Between the revisionist state and the frontier state: Regional variations in state war-propensity

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Abstract. This article explains variations in state war-propensity. I introduce a new typology of state war-proneness based on four major types of states: revisionist, failed, frontier, and status quo. The major novel contribution of this essay is the argument that the combined effect of variations in the extent of success in state-building (strong or weak states) and nation-building (nationally congruent or incongruent) shapes the level and the type of state violence by producing different categories of states with regard to their war-propensity. Strong states but nationally incongruent generate revisionist states, which initiate aggressive wars. The combination of state strength and national congruence leads to a status quo state. Weakness and incongruence bring about civil wars and foreign intervention in ‘failed’ states. Weakness but congruence produce the ‘frontier state’ with boundary and territorial wars, but also with a reasonable likelihood of evolution of status quo orientation over time. I focus here on key examples of these types of states, especially from two regions: Iraq and Lebanon in a highly war-prone region - the post-World War II Middle East; and Argentina and Brazil in a more peaceful one, at least in the 20th century - South America, although these states experienced quite a number of wars in the 19th century. Why are some states peaceful while others experience numerous wars? In a recently major empirical study, Maoz documents the great variations in state (and also dyad) war-proneness.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobalising the Regional, Regionalising the Global
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9781139087339
ISBN (Print)9780521759885
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© British International Studies Association 2009.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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