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Why are some regions prone to war while others remain at peace? What conditions cause regions to move from peace to war and vice versa? This book offers a novel theoretical explanation for the differences in levels of and transitions between war and peace. The author distinguishes between "hot" and "cold" outcomes, depending on intensity of the war or the peace, and then uses three key concepts (state, nation, and the international system) to argue that it is the specific balance between states and nations in different regions that determines the hot or warm outcomes: the lower the balance, the higher the war proneness of the region, while the higher the balance, the warmer the peace. The international systematic factors, for their part, affect only the cold outcomes of cold war and cold peace. The theory of regional war and peace developed in this book is examined through case-studies of the post-1945 Middle East, the Balkans and South America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and post-1945 Western Europe. It uses comparative data from all regions and concludes by proposing ideas on how to promote peace in war-torn regions.Read more
- Introduces a new theory of a key issue in international relations - war and peace
- Has a special focus on the regional level, overlooked until recently in IR despite its great importance and relevance
- Contains detailed data on the causes of war in the post-1945 era and of the state-to-nation balance in different regions
Reviews & endorsements
"Benjamin Miller's States, Nations and the Great Powers is a superb book. It advances the important thesis that to understand the prospects for peace or war in a given region, we need to examine the interaction between the political conditions that obtain within the region and the actions of great powers from outside the region. Miller's book is masterful in its integration of international relations theory and the comparative method. It will be of interest to a wide range of readers, from undergraduates and graduate students to scholars, and from policy-makers to journalists to citizens, indeed to anyone who is interested in peace and security in the modern era."
Joseph M. Grieco, Department of Political Science, Duke UniversitySee more reviews
"This substantial and intricate book embeds a traditional realist analysis of war and peace in a novel regional framework highlighting variations in the revisionist orientation and political incoherence of regional states. The Middle East and the Balkans, as well as Latin America and Western Europe, provide the empirical material for this careful and challenging argument. Miller adds important new insights to the analysis of regions in world politics."
Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University
"States, Nations and the Great Powers is an ambitious and original work of scholarship, which seeks to explain regional war and peace by focusing on whether regional political boundaries reflect national aspirations. Miller argues convincingly that both the impact of external great powers and the relevance of realist and liberal theory are conditional on this 'state to nation balance.'"
Robert O. Keohane, Professor of International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
"The striking variation in the propensity toward war and peace in the different regions of the world is enormously important for our understanding of international conflict but neglected by most conflict analysts. By focusing on the degree of congruence between the territorial boundaries of states and the less formal boundaries of peoples, Miller provides a powerful explanation for this intriguing puzzle."
Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors' Professor, Rutgers University
"A rich and rewarding study of the causes and cures of regional conflicts."
Ken Waltz, Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University
"Benjamin Miller has written an ambitious book explaining why some regions of the world are more peaceful than others. His claim that it is due to a combination of factors relating to nationalism and great-power competition is innovative as well as compelling. This important book will be widely read and widely cited."
John J. Mearsheimer, R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago
“[A] major contribution to the literature on war and peace…On the basis of his very elegant and economic theoretical framework, Miller proceeds to provide extremely compelling explanatory accounts of the changing patterns of war and peace in the Middle East since the start of the Cold War as well as in the Balkans from early in the 19th century through to the present day.”
Richard Little, University of Bristol, International Journal
“Debates about the causes of war have tended to focus on conflict among the great powers and the global balance of power. This important study asserts that the real puzzles of war and peace exist on a lesser scale within regions… To explain these variations, the book offers an intriguing theory about the ‘fit’ between states and nations. Marshaling a mountain of statistical and historical evidence, Miller argues that peace is most likely to exist where there is ‘congruence’ between the underlying national aspirations and political identifications and the formal political-territorial borders. Where states and nations are not aligned, conflict lurks. Miller shows convincingly that conditions of anarchy and power competition alone are rarely a trigger for war… In an interesting chapter, Miller looks at the nineteenth-century colonial wars in Latin America and the ways in which nation building and regional territorial settlements removed the sources of war. Although highly theoretical, the book is full of useful insights about potential pathways toward regional peacemaking, particularly in regard to the Middle East.”
G. John Ikenberry, Foreign Affairs
“Benjamin Miller’s fine volume makes several major contributions and corrections to the classical literature on war and peace…Miller’s theory represents a major and novel approach to the classical war and peace puzzles and significantly addresses the shortcomings of other approaches…this book should be required reading for all students of war and peace.”
Kal J. Holsti, Centre for International Relations, University of British Columbia, International Studies Review
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- Date Published: September 2007
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521691611
- length: 526 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 150 x 33 mm
- weight: 0.7kg
- contains: 8 b/w illus. 22 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Why some regions are peaceful and others are not
2. A theory of regional war and peace
3. States, nations and war
4. Explaining the war-proneness of the Middle East in a comparative perspective
5. The great powers and war and peace in the Middle East
6. War and peace in the Balkans: states, nations and great powers
7. The state-to-nation balance and the emergence of peace in South America during the twentieth century
8. The emergence of high-level peace in post-1945 Western Europe: Nationalism, democracy, hegemony and regional integration
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