What does the blog’s title On Security mean?
The blog’s title is a reference to On War, the classic work by Prussian general and strategist Carl von Clausewitz. It is considered a foundational work in the field of security studies.
What is “security studies”?
That is an excellent question! Scholars disagree about this. From my perspective, security studies is a social scientific field of inquiry about the theory and implications of the use of force in international politics. Questions in the field include, for example: Why do wars occur? How do nuclear weapons influence international politics? How will climate change affect the prospects for international conflict? How does the ready availability of machine guns affect the prospects for intrastate violence? In the United States, security studies programs are often housed within the international relations subfield of political science, but this seems to be evolving as political science departments and methods move away from many of the core questions of the field.
What is the purpose of On Security?
I started On Security as a place to write about topics in security studies that interest me, that are relevant to my ongoing research projects, and that are salient in the news. My research focuses on American foreign policy, interstate coercion (the use of threats and inducements to change another state’s behavior), international relations theory, and signaling in conflict. In my current project, I am branching out to focus on British and French decision-making in the early years of World War II. Thus the content on the site reflects my research background and current interests, with a side of current events.
Why don’t you allow comments on the blog?
When I started On Security, I spent a lot of time weighing the pros and cons of allowing comments on this site. I follow several blogs on various topics, and I also frequent many news sites that allow comments, so I am familiar with the range of comments typical on blog posts. I realized that I rarely if ever learned anything new from reading blog comments and nor, does it seem, do most other people. The comments section often becomes an arena for people to fight over their previously held beliefs, without being bound by the same standards of accuracy and evidence that I strive to provide at On Security. The anonymity of online commenting also lends itself to the creation of a lot of very negative content. I lack the resources to adequately moderate comments, and thus I have decided not to offer the ability to comment on this platform. You are, of course, free to start a discussion on a social media outlet if you so choose, but I will not participate in such discussions.