitments in the future will be any more successful. Yet despite these failures, an almost religious commitment to multilateralism has emerged as the only game in town for Canada, perhaps a consequence of Canada’s status as a declining middle power...

  13. Chapter 8 Recalibrating Canada’s Moral and Diplomatic Compass
    (pp. 216-232)

    Mark Kingwell’s defence of ‘distinction’ as a guiding principle for Canadian foreign policy serves well as a starting point to the final chapter: ‘The old cliché has it that Canadians, lacking an identity of their own, construct one out of not being American. I have never understood why this is considered inadequate or feeble. If you were the only dissenter in a room holding a dozen people, standing up and saying “I’m not the same as you” would be a clear mark of moral courage.’¹ But surely moral courage is not something that emerges automatically from an imperative to establish...

  14. Appendix A: American Multilateralism in Iraq, 2003
    (pp. 233-249)
  15. Appendix B: U.S. Legislation Related to 11 September 2001
    (pp. 250-256)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 257-306)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 307-330)
  18. Index
    (pp. 331-342)