This chapter introduces the argument of the book, identifies the limitations of previous scholarship, describes the research design, and provides the road map for the rest of the book. The chapter discusses the main theme running through the book: transnational ideologies may present a greater and more immediate national security threat than shifts in the military balance of power. This argument has two main components. First, ideology, or ideational power, triggers threat perception and affects state policy because it can undermine domestic political stability and regime survival in another state. Second, states engage in ideational balancing in response to an ideological threat. The analytical framework for understanding strategic interaction in this realm of international politics is called an “ideational security dilemma.”
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