From the Editor

From Parameters,  Spring 2003, pp. 2-3.

In This Issue . . .

If there was ever any real doubt that uncertainty provides a distinctive character for international affairs, that doubt was erased a little less than two years ago. The terrorist events of 2001 and the resultant global war on terrorism focused our attention on the relationships that exist between nation-states and how those relationships are affected by nonstate actors such as al Qaeda. Everywhere we look we see the power and influence these organizations have exerted. Just as states act according to customary norms, so too do various nonstate actors. As the United States prepares for a second front in Iraq, the relationships between members of the international community become ever more critical. With this issue of Parameters we continue our examination of those relationships and interactions influencing nations in their efforts to establish and maintain peaceful, prosperous, and just societies.

Jeffery Record examines the major tenets of the current Administration’s security strategy and its approach to the use of force, the Bush Doctrine. Record presents an enlightening assessment of the doctrine’s strengths and weaknesses within the context of a prospective war with Iraq. He analyzes the Administration’s case against Iraq, determining “ by virtue of the combination of destructiveness and invulnerability to deterrence . . .  such a threat demands an unprecedented response.” He then presents five observations on the validity of the Bush Doctrine, concluding that the Administration suffers from a case of strategic myopia and that no matter how convincing the case is made for an attack on Iraq, preemption as a declaratory doctrine when used generically invites catastrophe.

Richard Halloran provides the first of four articles in the thematic feature “Asia on the Horizon.” His “Taiwan” describes why the confrontation across the Taiwan Strait holds the greatest potential for war between the United States and China. Halloran, a longtime Asia expert, presents subtle evidence to support his contention that the dispute over Taiwan is as dynamic and volatile as ever. He makes a convincing case for why China sees bringing Taiwan into the PRC as a crucial step in maintaining its influence over East Asia and in driving the United States from the Western Pacific.

Mohan Malik assesses the regional implications of the recent Indian-Pakistan crisis on China’s sphere of influence. Malik examines the religious, historical, and political roots of the India-Pakistan relationship to document Peking’s growing involvement. He adroitly concludes that a certain degree of tension in Kashmir and Pakistan’s ability to tie down Indian armed forces on the western frontiers are seen as enhancing China’s sense of security. Malik surmises that only time will tell whether the current war on terrorism will lead to another war, a clash of civilizations, or a nuclear jihad in South Asia. Either way, he predicts the next India-Pakistan war holds the potential for drawing the United States and China into a conflict neither desires.

Jing-dong Yuan continues on the theme of Sino-US relations with his assessment of the nature, evolution, and pitfalls associated with that relationship since the Tiananmen square incident in 1989. The author analyzes US and Chinese interests in developing and maintaining military ties. He then presents a detailed examination of factors that have influenced and continue to impact bilateral military relations. Yuan


concludes with a summary of his research and recommendations for the development of a more stable, pragmatic, and meaningful bilateral military relationship.

Homer T. Hodge concludes this feature with an insightful, sobering, and timely summary of North Korea’s military strategy. Hodge provides a concise review of the historical precedents underlying Pyongyang’s militarism and concludes, “North Korea’s military strategy is offensive and is designed to provide a military option to achieve reunification.” His analysis leaves little doubt in the reader’s mind that the ideological underpinnings and strategic culture of North Korea demand that the reunification of the peninsula remains the foremost strategic goal of the regime.

Since the events of 11 September 2001 the non-Muslim society in America and throughout the world has been exposed to a new word, “jihad.” Although the word has appeared widely in Western news media, few have a true understanding of its origin or meaning. Michael G. Knapp educates us with his article, “The Concept and Practice of Jihad in Islam.” Knapp provides the reader with a foundation of understanding built on the classical concept of jihad. He then expands his analysis to include jihad’s incorporation by radical ideologies and Muslim reform movements, including Islamic militants. The author explores the fallacies and inconsistencies in the doctrine of jihad by radical Islamic groups and determines that even though the broader constituency these groups are attempting to influence may not accept their methods, these radical groups will remain an active threat to Western interests throughout the world.

Rensselaer Lee provides insights into an issue surrounded by hyperbole and misunderstanding, the ability of Soviet successor states to monitor and control potentially dangerous nuclear assets. Lee believes there is a distinct possibility that weapons of mass destruction or weapons-usable materials in the former Soviet Union could be stolen and sold to terrorists or nations hostile to the United States. The author tells us it is simply a matter of supply and demand, with nuclear black marketeers actively establishing connections between likely end-users and would-be sellers. But even though the sources and the demand exist there is little evidence in the public arena to substantiate such trafficking. Lee warns not to be overly optimistic about this lack of evidence. Just because nothing bad has happened in the decade since the breakup of the Soviet Union does not mean we should not actively monitor those who would subvert nonproliferation efforts.

Tim Thomas explores the possibility of the Internet as a “cyberplanning” tool for terrorists. Based on evidence that the Internet was used by al Qaeda in its planning for 9/11 and recent military uses by various governments, Thomas believes the Internet is, in part, a digital menace. It provides terrorists (and governments) with anonymity, command and control resources, and a host of other measures to coordinate and integrate attack options. The author offers 16 measures that law enforcement agencies might consider in detecting terrorists’ methodologies on the Internet. He concludes that if law enforcement and government agencies “cyberplan” properly, we can counter the use of the Internet by cyberterrorists and hostile nations.

Our final article is Nader Elhefnawy’s assessment of the use of space for military purposes. In his “Four Myths about Space Power,” he debunks four dangerous myths that have supported the desire by some to make space a medium from which the United States will impose “Wilsonian international order” on the planet. Elhefnawy concludes that security should not be the sole consideration of US space policy, and America’s lead in space should be used to slow further militarization. — RHT   

Go to Spring issue Table of Contents.

Go to Parameters home page.

Reviewed 7 February 2003. Please send comments or corrections to