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Back to BasicsState Power in a Contemporary World$
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Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199970087

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199970087.001.0001

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Power Politics and the Powerless

Power Politics and the Powerless

(p.219) 11 Power Politics and the Powerless
Back to Basics

Arthur A. Stein

Oxford University Press

The core security concern for the United States, and its allies, consists of the troika of terrorism, failed states, and WMD. This chapter traces the emergence of this contemporary view of the security problem, and argues that this view is perplexing, given the dominant view of power politics and security. None of our models of international politics, including those that emphasize the role of power, can explain why the most powerful country in the international system would be preoccupied with a threat allegedly posed by states so weak that they cannot even project power within their own borders. Nor for that matter can those models explain why the totally powerless would attack the most powerful. By way of an explanation, the chapter delineates the implications of an age of vastly asymmetric power on the strategies of both the weakest and the most powerful.

Keywords:   state power, terrorism, failed states, weapons of mass destruction (WMD)

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