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Title: V482- International Security (3 credits)

Dates: June 24, 2013 - July 12, 2013

Syllabus: 2012 Example Syllabus

Professor Sumit Ganguly, Political Science, Indiana University

Teaching Assistant Nicolas Blarel, Political Science, Indiana University


This course explores theoretical and historical explanations for a range of security issues in the international system. The concept of security, traditionally, is studied with respect to countries and how countries can protect themselves. However, students of international relations will quickly observe that contemporary security problems often arise from other sources of grievance and result in civil and ethnic conflict, terrorism, and environmental challenges.

Together, we will study a variety of different approaches to international security, including theoretical debates about security, the causes of international and civil conflict, and how individual and systemic factors influence the abundance or lack of security in the international system. We will further work on broadening the conception of security by considering the non-traditional security threats such as insurgencies and terrorist movements as well as the impact of nuclear proliferation on international order.

As a result, the focus of this class is primarily on conceptions of security in the post-Cold War world, though we will spend some time considering the causes of World War I, World War II, and other pivotal historic conflicts. Students will be expected to derive key propositions from these earlier crises to inform their understanding of current conflicts.

Daily discussion of the assigned readings will focus on both questions of content and method. By the end of the course, students should be able to analyze and assess real-world scenarios.

Three field trips in nearby London are designed to supplement the programmatic concerns of the class. The London field trips will be on Wednesdays.


Levy, Jack S., and William R. Thompson. 2010. Causes of War. Malden, MA:

Wiley Blackwell

Gray, Colin S. 2011. War, Peace and International Relations: An introduction to strategic history. Routledge.

In addition to the textbooks, we will read several articles and book chapters (available on Oncourse). Also, I strongly advise you to follow current events by frequently accessing the online editions of the New York Times, BBC, CNN, France24, Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor.



This is an advanced undergraduate course that requires serious engagement. The readings are mainly drawn from the pertinent academic literature. The advantage of this approach is that you will be exposed to the most relevant scholarly debates on international security issues and you will be able to cultivate invaluable analytical skills. The other side of the coin is that the readings are a bit more challenging than what you generally find in most textbooks. As a consequence, the readings will demand a substantial time commitment. We will briefly survey existing theoretical approaches that enable us to better understand the causes and consequences of both interstate and intrastate war. At the same time, we will use historical cases to test theories of international conflict. In this sense, the guiding question throughout this course will be “why is one theory better equipped than another to explain war X”?


This course encourages you to become an active and critical reader. You will improve your comprehension of the readings only if you take notes on what you read and write down questions about the readings. When you do the readings, try to think of answers to the following questions:

What is the author’s main argument?

What are the implications of the argument made by the author?

What evidence does the author bring in to support his or her claim?

Can you think of an alternative explanation for the author’s evidence?

How are the readings of the week related?



Part One: Introduction to International Security 

Class 1: Introduction to the Course, First Definitions (Monday June 24th 10am-12pm)

Introduction, course Syllabus, requirements, how to look for readings/sources, Defining essential terms and concepts: war, power


What is war?

1.Clausewitz, Carl von. “What is War?” chapter 1, On War, 1837.

2. Gray. War, peace and International Relations. Chapter 2.

3 Levy and Thompson, chapter 1.

Power in IR

1. Carr, E.H. The Twenty Years’ Crisis (Palgrave, 2001), 97-135.

2. Freedman, Lawrence. “Strategic Studies and the Problem of Power.” Strategic Studies: A Reader (SSR), 22-33.

Class 2: Definitions II (Monday June 24th 3pm-5pm)

Defining essential terms and concepts: strategy, international studies, levels of analysis


What is Strategy?

1. Betts, Richard. “Is Strategy an Illusion?,” International Security (2000) 5-50

2. Gray, Colin. Modern Strategy (OUP, 1999), 16-38.

3. Howard Michael, “Forgotten Dimensions of Strategy”, 101-15.

Defining international security

1. Walt, Steve. “The Renaissance of Security Studies. International Studies Quarterly (1991) 35: 2, 211-239

Levels of Analysis

1.  Waltz, Kenneth N.  Man, the State, and War. (Columbia University Press, 1959).

Chapter 1.

2. Singer, J. David. The Level-of-Analysis Problem in International Relations. World

Politics (1961), 14(1): 77-92.


Part Two: Causes of War

Class 3: Systemic Theoretical Explanations of War I (Tuesday June 25th 10am-12pm)

Realism, neorealism


Levy and Thompson chapter 2

Realist explanations for war

1. Waltz, Kenneth N. "The Origins of War in Neorealist Theory." Journal of Interdisciplinary

History (1988)18, 4: 615-28

2. Mearsheimer, John J. Tragedy of Great Power Politics (Norton, 2001). Chapter 1.

3. Jervis, Robert. "Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma." World Politics (1978) 30,2: 167-186.

4. Lynn-Jones, Sean M. "Offense-Defense Theory and Its Critics." Security Studies 4 (1995): 660-91.      


Class 4: Dyadic Theoretical explanations of war II (Tuesday June 25th 3pm-5pm)

Liberalism and rationalism


Levy and Thompson. chapter 2. 3.

