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Dangerous Dyads

Stuart Bremer

Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1992, vol. 36, issue 2, 309-341

Abstract: Theoretical arguments and some empirical evidence suggest that war is more likely to occur between states that are geographically proximate, approximately equal in power, major powers, allied, undemocratic, economically advanced, and highly militarized than between those that are not. Bivariate analyses of these seven factors in relation to the onset of interstate war over all pairs of states in the period from 1816 to 1965 generally support these associations. However, multivariate analyses reveal some differences. In order of declining importance, the conditions that characterize a dangerous, war-prone dyad are: presence of contiguity, absence of alliance, absence of more advanced economy, absence of democratic polity, absence of overwhelming preponderance, and presence of major power. Taken together these findings suggest that our research priorities may be seriously distorted and that the idealist prescription for peace may be better than the realist one.

Date: 1992
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