Smoke and Mirrors: Globalized Terrorism and the Illusion of Multilateral Security

By Frank P. Harvey

© 2004

The threat of terrorism has become a fact of life for American citizens and, by extension, an important issue for current and future U.S. governments. International relations are inevitably affected by this situation, yet allies of the United States have of late been decrying the Bush administration's move toward unilateralism and its sceptical attitude toward multilateral approaches to security.

In Smoke and Mirrors, Frank P. Harvey mounts a powerful case for American unilateralism by exposing the real costs, potential risks, and catastrophic failures of multilateral alternatives, that are rarely acknowledged by proponents. He addresses the relationship between globalization, terrorism, and unilateralism, and provides a systematic explanation for, and defence of, Washington's response to threats of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The reality of an increasingly fragile national security environment will impose tremendous pressure on Republican and Democratic leaders alike, and will compel American officials to prioritize safety, protection, and invulnerability above all else in an effort to become self-reliant in matters of security.

Harvey develops his arguments with evidence from two significant case studies: the American ballistic missile defence program and the 2003 war in Iraq. He argues that, as the costs and risks of relying exclusively on multilateralism increase, the logical, legal, strategic, and moral reasons for embracing only multilateral approaches to security are becoming more tenuous. The implications for Canada and Europe are obvious. As the U.S. becomes more threatened, the pressures that drive American unilateralism will clash with the foreign, economic, and security policies of other powers, including traditional allies, themselves motivated by a competing set of unilateral self-interests.

Smoke and Mirrors will compel critics of the Bush administration to move beyond the assumption that American foreign policies are temporary in nature. Indeed, the tensions caused by terrorism and proliferation will continue to shape Washington's threat perceptions and responses for decades. The book challenges critics to demonstrate the successes – as distinct from the promises – of multilateral security and to prove that their preferred alternative has achieved the victories that would justify a sweeping rejection of unilateralism.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 345 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.2in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP002184

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2004

    From: $44.85

    Regular Price: $69.00

    ISBN 9780802089489
  • PUBLISHED SEP 2004

    From: $52.00

    Regular Price: $80.00

Quick Overview

The book challenges critics to demonstrate the successes – as distinct from the promises – of multilateral security and to prove that their preferred alternative has achieved the victories that would justify a sweeping rejection of unilateralism.

Smoke and Mirrors: Globalized Terrorism and the Illusion of Multilateral Security

By Frank P. Harvey

© 2004

The threat of terrorism has become a fact of life for American citizens and, by extension, an important issue for current and future U.S. governments. International relations are inevitably affected by this situation, yet allies of the United States have of late been decrying the Bush administration's move toward unilateralism and its sceptical attitude toward multilateral approaches to security.

In Smoke and Mirrors, Frank P. Harvey mounts a powerful case for American unilateralism by exposing the real costs, potential risks, and catastrophic failures of multilateral alternatives, that are rarely acknowledged by proponents. He addresses the relationship between globalization, terrorism, and unilateralism, and provides a systematic explanation for, and defence of, Washington's response to threats of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The reality of an increasingly fragile national security environment will impose tremendous pressure on Republican and Democratic leaders alike, and will compel American officials to prioritize safety, protection, and invulnerability above all else in an effort to become self-reliant in matters of security.

Harvey develops his arguments with evidence from two significant case studies: the American ballistic missile defence program and the 2003 war in Iraq. He argues that, as the costs and risks of relying exclusively on multilateralism increase, the logical, legal, strategic, and moral reasons for embracing only multilateral approaches to security are becoming more tenuous. The implications for Canada and Europe are obvious. As the U.S. becomes more threatened, the pressures that drive American unilateralism will clash with the foreign, economic, and security policies of other powers, including traditional allies, themselves motivated by a competing set of unilateral self-interests.

Smoke and Mirrors will compel critics of the Bush administration to move beyond the assumption that American foreign policies are temporary in nature. Indeed, the tensions caused by terrorism and proliferation will continue to shape Washington's threat perceptions and responses for decades. The book challenges critics to demonstrate the successes – as distinct from the promises – of multilateral security and to prove that their preferred alternative has achieved the victories that would justify a sweeping rejection of unilateralism.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 345 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.2in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    'Skilfully weaving different strands into an engaging and provocative work, Frank Harvey conclusively demonstrates that as a strategy of conflict management, multilateralism is no more effective – and may indeed be less effective – than the alternatives, particularly U.S.-led unilateralism. A must-read for any serious student of international politics, Smoke and Mirrors is an enormously important book that will help structure debate in the field for years to come.'


    Andrew Richter, Department of Political Science, University of Windsor

    'With Smoke and Mirrors, Frank Harvey makes a valuable and persuasive attack on the dominant views that have guided Canadian foreign policy. These views are rarely, if ever, questioned in Canada, and never brought under close scrutiny. Based on excellent scholarship, this is a significant contribution. It is interesting, thoughtful, provocative, and sophisticated.'


    James Fergusson, Centre for Defence and Security Studies and Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba

    'In repudiating multilateralism as a panacea for dealing with global terrorism, Smoke and Mirrors is a book of high originality and creativity. Frank Harvey effectively explains the U.S. response to terrorism and proliferation after 9/11 and makes a clear and compelling case why all imperatives point toward U.S. unilateralism now and in the future. He complements this treatment with an analysis of policy in Canada, which is seen to have adopted multilateralism more for the sake of convenience than substantive value. This is a book that makes a lasting statement about the major security issues of our times.'


    Patrick James, Department of Political Science, University of Missouri
  • Author Information

    Frank P. Harvey is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Dalhousie University where he also holds the Eric Dennis Chair of Government and Politics.

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