Type of Document Dissertation Author Conrad, Justin URN etd-07072011-135602 Title Essays on Power, Resolve and International Conflict Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Political Science, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Mark Souva Committee Chair David A. Siegel Committee Member Will H. Moore Committee Member James P. Jones University Representative Keywords
- State-sponsored Terrorism
- International Security
- International Bargaining
- International Conflict
Date of Defense 2011-06-02 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation consists of three individual essays which examine the relationship between interstate power distributions, hostile interstate relationships, and international conflict.
Chapter 2 argues that strategic interstate relationships can affect the amount of terrorism that a state experiences, and should be considered along with 'traditional' determinants of terrorism, such as domestic institutional and macroeconomic variables. The study specifically looks at state sponsorship of terrorism, arguing that while we cannot reliably identify state sponsors of terror, we can indirectly observe relevant evidence of state sponsorship. To support this claim, the study examines the annual number of transnational terrorist attacks that occurred in all countries during the period 1975-2003. The results demonstrate that states involved in ongoing rivalries with other states are the victims of more terrorist attacks than states that are not involved in such hostile interstate relationships.
Chapter 3 argues that states are most likely to turn to sponsorship of foreign terrorist groups when they are unable to achieve their goals through conventional warfare. Unlike situations of power parity, where two states may both view their probability of success in armed conflict to be high, asymmetric power relationships typically lead at least one state to conclude it has a small chance of victory. In a such a scenario, a weaker state may consider sponsorship of terrorist attacks against a stronger state as an alternative to direct confrontation. The results indicate that dyads experience a greater number of transnational attacks when one state is significantly more powerful than the other state. Further, most of these attacks are executed against the stronger state, suggesting that state sponsorship of terrorism is a tool used by weak states against their stronger adversaries, especially when the probability of military retaliation is low.
Chapter 4 examines the conventional wisdom that the aggregate capabilities and credibility of military alliances influence a challengerís decision to attack another a state. This study argues that alliance capability and credibility matter, but not because they directly affect the mean of the distribution of conflict, as is commonly assumed. Instead, these alliance characteristics influence the probability of conflict primarily by affecting the uncertainty level of potential challengers. When two states and their respective allies have comparable levels of power, the challenger is more uncertain about its own expectation of victory; as a result, there is greater variance in conflict initiation under power parity. Similarly, when a target stateís alliance partners are generally non-democratic, the challenger is more uncertain about the credibility of the alliance, and there is greater variance in the challengerís decision to attack. The results of a heteroskedastic probit analysis suggest that, in both cases, greater variance ultimately leads to a greater probability of conflict.
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