Strategy and Defense Policy
Politics G53.2701: Spring 2003
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita
Office Hours: Monday 10-12 and whenever I am in my office. Feel free to stop by.
This course explores theories about conditions that promote cooperation or conflict between states. The main objective is to identify strategies that promote cooperative solutions to international disputes and to evaluate those strategies in terms of their historical effectiveness. We examine both external and internal factors that influence relations between states. The primary emphasis is on the application of rigorous theoretic models and evidence as tools for assessing strategy between nations. I do not assume or require great facility with mathematics, but I do assume students have a willingness to use mathematical reasoning. Seminar sessions will build on and expand beyond the required readings.
Students are encouraged to prepare one-page to two-page papers every week. Although not required each week, I do require at least four such short papers from each student spread across the semester. These very short papers should present a quick and dirty test of a hypothesis in the next week¹s reading or a related hypothesis formulated by the student. Alternatively, short papers can develop a theoretical argument that leads to a new proposition that could be tested in a subsequent short paper. The short papers serve as a useful stimulus for identifying a topic for the semester research paper. Students are required to prepare a research paper of up to 35 pages (i.e., an appropriate length for submission to a peer-reviewed journal) that develops and/or tests one or more hypotheses about international cooperation or conflict. Of course the paper can be shorter. I will be happy to discuss the paper with each student and will happily read preliminary drafts or sections. Research papers are due on April 28th with the expectation that students will present their research findings during the final class session, on May 5th. I do not object to giving an incomplete if the paper is not finished by the end of the semester provided that there is sufficient progress on the paper that the student can present core theoretical ideas or data analysis by May 5th.
The core readings for the course are: George Downs and David Rocke, Optimal Imperfection; Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and David Lalman, War and Reason; and Douglas Lemke, Regions of War and Peace. In addition, we read a number of journal articles and portions of other books. Everything should be read with an eye on identifying core assumptions, the logical link between assumptions and hypotheses and evidence. Author names followed by * indicate that the article can be downloaded from jstor. Articles or author names followed by # indicate that the immediately preceding name (author or publication) has a web site that contains a downloadable version of the article. Several chapters are assigned from Bueno de Mesquita, Smith, Siverson, and Morrow, The Logic of Political Survival. A downloadable version is available at The login is logic and the password is afsk. I recommend that you not print the file as it is about 1,000 pages long.
January 27: Intro: Modeling and Rationality
Required Reading: Downs and Rocke, chapters 1 and 2; Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, ³The Benefits of a Social-Scientific Approach to Studying International Affairs,² in Ngaire Woods, Explaining International Relations Since 1945, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Suggested Readings: Robert Jackman, "Rationality and Political Participation." American Journal of Political Science, 1993; Frank Zagare, "Rationality and Deterrence," World Politics 1990; Peter Ordeshook, Game Theory and Political Theory, Ch. 1; Riker and Ordeshook, Introduction to Positive Political Theory, ch. 2.
Februar 3: Thinking About War: Structural Views
Required Reading: Lemke, chapters 1-3;Thomas Volgy and Lawrence Imwalle, ³Two Faces of Hegemonic Strength: Structural Versus Relational Capabilities,² International Interactions 2000.
Suggested Readings: Edward Vose Gulick, Europe¹s Classical Balance of Power; Colin Elman and John Vasquez, eds. Realism and the Balancing of Power: A New Debate.
February 10: Thinking About War: A Formalization
Required Reading: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and David Lalman, War and Reason, Chaps. 2-3; James Fearon*, ³Rationalist Explanations for War,² International Organization (Summer 1995); D. Scott Bennet and Allan C. Stam, ³A Universal Test of an Expected Utility Theory of War,² International Studies Quarterly (September 2000); D. Scott Bennett# and Matthew Rupert, "Improving Measures of Expected Utility: An Empirical Comparison Of Using S Or tB In The Study Of International Conflict."
Suggested Readings: James Morrow, "A Continuous-Outcome Expected Utility Theory of War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1985; Curtis Signorino,²Strategic Interaction and the Statistical Analysis of International Conflict,² American Political Science Review 1998; Alastair Smith, ³A Summary of Political Selection: The Effect of Strategic Choice on the Escalation of International Crises,² American Journal of Political Science 1998.
February 17: Holiday
Required Readings: Emerson Niou, Peter Ordeshook and Gregory Rose, Balance of Power, chs. 2-4; Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman, Chapter 6; Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman*, ³Empirical Support for Systemic and Dyadic Explanations of International Conflict,² World Politics October 1988.
