Brown Bag Seminar: Jeffrey Weber (İpek University)


Avoidance, Exploitation, and Rivalry Maintenance



(İpek University)
February 17, 2016  Wednesday  11:30   FASS 1081

Abstract: The literature on strategic conflict avoidance theory contends that rivals avoid democratic adversaries who are experiencing domestic unrest because they expect to be targeted if the adversary seeks a scapegoat for its problems. As valuable as this work has been, it reflects a one-sided search for a single mode of behavior: strategic avoidance. Hence, it cannot address when and to what extent international competitors will avoid a counterpart experiencing domestic unrest and when they will exploit that unrest. In contrast, I hypothesize that rivals are more likely to avoid doves and exploit hawks experiencing domestic political unrest. To test this, I introduce a measure of foreign policy dovishness for U.S. presidents and use this measure to analyze Iranian foreign policy behavior towards the United States from 1995 to 2014. I present a fractional error-correction model and estimate the short and long-run dynamics of quantities of interest. The results of this analysis strongly support this theoretical expectation. As such, the study highlights conditions that shape whether and when one side of a rivalry is willing to risk cooperation, thus raising the prospect of rapprochement between embittered rivals