In This Review

Principles of Global Security
Principles of Global Security
By John Steinbruner
Brookings Institution Press, 2000, 272 pp

An important account of the transforming global security landscape. Over the last decade, Steinbruner has advanced provocative ideas of "cooperative security," which builds collaborative ties between potential adversaries to provide reassurance and lower the risks of war as an alternative or supplement to deterrence. In this book, he argues that radical shifts in security threats now demand a thorough rethinking of security principles. Globalization, population growth, rising economic inequality, and the spread of new destructive technologies are fundamentally altering what societies must do to protect themselves. Steinbruner contends that these new threats stem less from fixed places and established states than from "distributed processes" -- i.e., the erosion of legal standards, the unanticipated interaction of deployed forces, and the emergence of dangerous pathogens. Although he spins out some grim scenarios of new-age global violence, he also suggests that the prospects for security hinge most on the traditional challenges of managing the American relationship with China and Russia. This thought-provoking book makes the reader ponder whether the cooperative security principles that guide American security relations with Europe and Japan could also apply to those great-power outcasts.