The end of the Cold War seemed to augur the “end of history” and emergence of an international system led by the United States. Twenty years later, the international system is in flux as power diffuses away from the United States to other actors—state, supra-state, and sub-state alike. How this diffusion occurs will critically affect the course of international relations. Through projects on U.S., Asian, and European military policy and American grand strategy, SSP is at the forefront of scholarly efforts to understand and help manage the changing global distribution of power.
Just as the twentieth century was proclaimed “the American century,” many commentators today speak of the twenty-first century as “the Asian century.” Yet the Asian strategic landscape holds many potential dangers including nationalist rivalries, changes in the distribution of power, and WMD proliferation. With three full-time faculty studying Asian security alongside many graduate students and affiliates, SSP actively contributes to shaping policy and academic debates on Asia’s pressing security problems.
American policymakers routinely cite the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as the number one threat to U.S. national security. Recognizing the critical role of scholarship plays in making sound policy, SSP engages in wide-ranging research on why and how states acquire weapons of mass destrcution, how they manage them, and what the United States can do to mitigate the WMD threat.
Civil wars and ethnic conflicts resulted in more deaths over the last fifty years than traditional great power wars. Driven by tribal and sectarian conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, intra-state violence continues to make headlines around the globe. Members of the Security Studies Program lead the field in studying the causes of civil war and ethnic violence, along with the options for conflict management.