While 🇮🇳-🇨🇳border clash is garnering attention, disputes over territory are widespread.

With all due respect to the "Democratic Peace", the true "closest thing to an empirical law" in international politics is "Territorial Dispute -> War"

[THREAD] https://twitter.com/drkristawiegand/status/1273242433904619520
What do we mean by a territorial dispute? 🇮🇳 offers several examples (which is perhaps why @pstanpolitics has a popular class on the international security of South Asia)
Such disputes have long garnered the attention of international relations scholars.


Think back to the territorial disputes that existed in Europe on the verge of World War I, such as Alsace-Lorraine
As the discipline began to collect systematic data on war, disputes over territory became an immediate focus.

In particular, Richardson (1960) found that the # of frontiers a nation possessed was linked to its participation in war.
They found that the "borders->war" relationship generally holds (though they do add some qualifications, such as colonial borders being a major driver of Richardson's findings)
In the early 1980s, Paul Diehl took the analysis further by evaluating shared borders between major power rival "dyads" (i.e. state-to-state pairs)

Yep, "dyads" matter!

More precisely, Diehl's finding is pretty strong (underlined in red): unlikely to have a war if their is no shared border
Subsequent work sought to refine the analysis by looking at actual disputes over territory (i.e. when the two states didn't just share a border, but had disagreement over who possessed the territory)
Holsti coded the various issues that led states to go to war. Most notably, he found that territorial issues were the main culprit (though, of course, there is some selection on the dependent variable here)
Other notable examples include the work of Vasquez, with two @JPR_journal papers...
The second Vasquez paper uses data on the "revisionist goals" of states and finds that "territorial goals" are DRAMATICALLY likely to lead to war.
A key contribution was the data that Huth and Allee collected on territorial disputes from 1919 to 1995.
For the next twenty years, research made use of the Huth and Allee data to continue validating and extending the territory-war link.

Examples include...
Still other scholars sought to reconsider and re-collect the data on territorial disputes.

Examples include...
The state of this massive literature was summarized well Monica Duffy Toft in a @JPR_journal Anniversary piece: "What is clear is that territory has been and will continue to be a core issue in explaining the escalation and onset of war" https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0022343313515695
In sum, if there is one thing that scholars of international politics know, it's that borders and land are prime sources (if not THE prime source) of war.

The 🇮🇳-🇨🇳 dispute is just the latest example of this more general "empirical law" of international politics.

You can follow @ProfPaulPoast.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled: