A comparative test of theories of polarity and conflict

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University of Alabama Libraries

Works on the relationship between polarity and war in the past produce inconsistent, sometimes, self-conflicting conclusions. This is caused by the lack of a comparable way of conceptualizing and defining polarity and the lack of a common gauge for estimating that relationship. This research addresses these methodological shortcomings and explores the linkage between the international system of the major powers and dyadic conflict by conducting a comparative study of polarity and war. It tests the targeted relationship using: 1) a number of quantifiable polarity concepts proposed by several representative scholars, including John Mearsheimer, Jack Levy, Charles Kegley and Gregory Raymond, and George Modelski; 2) a common research design that has incorporated the Kantian variables and has drawn the essence from the latest progress in this discipline, and 3) an objective method of calculating a continuous measure of the polarity among the great powers. Such a research design can compare the impact of various types of polarity on the onset of wars while controlling for both realist and Kantian influences. It provides a broad prospective on the connection between polarity and war. This study confirms the existence of a connection between polarity and war of unipolarity > bipolarity > multipolarity in order of peacefulness.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
International relations, Political Science, International Law and Relations, Political Science, General