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Richard Harknett in Austria:
Priority on International Security

Date: Jan. 23, 2002
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photo by: Lisa Ventre
Archive: Research News

Associate Professor of Political Science Richard Harknett is headed to Austria this spring on a Fulbright Fellowship.

Richard Harknett

Harknett, an expert on international relations and international security, will be spending spring quarter teaching international relations at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna, Austria. His visit will also include delivering the Austrian Fulbright lecture in March and a side trip at the invitation of the Portuguese Fulbright Commission to deliver two lectures in that country.

Over spring break last year, he was an invited guest of the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, where he made a series of lectures to the public and at universities about U.S. missile defense policy. He also met with Austrian foreign ministry and defense ministry officials, including the head of the Austrian arms control agency.

U.S. policy in pursuit of a national missile defense program has been a major point of attention in Harknett's most recent research. He was a contributing author with a chapter on global stability in a new text, "Rockets Red Glare: Missile Defense and World Politics." He also was co-editor of a book that came out in 1998, "The Absolute Weapon Revisited: Nuclear Arms and the Emerging International Order."

Harknett has been watching with interest over the last year as President George W. Bush pushes a strategy for developing a missile defense system.

If it proves technically feasible, Harknett supports the idea of missile defense. "Among the many threats that exist in the 21st century, offensive missiles with weapons of mass destruction is one requiring some attention," he said. "In this world of offense, there is a place for limited defense."

Those threats have been made more obvious by recent events, but a trick Harknett will keep a close eye on is how U.S. policy is shaped by the overall strategic relationship with other major states. Issues like the Russian reaction to the U.S. pullout from the 1972 ABM treaty will be in the forefront in the future, and experts like Harknett wonder how the balance will play out between the U.S. acting unilaterally or cooperatively. Those questions will also be of interest to Harknett's European hosts.

Harknett's Fulbright assignment wraps up at the end of June. Besides his faculty appointment, he also serves the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences' political science department as the director of academic programs.

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