Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Asymmetric Conflicts

Asymmetric Conflicts
War Initiation by Weaker Powers

CAD$52.95 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: March 1994
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521466219

CAD$ 52.95 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

This title is not currently available for examination. However, if you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • This book asks why weaker powers so often engage in wars against stronger opponents. It examines six cases where this occurred in this century, including the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982. The key argument of deterrence theory is that the military superiority of a relatively strong power, coupled with a credible retaliatory threat, will prevent attack by challengers. This book seriously challenges this assumption, and has wide implications for the study of war, deterrence, diplomacy and strategy.

    • Asks why weaker powers sometimes attack stronger ones, a phenomenon neglected by scholars of international relations
    • Examines six case studies from this century, including Pearl Harbor, the Yom Kippur War and the Falklands invasion
    • Challenges the assumption of deterrence theory that greater military capability and the threat to use it will always prevent attack by rivals
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    " important contribution to the literature on the causes of war. Students of history and international politics should find the book accessible and provocative. Paul raises an important and timely issue that has received limited attention, and his contribution is certain to spark debate. The book serves as an excellent reminder that conflict processes are often complex and do not lend themselves to easy solutions." Martin Malin, Journal of International Affairs

    "...the case studies are well presented, and the argument clearly put." Foreign Affairs

    "Asymmetric Conflicts makes a valuable contribution to initiation theory by investigating a puzzling, yet recurring, phenomenon in international politics: the tendency of weak states to initiate war against stronger adversaries....[T]he case studies make a good read; they are structured around a consistent set of theoretically interesting questions and present a sensible understanding of historical events. Moreover, the author has conducted extensive research, including personal interviews with historians and participants....Paul's book studies a familiar question in a fresh light....[B]y bringing together a number of important hypotheses and carefully applying them to a specific set of cases, Paul's work advances our understanding of an issue vital to the study of foreign and security policy." Susan Peterson, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1994
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521466219
    • length: 264 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Theoretical Framework:
    1. Introduction: war initiation in international relations theory
    2. Explaining war initiation by weaker powers in asymmetric conflicts
    Part II. The Case Studies:
    3. The Japanese offensive against Russia, 1904
    4. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941
    5. The Chinese intervention in Korea, 1950
    6. The Pakistani offensive in Kashmir, 1965
    7. The Egyptian offensive in the Sinai, 1973
    8. The Argentine invasion of the Falklands/Malvinas, 1982
    9. Conclusion.

  • Author

    T. V. Paul, McGill University, Montréal

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.