Counter-Terrorism and Institutional Design
Review by Veronica M. KitchenDepartment of Political Science, University of Waterloo and Balsillie School ofInternational Affairs
North American Regional Security: A Trilateral Framework? By Richard J. Kilroy Jr., AbelardoRodrguez Sumano, and Todd S. Hataley. Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2013. 255 pp., $58.50hardcover (ISBN-13: 978-1-588-26854-9).
9/11 and the Design of Counterterrorism Institutions. By Michael Karlsson. Surrey: Ashgate,2012. 195 pp., $94.95 hardcover (ISBN-13: 978-1-409-43456-6).
These books address the question of the development of counter-terrorisminstitutions from opposite scales. 9/11 and the Design of Counterterrorism Institutionsis a microlevel investigation of counter-terrorism policy in Northern Europe inthe first weeks after 9/11. North American Regional Security, by contrast, looks atthe development of regional security institutions in North America at a macro-level, over the long term. Reviewing the two books together shows the differentconclusions that can be drawn from these disparate analyses, and how they con-tribute to the research program of understanding counter-terrorism institutions.The first months after 9/11 were characterized by an intensive period of insti-
tution building that, in some cases, constituted a significant restructuring of gov-ernment. Not surprisingly, much of the early analysis of this period was punditryrather than social science. With a decade of hindsight, however, political scien-tists have begun to use their theoretical tools to analyze the creation, structure,and functioning of those institutional and political changes. These books arepart of that research program, drawing on theories about institutional design(9/11 and the Design of Counterterrorism Institutions) and regional security complextheory (North American Regional Security). While it would be impossible to expectany single research project to incorporate both a micro- and a macroperspective,the insights from each could be fruitfully applied into the other in order to pro-vide a fuller perspective.Regional security complex theory, which Richard Kilroy, Abelardo Rodrguez
Sumano, and Todd Hataley use to analyze North American security, is part ofBuzan and Waevers attempt to further integrate the constructivist bent of theirsecuritization theory with the recognition that the regional, and the material,still matter (2003; see also Lake and Morgan 1997). They borrow Buzan andWaevers definition of a regional security complex as a set of units whose majorprocesses of securitization, desecuritization, or both are so interlinked that theirsecurity problems cannot reasonably be analyzed or resolved apart from oneanother (p. 19; see also Buzan and Waever 2003:44). Their goal is to under-stand what factors contribute to the establishment of a security complex, andwhat prompts it to change over time.Kilroy et al. begin their analysis with the region, not the complex. In this, they
more closely follow Lake and Morgans formulation, in which security complexesoverlap, and regional actors acknowledge the region-ness of the region, than
Kitchen, Veronica M. (2014) Counter-Terrorism and Institutional Design. International Studies Review,doi: 10.1111/misr.12113 2014 International Studies Association
International Studies Review (2014) 16, 169172
Buzan and Waevers, where security complexes do not overlap, and in whichthey explicitly warn against beginning from the construction of the region, ratherthan the patterns of amity and enmity (2003:48).1 It is, of course, reasonable toanalyze CanadianAmerican security relations in the absence of Mexican security;Canadian officials do not always take Mexican security into account when contem-plating North American security (and, indeed, usually prefer to negotiate securityagreements separately, as demonstrated in several of the examples cited in thisbook), although they do acknowledge the American preoccupation with its Mexi-can border. This was even truer in earlier iterations of the complex the authorsdescribe. If regional security complexes can overlap, what is the appropriate unitof analysis? Today, the North American regional security complex is clearest fromthe perspective of the United Statesand certainly, if it is a regional security com-plex, it is a centered one where the United States dominates the region (Buzanand Waever 2003:55). Kilroy et al. argue that regional security complexes havefluid boundaries, polarity, and patterns of amity and enmity, and that the changesin these factors over time can be explained by identity, institutions, and interests.The bulk of North American Regional Security is devoted to analyzing North Ameri-
can security from the birth of the United States to the present, explaining thegrowth of the regional security complex by showing how identities shape institu-tions and mediate interests. This overview renders the book useful for scholars ofNorth Americaparticularly those new to the study of the regionas well as forthose interested in advancing the research program of regional security com-plexes. They argue that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, North Amer-ica did not constitute a regional security complexalthough the argument couldcertainly be made that it was a complex defined by the patterns of enmity thatcharacterized the period of Manifest Destiny. Kilroy et al., as with other scholars ofsecurity complexes, tend to focus on the positive cases (regions defined by pat-terns of amity) rather than the negative ones; focusing on security complexes builton patterns of enmity would be a good way to advance the research program. Inthe twentieth century, however, the external threats of the Second World War pro-vided the catalyst for more positive relations between the North American states,with the United States at the center of the relationship. These were closer andmore institutionalized with Canada than with Mexico, a pattern that has continuedto the present day. Over time, Kilroy et al. argue, the security complex has devel-oped to an extent that it is now unreasonable to analyze the three states securityin isolation.The regional perspective is much less explicit in Michael Karlssons book,
although the case studies are all Northern European. Still, there are momentswhen it is clear that regional dynamics matter to explaining microlevel changes.Each state studied is an EU member or candidate, meaning that its membershipin the European security complex shapes institutional design;2 Karlsson capturesthis variable as international security orientation (p. 6). Each member state wascompelled to act by the European Unions Action Plan, and the institutionaldesign of the NATO members and candidate states (Denmark, Estonia, Lithua-nia, Latvia) is quite clearly influenced by their desire to show the United States(through the institutional mechanisms of NATO) that they were committed tothe War on Terror. Karlsson argues that these four states moved more quicklyfrom the extra-institutional guidance phase (where existing institutions wereused to take action against terrorism) to the creation of new institutions thandid the neutral states, Sweden and Finland (p. 156).
1Buzan and Waever do, clearly, see North America as a regional security complex, which makes their stricterdefinition problematicare Mexicos patterns of amity and enmity with central America not sufficient to constituteit as part of that security complex?
2See Waever and Buzan (2000) for a discussion of this security complex.
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Given Kilroy et al.s focus on the variants of securitization theory, it is curiousthat they did not draw on Buzan and Waevers more recent work on macrosecur-itizations. Macrosecuritizations are securitizations with referent objects above theregional level that order lower-level securitizations (Buzan and Waever2009:257). Drawing on Didier Bigo, Buzan and Waever argue that the global waron terror is a macrosecuritization that integrates lower-level securitizations byblurring the distinctions between police and military, and internal and external(Buzan and Waever 2009:267). The influence of macrosecuritizations in orderingsecurity relations in North America seems important during both the Cold Warand War on Terror periods, and looking at how these macrosecuritizations influ-enced the regional variables of interests, identity, and institutions would haveadded to their analysis.Karlssons 9/11 and the Design of Counterterrorism Institutions focuses on the
design and creation of counter-terrorism institutions in Northern Europe in thefirst three and a half months following 9/11. The detailed case studies will be ofinterest to scholars of Northern Europe, but also to those interested in institu-tional design. The data drawn from government documents, media reports, anda handful of interviews paint a comprehensive picture of the early response tothe terrorist attacks of September 2001. Karlsson hypothesizes that the variationin institutional response between this set of small, Northern democracies whichfaced a similar terrorist threat can be explained by the age of agencies, rules,and practices that have been established to deal with threats (especially physicalthreats) to state security, and by the states international security orientation,which ultimately boils down to its concern with impressing the United States andNATO (p. 6). The parameters of institutional design Karlsson considers includethe phasing of institutions (that is, when and how new institutions are created)(p. 12), and what sorts of rules and practices and behaviors will be institutional-ized (p. 9).Karlssons book is very well structured to allow the reader to easily compare
cases without getting lost in the detail of the case studies.3 Each chapter beginswith a descri