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The Likelihood of Inter-State and Civil War in the Next Decade

Tensions between US and China and Russian Interference in the Baltic States


1. How likely is interstate war with more than 1,000 battle deaths between the United States and China in the next decade?


2. How likely is Russian military interference in any of the three Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, in the next five years, given that all three are NATO members?


3. How likely is civil war with more than 1,000 battle deaths between the Turkish government and Kurdish organizations in the next five years?


To answer any of these questions rely on the theories introduced by the lectures and readings for this module. Always justify your answer by referring to theories that we discussed in class. A very good essay will reference work that is not listed in the reading list (preferably academic writing – we will discuss some of the places you can look for these readings in upcoming sessions). I suggest the following structure for your essay:


• Start by stating your claim and giving a short summary of your argument. For example: “I argue that war between the United States and China is less (more) likely than during the Cold War because xyz...” Or: “I argue that Russian interference in the Baltics is (not) likely. I justify this prediction on the basis of xyz...” (about 200 words)


• Spend the next paragraph or two on introducing the reader to the general context of tensions b/w US/China or Russian interference in its near abroad. (about 300 words)


• State your argument by referring to the relevant literature and develop it by referencing other readings (at least five). Possibly compare to another historical case. If, for example you write on Russian interference, look for other cases of such interferences into states that were members of a military alliance. We will discuss multiple cases in class and in the tutorials. I also encourage you to read some of the newspapers and news sources that I mention in class. (about 1200 words)


• Argue why the weaknesses of your argument are not really weaknesses. For example: “Although some have critiqued deterrence theory for..., I hold that this critique is less applicable in the case of US and Chinese conflict for the following reasons...” (about 600 words)


• Conclude by summarizing your argument and suggesting what we would need to do to give an even better answer (about 200 words). Evaluation criteria:

Theoretical Background


• Follow formal criteria ! Cite correctly and coherently, e.g., in-text with a bibliography at the end of the paper. The bibliography does not count toward the overall word count. ! Cite five academic works not on the reading list; academic works are either published in academic journals such as the American Political Science Review or the Journal of Conflict Resolution or in academic books, for example, from Cambridge, Oxford, or Cornell University Press, Routledge, or Sage. If you are unsure what constitutes an academic article ask me or your tutor. ! Stay within the word limit (2500 +/- 250)


• Follow the suggested structure (see above)


• Demonstrate understanding of theories from class – apply theories from class to your cases


• Argue coherently – be critical; don't just take over other's views; weight competing views against one another and then argue why one perspective (theory) is more likely to apply than another; do not argue that both theories apply at the same time if underlying assumptions contradict one another; do not simply point to another historical case and say it should be similar; argue why it should be similar or different please ask that you follow all instructions. Since this is very important, I will also point out all the sources we went through in class. My degree is Politics and IR Week 1: How can we study international relations?


Topics: Rulers, interests, institutions, states and the interstate system Frieden, Jeffrey A, David A Lake, and Kenneth A Schultz. 2010. World Politics – Interests, Interactions, Institutions. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. Chs.1-2 PART I: CONFLICT Week 2: Realism – Why Do States Fight Wars?


Topics: Anarchy, Commitment Problems, Information Asymmetries, Emotions Reiter, Dan. 2003. “Exploring the Bargaining Model of War.” Perspectives on Politics 1(1): 27–43. (Read pages 27-30 only) Dafoe, Allan, and Devin Caughey. 2016. “Honor and War: Southern US Presidents and the Effects of Concern for Reputation.” World Politics 68(2): 341–381. (Read pages 341-358 only) Week 3: Liberalism – Why Don’t Democracies Fight Each Other?


Topics: Liberal Peace, Democratic Peace, Imperial Peace, Nuclear Peace Doyle, Michael W. "Liberalism and world politics." American Political Science Review 80, no. 4 (1986): 1151-1169. Rosato, Sebastian. "The flawed logic of democratic peace theory." American Political Science Review 97, no. 04 (2003): 585-602. Week 4: How Do International Institutions Influence War and Peace?


Topics: Military Alliances, Collective Security, Free-riding, Deterrence Leeds, Brett Ashley. 2003


a. “Alliance Reliability in Times of War: Explaining State Decisions to Violate Treaties.” International Organization 57(4): 801–827. 2003


b. “Do Alliances Deter Aggression? The Influence of Military Alliances on the Initiation of Militarized Interstate Disputes.” American Journal of Political Science 47(3): 427– 439. Week 5: Why Do States Experience Civil Wars?


Topics: Motivation of Rebels, State Weakness Fearon, James D., and David D. Laitin. 2003. “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War.” American Political Science Review 97(01): 75–90. Cederman, Lars-Erik, Kristian S. Gleditsch, and Halvard Buhaug. 2013. Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War. New York: Cambridge University Press. Ch.3 Week 6: Can the International Community Stop Civil Wars?


Topics: Violence, against civilians, genocide, and International Intervention Autesserre, Séverine. 2019. “The Crisis of Peacekeeping Why the UN Can’t End Wars.” Foreign Affairs 98(1). Hultman, Lisa, Jacob Kathman, and Megan Shannon. 2013. “United Nations Peacekeeping and Civilian Protection in Civil War.” American Journal of Political Science 57(4): 875–891.

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