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Air & Space Power Journal

Volume 08 Issue 1, Spring 2017

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The European Union, the Birth of American Airpower, Possibility and Peace Building, Measuring Security, and Economic Coercion

Rémy M. Mauduit
As usual, this issue of Air and Space Power Journal-Africa and Francophonie addresses diverse topics relevant to our time and its readers in 185 countries. This editorial serves as a guide to introduce the many topics covered in this edition. 


The European Union as a Model for its Neighbors From Dream to Nightmare?

Geoffrey Harris
In this article professor Geoffrey Harris postulates that the EU is facing serious challenges to its legitimacy, attractiveness and normative power, just as instability and threats to its stability and security are growing in its neighborhood. The problems of the eurozone have created tensions between the member states. Harris argues that Russian revisionism has not met with a durable collective response. Revolution and war in the Middle East and North Africa have left Europe apparently unable to influence events or handle the consequent humanitarian crisis with any conviction. The ideal of European integration has in fact faced increasing internal challenges since the time of the Maastricht Treaty, and in the decade since the last EU enlargement the attempt to establish a peaceful neighborhood has failed. How far do the deepening problems reflect a failure of leadership, or should the EU now abandon its image as a model for others and concentrate on its internal security and avoid trying to resolve the problems of others? In the decades after 1989 the European idea was attractive, waves of enlargement followed, and a neighborhood policy based on values and common interests was tried and failed. Harris ponders if the EU should now choose consolidation and self-defence over deepening and widening of the integration process. 

The Birth of American Airpower in World War I

Bert Frandsen, PhD
Although the Wright Brothers invented the airplane, a complacent United States fell far behind the warring European nations in military aviation, posits Dr. Bert Frandsen in his article. When Congress declared war on 6 April 1917, the American air force consisted of only a handful of aviators in the Aviation Section of the Army Signal Corps, equipped with a meager number of unarmed, and by European standards, obsolete planes. An American combat aviation arm did not exist. In contrast, the belligerents in Europe had achieved tremendous advances in military aviation, including the development of specialized aircraft for the missions of observation, bombardment, and pursuit. How did the United States create airpower upon the Great War? Professor Frandsen asserts that an important part can be told through the contributions of three key architects of American airpower: Raynal Bolling, Benjamin Foulois, and Billy Mitchell. These fathers of American airpower helped create a combat aviation arm on a par with the other branches of the Army. They harnessed public enthusiasm for airpower, developed the mobilization plans that turned recruits into aviation units, procured the airplanes, learned the operational art from the Airman's perspective, and provided a vision that inspired the future emergence of an independent air force and an airpower second to none. 

Possibility and Peacebuilding for Precarious Lives The Impact of Art, Culture, and Community

Ruthann K. Johansen, PhD
The pervasiveness of deadly force in twenty-first-century forms of warfare, terrorist attacks, and the displacement of millions of people fleeing violence makes peacebuilding essential for civilians and military personnel alike. Philosophical aesthetics can analyze the conditions that contribute to violence and perpetuate its acceptance as a reliable arbiter of conflict, hypothesizes Professor Ruthann Johansen in this article. Philosophical aesthetics can also enlarge the concept of possibility from limited alternative options or choices toward a philosophical and ethical reorientation to the world and others, thereby offering promising prospects for building peace in precarious times. The interdisciplinary fields of peace studies and peace research provide resources to assess the effects of extended violence on human beings and communities. The critical methods of literary and historical criticism investigate cultural values and ethics and encourage reconsideration of the conditions of our common life and increasingly global culture. Close examination of events in Iraq from 2003 to the present shows that the failures in Iraq following the ousting of Saddam Hussein, and perhaps in all conflicts, arise from the inability to enlarge the concept of possibility and to develop those capacities necessary to engage it: imagination, memory, the capacity to mourn, a commitment to beauty, and a shift in intellection from critique and political contest to collaborative investigation of shared concerns. The exercise of these capacities opens transformative space lying adjacent to or within the conflicts that render life precarious and presents peacemaking possibilities that political scientists and military experts do not entertain. 

Measuring Security Understanding State Capacity in Oil-Producing States

Joseph L. Derdzinski, PhD, Jackson Porreca
Dr. Joseph Derdzinski and Mr. Jackson Porreca are seeking to test state capacity as an indicator of resilience to external pressures in this article. As interest in Africa - more specifically African natural resources - has increased in recent years, state capacity might be the crucial factor in resisting or succumbing to exogenous threats. This contemporary interest in Africa by foreign actors, mainly China and the United States, is part of a strategic engagement to ensure long-term access to the region. China specifically has more opportunity to influence weak states to fuel its growth. Energy resources within states may be desirable targets for groups seeking to disrupt state governance as well as international markets, potentially facilitating conflict within the state. Using the single critical measure of state security capacity - homicide rates - this study's cases explore how this variable indicates the everyday experiences of policing in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. Among its conclusions, this paper analyzes the relationship between oil production and state capacity in this twenty-first-century "Great Game." 

Economic Coercion and Power Redistribution during Wartime

Rosella Cappella Zielinski, PhD
War redistributes power among states. While most attention is placed on the changes in relative power of the loser in a hegemonic war, overlooked are some of the most important changes happening within victorious alliances. In this article professor Rosella Cappella argues that this power redistribution does not take the form of the destruction of an ally's military forces but instead via the use of economic coercion. When a belligerent is unable to purchase necessary imports for the war effort, the state will have to engage in a loan from an ally. The creditor ally can use that loan to extract concessions resulting in the redistribution of power among states. Economic coercion has its limits. It only occurs when it does not damage the war fighting capability of the ally. Zielinski tests her argument by extreme and similar case selection. She compares the United States as the creditor to the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union during World War II. The findings suggest an unexplored element of power transition theory. Opportunities for states to shift the status quo may arise without forewarning. Moreover, shifts in the status quo can occur by exploiting conflict settings versus engaging in conflict itself. Article Summary

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