The Diffusion of Military Power: Causes and Consequences for International Politics

By Michael C. Horowitz | Go to book overview
Save to active project

PREFACE

This book examines the spread of military power throughout the international system, explaining how variations in the diffusion of new military innovations influence international politics, especially the balance of power and warfare. States have a number of possible strategic choices when faced with military innovations, including adoption, offsetting or countering, forming alliances, and shifting toward neutrality. My theory, named adoption-capacity theory, argues that for any given innovation, the financial resources and organizational changes required for adoption govern the system-level distribution of responses and influence the choices of individual states.

As the cost per unit of the technological components of a military innovation increases and fewer commercial applications exist, the rate of adoption decreases and alternatives like forming alliances become more attractive. Similarly, if implementing an innovation requires large-scale organizational changes in recruitment, training, and war-fighting doctrine, fewer actors are likely to adopt it. While higher financial requirements generally mean adoption patterns will benefit preexisting wealthy and powerful states, however, higher organizational change requirements can handicap the wealthiest states, and upset the balance of power toward smaller and more nimble actors.

Using multiple methods ranging from large-n statistical tests to the in-depth analysis of primary sources, I test the theory on four cases: nuclear weapons, battlefleet warfare, carrier warfare, and suicide bombing. The results strongly support the theory, and the suicide-bombing case demonstrates its conceptual reach beyond state military organizations to explain a key trend in international politics. This chapter views suicide bombing as an innovation, and discusses how financial and organizational constraints influence terrorist groups' decisions. For example, the high organizational change requirements for adoption explain why older, previously successful terrorist groups like the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and the Basque Fatherland and Freedom Group (ETA) did not adopt suicide terrorism, but Al Qaeda did. The conclusion moves forward and examines the way potential information age shifts in the production of military power could influence the future of the international security environment for both state and nonstate actors, including the United States, China, and Al Qaeda.

I have been fortunate to receive tremendous support at every step along the way in the long process of writing this book, incurring a great number of intellectual debts. While any errors in this work are most certainly mine and mine alone, there would definitely have been many more without the help of a great number of people.

-ix-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Diffusion of Military Power: Causes and Consequences for International Politics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 273

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?