"Peer/Near-Peer Challenges to Strategic Stability: The Need to Securitize State Capacity" by Cynthia Buckley

Cynthia Buckley
Cynthia Buckley

Cynthia Buckley, Ralph Clem, and Erik Herron published "Peer/Near-Peer Challenges to Strategic Stability: The Need to Securitize State Capacity" in Present and Future Challenges to Maintaining Balance Between Global Cooperation and Competition. For the full article click here.

Abstract: "This chapter defines state capacity in the context of stabilization among state actors and why the state capacity-legitimacy-stability linkage is, in the first instance, tied to the geopolitical dynamic between/among states. We discuss the elements of state capacity (within the larger rubric of human security), both in terms of the state’s ability to extract resources from the population to sustain and defend itself (including financial and manpower), and the reciprocal need for the state to provide services to its citizens to ensure their loyalty. Our overarching working hypothesis is that, all other things being equal, more robust state capacity promotes sociopolitical resilience and less robust state capacity leads to instability, perhaps even enabling aggression from more powerful neighboring states. We also posit a more precise understanding of how state actors, especially peer/near-peer competitors, engage in a range of activities designed to undermine neighboring states' capacity, in what context these interventions are most effective, and when such action may be predictive of further interventions, up to and including kinetic warfare. Informed by ongoing research on three specific case studies, we assess "warning signs" of vulnerability to external influence to develop a predictive model of the effects of external intervention on state capacity. Finally, we suggest measures that might be taken by states (and which should be considered as part of the US Government’s national security planning) to consider state capacity as a key element of securitization, especially in vulnerable regions, among disaffected population sub-groups, and in post-conflict situations."

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