Ending wars -- Bargaining, information, and ending wars -- Credible commitments and war termination -- Conducting empirical tests -- The Korean War -- The allies, 1940-42 -- The logic of war : Finland and the USSR, 1939-44 -- The American Civil War -- Germany, 1917-18 -- Japan, 1944-45
"Why do some countries choose to end wars short of total victory while others fight on, sometimes in the face of appalling odds? How Wars End argues that two central factors shape war-termination decision making: information about the balance of power and the resolve of one's enemy, and fears that the other side's commitment to abide by a war-ending peace settlement may not be credible. Dan Reiter explains how information about combat outcomes and other factors may persuade a warring nation to demand more or less in peace negotiations, and why a country might refuse to negotiate limited terms and instead tenaciously pursue absolute victory if it fears that its enemy might renege on a peace deal. He fully lays out the theory and then tests it on more than twenty cases of war-termination behavior, including decisions during the American Civil War, the two world wars, and the Korean War. Reiter helps solve some of the most enduring puzzles in military history, such as why Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, why Germany in 1918 renewed its attack in the West after securing peace with Russia in the East, and why Britain refused to seek peace terms with Germany after France fell in 1940. How Wars End concludes with a timely discussion of twentieth-century American foreign policy, framing the Bush Doctrine's emphasis on preventive war in the context of the theory."--GoogleBooks.
This article presents and tests a theory of learning in international politics. Drawing primarily from social psychology and organization theory, the learning theory proposes that lessons tend to be drawn only from high-impact events in world politics, such as large wars and economic depressions. Lessons drawn tend to be simple and are oriented around the question of which policies are likely to be successful and which policies are likely to fail. This learning theory is tested on the alliance choices of small powers in the twentieth century. The predictions of two learning hypotheses are compared with those of a leading realist explanation of alliance choices, balance of threat theory. Quantitative analysis of small powers' alliance choices reveals that a small power's experience in the previous world war is a very powerful explanation of its peacetime alliance choices after that war, whereas the level of threat in the international environment has only marginal effects on the small power's alliance choices. Further, these threat effects may be in the opposite direction of that predicted by balance of threat theory.
In the past ten years there has been a burst of theoretical and empirical research on the topic of learning in international relations. Russell J. Leng's new book is the latest addition to this body of scholarship, and it builds on his past research on learning and crisis bargaining. Leng examines the role of learning in crisis bargaining strategies within ongoing, inter- national rivalries. He asks a series of questions, including: Do patterns of crisis behavior repeat from one crisis to the next?