10-4and5 - I Richard Betts The New Threat of Mass...

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I. Richard Betts – The New Threat of Mass Destruction a. This is another “apocalyptic” article. Whether he’s right or wrong, he shares the view of the previous three authors that we face a deadly threat. Could it be that there is a systematic bias here – that people who don’t think it is as serious as this, don’t work on it, don’t write articles or books, or don’t write material that is interesting enough to publish? Is there anything to do about this problem? i. Systematic bias, and the failure to recognize that bias, can lead to consistent and routine error, which multiplies the problem as 1) policy decisions are based on inherently biased results, and 2) subsequent forecasts by third parties perpetuate the original mistake. The only plausible solution to the problem I could think of was to write a letter to the editor, an op-ed, or policy memo. b. No abstract – but quite soon in the article he lists his three basic points – what are they? Can you explain what each means in more detail? i. The roles of WMDs in international conflict are changing 1. Because WMDs are equalizers in contemporary times, it is no longer a status symbol in terms of great technology, but it is something that weak states are looking to use. 2. These weak states also put concern of biological and chemical weapons on the table ii. Deterrence and arms control are no longer as effective as they used to be (Cold War) because some new threats are not deterrable iii. The US must take new measures that might not be the most pleasing to its citizens (i.e. civil defense and violating civil liberties by profiling potential suspects based on race, etc.) c. “ . . . the most troubling conclusion for foreign policy as a whole is that reducing the odds of attacks in the United States might require pulling back from involvement in some foreign conflicts. American activism to guarantee international stability is, paradoxically, the prime source of American vulnerability.” What is he talking about here? Has his prediction here held up? What do you think about his suggestion? i. During the Cold War, it was necessary for the US to get involved and protect its foreign allies in order to protect itself. In a sense, there was a direct link between stability in the respective region and US security. Now, it is unnecessary for the US to involve itself in every foreign conflict because it has established itself as the world’s superpower and is no longer threatened by any other superpowers. Because the US has established itself as such, and continues to butt into everything, it has made itself a target because states or groups are frustrated that they are being stopped by the US.
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