From Confrontation to
AS MANY SCHOLARS HAVE RECOGNIZED, the international system has changed substantially enough to merit reconsidering fundamental ideas about power and security. This book is an addition to that literature; I suggest that power cannot be measured in military terms alone, that militaries do more than fight wars, and that nonstate actors increasingly challenge traditional understanding of national security. Because of this, international cooperation has become essential to advance and defend national interests.
In opposition to this view, critics identify single cases of states defying international norms, such as the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003, Israel's invasion of Lebanon in 2006, and Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008. But these wars are increasingly the exception. At the same time that international order was viewed as breaking down during the Bush years, states voluntarily submitted to strengthening international order as evidenced by the evolution of the World Trade Organization, the expansion of the European Union and NATO, and strengthening regional organizations such as the Caribbean Community and the Association of South East Asian States.
The United States has not used its power to slow international integration but in many cases has sponsored it. It views regional organizations as key partners and encourages the pluralization of international security issues. The emerging consensus on climate change, shared challenges of the global economic system, and dangers posed by transnational actors offer opportunities to improve interstate relations and international cooperation. The United States does not attempt to dictate resolution to these challenges but sees partnerships as prerequisites for international security. Admittedly, it did not get to this place easily. The change took failed bilateral attempts with North Korea, international outrage for U.S.dominated military operations in Iraq, and success from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations around the world. Still changing, the United States is attempting to use its military power differently from previous great powers. With few exceptions, the United States bolsters sovereignty through security assistance.