With the collapse of the Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s/ early 1990s it appeared that the international system could be on the threshold of an era of unprecedented peace and stability. Politicians, diplomats, and academics alike began to forecast the imminent establishment of a new world order, increasingly managed by democratic political institutions. These, it was believed, would develop within the context of an integrated international economic system based on the principles of the free market. 1 As this new world order emerged, so it was assumed that serious threats to international stability would decline commensurably.
However, the initial euphoria that was evoked by the end of the Cold War has now been replaced by a growing sense of unease that nonmilitary threats at the lower end of the conflict spectrum—the so-called grey area phenomena—may soon assume greater prominence. Such concern has been stimulated largely by the remarkable fluidity that now characterizes international politics in which it is no longer apparent exactly who can do what to whom and with what means. As Richard Latter observes, the establishment of a new global security structure may reduce interstate