Liberalism and the democratic peace

1. Russett, Bruce M. and Harvey Starr, "From the Democratic Peace to Kantian Peace: Democracy and Conflict in the International System." In Manus I. Midlarsky, ed., Handbook of War Studies II (University of Michigan Press, 2000): 93-128.

2. Mansfield, Edward D. and Jack Snyder, "Democratization and the Danger of War." International Security 20 (1995): 5-38.

Rationalist explanations of war

1. Fearon, James. “Rationalist Explanations for War”. International Organization (1995) 49(3): 379-414

2. Hassner, Ron. “To Halve and to Hold: Conflicts over Sacred Space and the Problem of Indivisibility,” Security Studies (2003) 12(4): 1-33.

*Wednesday June 26th : field trip to Imperial War Museum in London*

Class 5: Power, Perception and Security (Thursday June 27th 10am-12pm)

Balance of power, the security dilemma and war


Balance of power and polarity

1. Waltz, Kenneth D. Theory of International Politics : 129-138, 161-76.

2. Mearsheimer, John J. "Back to the Future." International Security 15 (1990) : 13-19

3. Levy Jack S. and William R. Thompson. "Hegemonic Threats and Great Power Balancing in

Europe, 1495-2000." Security Studies (2005) 14, 1: 1-30.

Security dilemma, deterrence and the spiral model

1. Jervis, Robert. Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton University Press, 1976). Chap. 3.

2.  Glaser, Charles L. "The Security Dilemma Revisited." World Politics (1997) 50,1: 171-201.

Class 6: Other Explanations of Conflict (Monday July 1st 10am-12pm)

Cultural and psychological theories



Levy and Thompson. Chapters 4-5.

Cultural and ideational approaches

1. Huntington, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72 (1993): 22-49.

2. Legro, Jeffrey W. "Military Culture and Inadvertent Escalation in World War II." International Security (1994)18: 108-42.

Prospect theory and war

1. Levy, Jack S. "Loss Aversion, Framing Effects, and International Conflict." In Manus I. Midlarsky, ed., Handbook of War Studies II. (University of Michigan Press, 2000). 193-221.

Diversionary war

1. Richards, Diana et al., "Good Times, Bad Times, and the Diversionary Use of Force." Journal of Conflict Resolution (1993) 37: 504-35.

2. Oates, Amy. “Diversionary War and Argentina’s Invasion of the Falklands,” Security Studies (2006) 15(3): 431-63.


Part Three: Asymmetric Warfare 

Class 7: Civil War (Monday July 1st 3pm-5pm)

Distinguishing conventional warfare from civil wars


1. Levy and Thompson. Chapter 7.

2. Gray, Colin S. War. Peace and International Relations. Chapter 18.

3. Kalyvas, Stathis N. “‘New’ and ‘Old’ Civil Wars: A Valid Distinction?” World Politics  (2001) 54 (1): 99-118.

4. Kalyvas, Stathis N. “Civil Wars,” In Carles Boix and Susan Stokes (eds.). Oxford Handbook of Political Science (Oxford University Press, 2007). 416-434.



Class 8: Terrorism (Tuesday July 2nd 10am-12pm) 


1. Gray, Colin S. War. Peace and International Relations. Chapter 17.

2. Hoffman, Bruce. Inside Terrorism (Columbia University Press, 1998). 7-44.

3. Crenshaw, Martha. “Theories of Terrorism: Instrumental and Organizational Approaches.” Journal of Strategic Studies (1987) 10 (4): 13-31.

4. Gould Eric D. and Esteban F. Klor, “Does Terrorism Work?” The Quarterly Journal of Economics (2010): 1459-1464 and 1507-1510.

*Tuesday July 2nd 3pm-5pm Mid-term*


*Wednesday July 3rd: field trip to IISS in London* 


Class 9: Insurgencies (Thursday July 4th 10am-12pm)


1. Mao Tse-Tung. “On Problems of Strategy in the Guerrilla War against Japan.” (May 1938).

2. Mao Tse-Tung. “On Protracted War.” (May 1938).

3. Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (1964; republished 2006). Chapter 1: 1-10.

4. Kilcullen, David. The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars In The Midst Of A Big One (2009). Chapter 1: 1-38.

5. U.S. Army and Marine Corps, Counterinsurgency Field Manual No. 3-24 (2006). Chapter 1.

5. Arreguín-Toft, Ivan. “How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict.” International Security (2001) 26 (1): 93–128.

Class 10: Humanitarian Intervention (Monday July 8th 10am-12pm)

Military intervention and peacekeeping


Humanitarian intervention

1. Solarz, Stephen J. and Michael O'Hanlon, "Humanitarian Intervention: When is Force Justified?" Washington Quarterly (1997) 20: pp. 3-14.

