International Interactions is a peer-reviewed journal with direct relevance to a wide and interdisciplinary audience. Readers include political scientists, economists, historians, mathematicians, statisticians, anthropologists, sociologists, and other social science researchers with an interest in international relations, as well as informed professionals in business and government.
This newly launched blog initiative aims to synthesize scholarly findings for a practitioner audience. Each blog post describes the policy takeaways of a recent II article, in the authors' own words, and is accompanied by a period of free access to the original published article. This is an exciting new opportunity to share the important scholarly work of the journal with engaged policymakers who can apply this research to current issues and challenges.
Maritime Conflict and Alliance Politics
Hayoun Jessie Ryou-Ellison is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA. Learn more about Hayoun here.
Under what conditions do states engage in maritime provocations?
News of international maritime disputes – such as those between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea, Britain and Spain over Gibraltar, Japan and Russia over the southern Kuril Islands, and between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors in the South China Sea – demonstrate that the management of maritime claims is an important issue in the study of interstate conflict. Worldwide, the rise in the number of maritime disputes has increased sharply over the past century.
Since World War II, most contested maritime claims have been associated with low-level conflicts, mainly shows of force, and have not resulted in fatalities. However, it is puzzling that many competing claims exist among states which are alliance partners.
In our paper, we argue states manage such conflicts in distinct ways. Specifically, we contend that, rather than primarily relying on the use of force, challenger states prefer to manage their maritime claims by engaging in low-level violations. These violations (such as sending their merchant marine, patrol boats, or coast guard ships into disputed waters), are what we call low-level maritime provocations. States might be motivated to engage in this kind of low-level conflict because, if the defending state fails to protest, this can, over time, lead to a legal claim as customary international law binds state behavior.
Joint membership in highly institutionalized security organizations, namely defensive alliances, provides aggrieved challenger states with the opportunity to undermine the position of defending states by using low-level maritime provocations. The alliance has an incentive to provide an institutional security umbrella to maintain its strength and continuity. High levels of commitment to defensive alliances provide a challenger state with the opportunity to behave provocatively without risking an escalation of conflict or severely damaging its reputation within the alliance. We test our theory using data on all maritime claims and their associated militarization attempts in the Western Hemisphere and Europe from 1900 to 2001 from the Issue Correlates of War (ICOW) project.
*This article is free-access until March 31, 2020.
The Arab Spring and the Barriers to Revolutionary Diffusion
Beware of Victor’s Justice
Reconsidering Humanitarian Military Intervention
Dr. Thorsten Gromes is Project Director and Senior Researcher at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany. Learn more about Dr. Gromes here.
Human Rights: International Norms, International Shaming
Dr. Kristine Eck is an Associate Professor and Director of the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, Uppsala University, Sweden. Learn more about Dr. Eck.
A New Dataset on the First Intifada
Eitan Alimi, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Political Sociology at The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Learn more about Prof. Alimi.
Gregory Maney, PhD, was the Harry H. Wachtel Distinguished Professor for the Study of Nonviolent Social Change at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, USA. Prof. Maney passed away in 2017. Learn more about his life's work and legacy.
IMF Lending and FDI Outflows: A Sectoral Perspective
International Interactions is a leading interdisciplinary journal that publishes original empirical, analytic, and theoretical studies of conflict and political economy. The journal has a particular interest in research that focuses upon the broad range of relations and interactions among the actors in the global system. Relevant topics include ethnic and religious conflict, interstate and intrastate conflict, conflict resolution, conflict management, economic development, regional integration, trade relations, institutions, globalization, terrorism, and geopolitical analyses. The journal aims to promote interaction among social science disciplines by encouraging interdisciplinary work among political scientists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, statisticians, and mathematicians.