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Journal of World History 13.1 (2002) 231-234



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Book Review

The Dynamics of Enduring Rivalries


The Dynamics of Enduring Rivalries. Edited by PAUL F. DIEHL. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1998 . Pp. 344 . $49 .95 (cloth); $17 .95 (paper).

A recent concern of international conflict research has been the study of enduring rivalries, that is, the conflict between the same set of states across time. This collection of essays represents an effort to promote this type of research agenda by investigating how enduring rivalries evolve over time and how they can escalate to military conflict. Gratefully, the book features an extensive introduction by the editor, who goes to considerable lengths to explain to the uninitiated the key notions that underlie the concept of enduring rivalries. He also alerts readers to the focus each individual study adopts. [End Page 231]

Paul Diehl singles out three important conceptual components of enduring rivalries: competitiveness, time, and spatial consistency. The first of these seems to be an almost self-evident ingredient of all enduring rivalries, since it typically reflects ideological or religious conflict or struggle over more tangible goods such as territory or natural resources. Here, though, competition is transformed into an enduring rivalry only if the threat of military force to settle differences is constant. The second component, time, is one probably most dear to historians, because it places competition in a historical context. All contributors to this volume assume that rivalries have a temporal component, one that builds on past competition and in turn affects both contemporary and future behavior. Put differently, real enduring rivalries have a past and generally persist for years. Lastly, the somewhat awkward sounding notion of "spatial consistency" suggests that enduring rivalries involve the same set of states. The historical record documents that most enduring rivalries have involved two states, but multilateral rivalries are not unknown. A case in point would be the cold-war rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States, which assumed a multinational character as both superpowers supervised two hostile alliance systems, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Treaty Organization.

This collection of essays is divided into two parts, each comprised of three separate contributions by different scholars. The first section focuses on the evolution of enduring rivalries while the second part deals with the interactions within rivalries. More specifically, in the first chapter Jack S. Levy and Salvatore Ali explore the evolution of the seventeenth-century Anglo-Dutch rivalry, in particular centering on factors that might explain how a peaceful, purely commercial competition between two maritime states transformed into a militarized conflict that resulted in three wars. The second chapter features a highly technical study by Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, who examines 712 rivalries spanning the years from 1816 to 1976 . Cioffi-Revilla's particular concern is how different historical conditions contribute to the stability or instability of enduring rivalries. The section concludes with a contribution by Gary Goertz and Paul F. Diehl. The authors study the common patterns of 45 rivalries between 1816 and 1976 , paying especially close attention to what they label the "volcano model," a classic view of international conflicts that postulates mounting competition and conflict that culminate in war.

The second section of the book opens with yet another highly technical and explicitly empirical study by Zeev Maoz and Ben D. Mor, based on a game-theoretic analysis of four rivalries: Egypt-Israel [End Page 232] (1948 -56 ), Israel-Syria (1948 -51 ), Chile-Argentina (1833 -1981 ), and France-Prussia (1830 -31 ). Maoz and More attempt to isolate specific factors that might explain why "behavior" changes throughout the duration of enduring rivalries. The last two chapters focus on the role of war in rivalries. In Chapter 5 , Daniel S. Geller examines 29 enduring power rivalries between major powers from 1816 to 1986 , investigating the relationship between the distribution of power among competing nations--as well as shifts in these distributions--and the outbreak of military conflict. In the concluding chapter John A. Vasquez takes a close look at rivalries prior to World War II in the...

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