2. Paris, Roland. “Human Security: Paradigm Shift or Hot Air?” International Security (2001) 26(2).

3. Evans, Gareth and Mohamed Sahnoun, “The Responsibility to Protect.” Foreign Affairs. November/December 2002.

4. Homans, Charles. “Responsibility to Protect: A Short History.” Foreign Policy. November 2011.


1. Fortna, Virginia Page. Does Peacekeeping Work? Shaping Belligerents' Choices after Civil War. (Princeton University Press, 2008).  Chapter 1.

War settlement

1. Kaufman, Chaim. “Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars.” International Security (1996): 136-175.

2. Edelstein, David. “Occupational Hazards: Why Military Occupations Succeed or Fail.” International Security (2004): 49-91.


Part Four : The Future Challenges of International Studies

 Class 11: Nuclear Warfare I (Monday July 8th 3pm-5pm)

Debates over nuclear proliferation and deterrence today


Nuclear proliferation

1. Gray, Colin S. War, Peace and International Relations. Chapter 15.

Optimist vs. pessimist debate

1. Waltz, Kenneth D. “The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: More May Better,” Adelphi Papers 171. London: International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1981.

2. Sagan, Scott. “The Perils of Proliferation: Organization Theory, Deterrence Theory, and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons.” International Security (1994): 66-107.

3. Kenneth, Waltz D. “Why Iran should get the Bomb: Nuclear Balancing Would Mean Stability.” Foreign Affairs. July/August 2012.


1. Jervis, Robert, “Deterrence Theory Revisited.” World Politics (1979) 31(2): 289-324.

2. Payne, Keith B. “The Fallacies of Cold War Deterrence and a New Direction.” Comparative Strategy (2003) 22(5): 411–428.

Nuclear proliferation

1. Albright, David and Corey Hinderstein. “Unraveling the A.Q.Khan and Future Proliferation Networks.” The Washington Quarterly (2005) 28(2): 111-128.

2. Rosen, Stephen P. “After Proliferation: What to Do If More States Go Nuclear.” Foreign Affairs. September/October 2006.

Class 12: Nuclear Warfare II (Tuesday July 9th 10am-12pm)

New nuclear threats and debates


Nuclear terrorism

1. Pluta, Anna M. and Peter D. Zimmerman. “Nuclear Terrorism: A Disheartening Dissent.” Survival (2006) 48:2: 55-70.

2. Talmadge, Caitlan. “Deterring a Nuclear 9/11.” The Washington Quarterly (2007) 30(2): 21-34.

3. Trager, Robert and Dessislava Zagorcheva. “Deterring Terrorism: It Can Be Done.” International Security (Winter 2005/06) 30(3): 87-123.

A nuclear free-world?

1. Shultz, George P., William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn. ‘Towards a Nuclear-Free World.’ Wall Street Journal. January 15 2008.

2. Kirkpatrick, Melanie (interview with James Schlesinger), “Why We Don’t Want a Nuclear-Free World.” The Wall Street Journal. July 13, 2009.

3. Mueller, John. “Think Again: Nuclear Weapons.” Foreign Policy. January/February 2010.

Class 13: Non-Traditional Security Threats (Tuesday July 9th 3pm-5pm)

Resource curse, environment, demography and geography


Resource curse

1. Dinar, Shlomi. “Water, Security, Conflict, and Cooperation.” SAIS Review (2002) 22(2): 229-253.

2. Basedau, Matthias and Jann Lay. “Resource Curse or Rentier Peace? The Ambiguous Effects of Oil Wealth and Oil Dependence on Violent Conflict.” Journal of Peace Research (2009) 46(6): 757-776.

Environmental security

1. Levy, Marc A. “Is the Environment a National Security Issue?” International Security (1995) 20(2): 35-62.

2. Clionadh, Raleigh and Henrik Urdal. “Climate Change, Environmental Degradation and Armed Conflict.” Political Geography (2007) 26(6): 674-694.


1.Urdal, Henrik. “A Clash of Generations? Youth Bulges and Political Violence.” International Studies Quarterly (2006) 50: 607-629.

2. Goldstone, Jack.“The New Population Bomb: Five Population Megatrends that will Shape the Global Future.” Foreign Affairs (2010).

*Wednesday July 10th: field trip to RUSI in London*

Class 14: Conclusions (Thursday July 11th 10am-12pm)

The future of warfare and security, review session


Levy and Thompson. Chapter 8.

Mueller, John.“War Has Almost Ceased to Exist: An Assessment.” Political Science Quarterly (2009) 124(2): 297-321.

Pinker, Steven, and Joshua Goldstein. “War really is going out of style.” New York Times. December 17 2011.

*Thursday July 11th 3pm-5pm Final*

V482 is in the following undergraduate majors. To find out how this fits into your specific degree, please see your academic advisor.