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The Power-Conflict Story explains patterns of behavior in major world rivalries since 1816. Kelly M. Kadera carefully lays out the dynamic connections between two rival nations' power relationship and their conflictual interactions with one another. Rivals accumulate power and use conflict as a method of reducing their opponent's power level. But conflict is costly because it invites reciprocation from the opponent who has similar motives. Applying the formal model that she has developed, Kadera makes some interesting and novel predictions about which types of rivals win and what strategies they use. The empirical record on national power levels and interstate conflict convincingly support these predictions. Examples include the rise of the United States as a world power and the corresponding fall of British hegemony near the turn of the last century; Germany's unsuccessful attempt to overtake Britain during the Second World War; and Russia's rivalry with China during the early 1900s.
One of the central contributions of the book's explanation of interstate rivalry is the integration of two opposing schools of thought, balance of power theory and power transition theory. This integration is accomplished by the author's dynamic formal model that emphasizes fluctuations in conflict behavior under different power relationships as well as shifts in power levels resulting from natural growth and resource depletion. The formal model and its analysis are presented in a conversational manner, making it accessible to the reader.
The Power-Conflict Story will appeal to students and scholars of international relations, world history, formal modeling, applied mathematics, numerical methods, and research methodology.
Winner: American Political Science Association's 2002 Conflict Processes Section Best Book Award
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