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When Are Power Shifts Dangerous?: Military Strategy and Preventive War

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Authors
Lee, Dong Sun
Issue Date
2006-12
Publisher
Institute of International Affairs, Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University
Citation
Journal of International and Area Studies, Vol.13 No.2, pp. 53-71
Keywords
Power ShiftPreventive WarMilitary StrategyOffense-Defense BalanceMilitary PowerPower Transition
Abstract
This article explains why shifts in the balance of power lead to war in some cases, but not in others. I argue that the declining state’s military strategy is the key determinant of whether power shifts will result in war or pass peacefully. If the decliner has a maneuver strategy, then war is likely; if it has an attrition strategy, the power shift will pass peacefully. I test the plausibility of my theory and three prominent alternatives by taking a sample of twelve power shifts among great powers over the period 1860-1945 and establishing correlations between the indicators used by all four theories and the incidence in each case of war or peace. This article finds that for the large majority of the examined cases, the decliner’s military strategy correctly predicts the power shift’s political outcome
ISSN
1226-8550
Language
English
URI
http://hdl.handle.net/10371/96441
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Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원)Dept. of International Studies (국제학과)Journal of International and Area StudiesJournal of International and Area Studies vol.13 (2006)
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