March 3: . . . Institutions: War Outcomes
James Fearon*, ³Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes,² American Political Science Review 1994; Dan Reiter and Allan Stam, Democracies at War, Princeton 2002, chapters 2-4; Peter Partell and Glenn Palmer, ³Audience Costs and Interstate Crises: An Empirical Assessment of Fearon¹s Model of Dispute Outcomes,² International Studies Quarterly, June 1999; Kenneth Schultz, ³Looking for Audience Costs,²Journal of Conflict Resolution February 2001; Christopher Gelpi# and Michael Griesdorf, ³Winners or Losers?: Democracies in International Crises, 1918-1994,² American Political Science Review 2001.
March 10: Power Transition/Hegemonic War and Appeasement
Required Readings: Woosang Kim and Morrow*, "When do Shifts in Power Lead to War?" American Journal of Political Science, 1992; Robert Powell, ³Uncertainty, Shifting Power, and Appeasement,² In the Shadow of Power, Chapter 4; Lemke, chapters 4-6.
Suggested Readings: Organski and Kugler, The War Ledger; Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics; Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman, War and Reason chs. 7.
March 17: Spring Recess
March 24: Alliances: Reliable or Unreliable Cooperation
Required Readings: Morrow*, "Alliances and Asymmetry," American Journal of Political Science, 1991; Alastair Smith*, "Alliance Formation and War," International Studies Quarterly 1995; Michael Altfeld and Bueno de Mesquita*, ³Choosing Sides in Wars,² International Studies Quarterly March 1979; Randolph Siverson and Joel King*, ³Attributes of National Alliance Membership and War Participation,² American Journal of Political Science, 1980.
Suggested Readings: Michael Altfeld, "The Decision to Ally," Western Political Quarterly, 1984; Lalman and David Newman, "The Enhancement of National Security through the Formation of Alliances," International Interactions, 1991; Bruce Berkowitz, "Realignment in ITO's," International Studies Quarterly, 1983; Morrow, "Arms Versus Allies," International Organization 1993.
March 31: Democratic Peace: Constraints or Norms or Both
Required Reading: Zeev Maoz and Bruce Russett*, "Normative and Structural Causes of Democratic Peace, 1946-1986." American Political Science Review, 1993; Bueno de Mesquita, Smith, Siverson and Morrow, chapter 6 of The Logic of Political Survival; Ahmer Tarar, ³International Bargaining with Two-Sided Domestic Constraints,² Journal of Conflict Resolution 2001; Kenneth Schultz*, ³Domestic Opposition and Signaling in International Crises,² American Political Science Review (December 1998).
April 7: Other Democratic Peace Perspectives
Required Readings: Erik Gartzke, ³Preferences and the Democratic Peace,² International Studies Quarterly (June 2000); Lars-Erik Cederman and Mohan Penubarti Rao, ³The Dynamics of the Democratic Peace,² Journal of Conflict Resolution December 2001, pp. 818-833; Kelly Kadera, Mark Crescenzi# and Megan Shannon, ³Democratic Survival, Peace, and War in the International System,² American Journal of Political Science 2003; Patricia Weitsman and George Shambaugh, ³International Systems, Domestic Structures, and Risk,² Journal of Peace Research May 2002.
April 14-21: Domestic Institutions, Political Survival, and War
Required Reading: Christopher Gelpi and Joseph Grieco, ³Democracy, Leadership Tenure, and the Targeting of Militarized Challenges,² Journal of Conflict Resolution December, 2001; Downs and Rocke, chapter 3; Bueno de Mesquita et al., The Logic of Political Survival, chapters 8-9; Hein E. Goemans ³Fighting for Survival: The Fate of Leaders and the Duration of War,² Journal of Conflict Resolution (October 2000).
April 28: Forecasting Political Events
Required Readings: Bueno de Mesquita, Predicting Politics, 2002; James L. Ray and Bruce Russett*, ³The Future as Arbiter of Theoretical Controversies: Predictions, Explanations and the End of the Cold War,² British Journal of Political Science July 1996; Stanley Feder, ³Forecasting for Policy Making in the Post-Cold War Period² Annual Review of Political Science#, 2002; Bueno de Mesquita, Rose McDermott and Emily Cope, ³The Expected Prospects for Peace in Northern Ireland,² International Interactions 2001; Jeffrey Berejikian, ³A Cognitive Theory of Deterrence,² Journal of Peace Research, March 2002.
Suggested Readings: Robert Putnam, "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics," International Organization, 1988; Bueno de Mesquita and Frans Stokman, European Community Decision Making chs. 4,5,9, 10; Jacek Kugler and Yi Feng, editors, ³The Expected Utility Approach to Policy Decision Making: Assessments, Forecasts and Strategies,² International Interactions Special Issue, No. 3-4, 1997;
May 5: Conclusions