Jeffrey Lewis is a Research Fellow at the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy (CISSM). His research focuses on the space policy component of CISSM’s Advanced Methods of Cooperative Security Program, which is generously funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Dr. Lewis is also member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...
Paul Kerr is a research analyst at the Arms Control Association covering missile and nuclear non-proliferation issues. These include missile and weapons of mass destruction programs in South Asia, Northeast Asia, and the Persian Gulf regions. Additionally, he covers Israel’s status within the international non-proliferation regime and U.S. non-proliferation policy. Mr. Kerr also contributes articles to Arms Control Today, the Association’s publication.
...Perhaps your anxiety about "marginal improvements" to China's missile force would recede as you learned that China's 18 ICBMs, sitting unfueled in their silos, their nuclear warheads in storage, are essentially the same as they were the day China began deploying them in 1981. In fact, contrary to reports you might have recently read that Chinese nukes number in the hundreds--if not the thousands--the true size of the country's operationally deployed arsenal is probably about 80 nuclear weapons.
But for goodness' sake, we have to act in a big way, we have to dismantle this. Martin, no one in the world, including our finest statesmen, including myself or anybody you want to name, or yourself, no one is good enough, wise enough, steady enough, to have control over the volume of explosives that now rest in the hands of this country. We're all little people; we have our good days, our bad days; we make mistakes. These things shouldn't exist at all.
3.1.1. The nature of international politics
International politics is primarily about power.
International politics differs from domestic politics because it's anarchic. Within a country, the state has a monopoly on the use of force; the state defines the laws, and imprisons or kills anyone who breaks them. But there's no such monopoly on violence at the international level. Disputes which cannot be resolved through negotiation are often resolved through force, i.e. war. If the world is a global village, it's like a village with no governing authority, great disparities in wealth and power, and individuals who are heavily armed and willing to use violence.
Historically, states have been able to maintain their independence under these conditions through the balance of power. Each state attempts to protect itself against a perceived threat by allying itself with other states which face the same threat; if one state becomes powerful enough to threaten everyone, it will face a formidable alliance of opposing states.
Power does not mean military power alone. The exercise of power is primarily psychological, rather than physical: it refers to the ability to impose one's will on someone else, to convince someone to change their mind, whether this is through threats, promises, or authority.
In Basra on September 19, British troops clashed with Iraqi police and Shi'ite militia, who had ironically welcomed the toppling of Saddam two years ago. The police had arrested two British undercover commandos who possessed suspicious bomb-making materials. British troops launched an armored raid on the jail to free their agents, fighting the same Iraqi police they had earlier trained. Iraqis had thought it strange that British agents would be caught with the types of bombs associated with insurgents attacking "Coalition" troops, and some assumed that the agents were trying to pit Iraqi religious groups against each other.
Yet at the same time, bombs were going off across the border in Khuzestan. In June, a series of car bombings in Ahvaz (75 miles from Basra) killed 6 people. In August, Iran arrested a group of Arab separatist rebels, and accused them of links to British intelligence in Basra. In September, explosions hit Khuzestani cities, halting crude oil transfers from onshore wells. On October 15, two major bomb explosions in an Ahvaz market killed 4 and injured 95. A November 3 analysis in Asia Times blames Iraqi Sunni insurgents for the bombings.
Iranian officials accused Britain of backing the attacks, and tied the rebel bombs to the British commando incident in Basra. The Daily Star of Beirut reported on October 17 that Iranian officials "point to Western collusion in the sudden spike this year in ethnic unrest in the strategic, oil-producing province of Khuzestan and describe it as proof of a shadowy war that is receiving far less coverage in the international press than events in Iraq. Since the beginning of 2005, riots and a bombing campaign timed to coincide with the June presidential elections rocked Khuzestan's major cities."
Tony Blair and his Foreign Secretary Jack Straw denied the charges, and in turn accused Tehran of sending agents to stir up trouble in Basra and other Iraqi cities, by supporting Iraqi Shi'ite militias. A London-based Arab exile group claims that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are establishing an exclusive military-industrial zone along the Iraqi border to support infiltration into Basra, is carrying out "ethnic cleansing" of Arab farmers for this Free Zone project, and has conducted large exercises to practice quelling Arab unrest in Khuzestan.
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