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Princeton Studies in International History and Politics

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War and Punishment

The Causes of War Termination and the First World War

H. E. Goemans

What makes wars drag on and why do they end when they do? Here H. E. Goemans brings theoretical rigor and empirical depth to a long-standing question of securities studies. He explores how various government leaders assess the cost of war in terms of domestic politics and their own postwar fates. Goemans first develops the argument that two sides will wage war until both gain sufficient knowledge of the other's strengths and weaknesses so as to agree on the probable outcome of continued war. Yet the incentives that motivate leaders to then terminate war, Goemans maintains, can vary greatly depending on the type of government they represent. The author looks at democracies, dictatorships, and mixed regimes and compares the willingness among leaders to back out of wars or risk the costs of continued warfare.

Democracies, according to Goemans, will prefer to withdraw quickly from a war they are not winning in order to appease the populace. Autocracies will do likewise so as not to be overthrown by their internal enemies. Mixed regimes, which are made up of several competing groups and which exclude a substantial proportion of the people from access to power, will likely see little risk in continuing a losing war in the hope of turning the tide. Goemans explores the conditions and the reasoning behind this "gamble for resurrection" as well as other strategies, using rational choice theory, statistical analysis, and detailed case studies of Germany, Britain, France, and Russia during World War I. In so doing, he offers a new perspective of the Great War that integrates domestic politics, international politics, and battlefield developments.

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We All Lost the Cold War

Richard Ned Lebow

Drawing on recently declassified documents and extensive interviews with Soviet and American policy-makers, among them several important figures speaking for public record for the first time, Ned Lebow and Janice Stein cast new light on the effect of nuclear threats in two of the tensest moments of the Cold War: the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and the confrontations arising out of the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. They conclude that the strategy of deterrence prolonged rather than ended the conflict between the superpowers.

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Worse Than a Monolith

Alliance Politics and Problems of Coercive Diplomacy in Asia

Thomas J. Christensen

In brute-force struggles for survival, such as the two World Wars, disorganization and divisions within an enemy alliance are to one's own advantage. However, most international security politics involve coercive diplomacy and negotiations short of all-out war. Worse Than a Monolith demonstrates that when states are engaged in coercive diplomacy--combining threats and assurances to influence the behavior of real or potential adversaries--divisions, rivalries, and lack of coordination within the opposing camp often make it more difficult to prevent the onset of conflict, to prevent existing conflicts from escalating, and to negotiate the end to those conflicts promptly. Focusing on relations between the Communist and anti-Communist alliances in Asia during the Cold War, Thomas Christensen explores how internal divisions and lack of cohesion in the two alliances complicated and undercut coercive diplomacy by sending confusing signals about strength, resolve, and intent. In the case of the Communist camp, internal mistrust and rivalries catalyzed the movement's aggressiveness in ways that we would not have expected from a more cohesive movement under Moscow's clear control.

Reviewing newly available archival material, Christensen examines the instability in relations across the Asian Cold War divide, and sheds new light on the Korean and Vietnam wars.

While recognizing clear differences between the Cold War and post-Cold War environments, he investigates how efforts to adjust burden-sharing roles among the United States and its Asian security partners have complicated U.S.-China security relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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