Political Science | Strategic Rivalries (3 cr)
Y669 | 3451 | Thompson


Much of the conflict between states in world politics is generated by
feuding rivals such as France-Germany, the U.S.-U.S.S.R., Egypt-Israel,
India-Pakistan, Iraq-Iran, Greece-Turkey, Russia-China, Somalia-Ethiopia,
and Ecuador-Peru.  While there are a number of such rivalries in
international history, only a very small proportion of the possible dyads in
the international system (less than 5%) are actually in a rivalry mode.  Yet
they probably generate 80% of the trouble.  The theoretical implications of
these facts are numerous and possibly enormous.  We have largely ignored the
structures and processes of rivalry in explaining conflict.  We also have
ignored rivalry processes, including their end games, in explaining such
phenomena as cooperation, integration, regional orders, the democratic
peace, and the Cold War.  Accordingly, we need to know more about why
rivalries come about, escalate/deescalate, and end as an important subject
in its own right, as well as for its implications for our understanding of
related topics in international relations.
There are no appropriate texts in print yet.  The pertinent literature
remains relatively limited.  There is a great deal of room to get in on the
"ground floor" of this type of analysis.  Rivalries are or have been present
in all regions of the world.  They are susceptible to both quantitative and
qualitative analysis. Rivalry dynamics have implications for a wide variety
of topical interests (including all three of the IR emphases at Indiana -
conflict, foreign policy, and international political economy) and
interdisciplinary interests.  Consequently, there is something of potential
interest for practically everyone, regardless of one's own specific
interests.  Seminar participants will be expected to adopt two rivalries for
in-class reports and discussions of their dynamics, to read selected
articles on various theoretical dimensions of rivalry, and to prepare a
seminar paper on a rivalry topic to be negotiated with the instructor.