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30 J. Conflict Resol. 3 (1986)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr30 and id is 1 raw text is: 

Arms Races and War Initiation


Department of Sociology
University of Colorado

   Intriligator and Brito argue that certain arms races can lead to peace and certain
disarming races can lead to war. They support this position with a formal model of the
relationship between weapons levels and war initiation. This article evaluates and
criticizes the Intriligator-Brito model. The results of their model are shown to depend
upon questionable assumptions both about the conditions under which nuclear attack
might be initiated or deterred and about the nature of nuclear war itself. Two sets of
alternatives to the Intriligator-Brito (I-B) model are developed. In contrast to the Intrili-
gator-Brito analysis, most of the topologies generated by the alternative models suggest
that arms races are unlikely to yield stable peace. The issue of disarmament is more
complicated. If security is identified with the ability to inflict painful retribution on the
enemy,  then situations of near complete disarmament are necessarily hazardous.
However, the main implication of the alternative models is that mutual disarmament-at
least mutual disarmament to moderate weapons levels-will not increase the chance of
war and may well diminish it. At least one of the alternative models points out that no
situation of mutual deterrence may be possible. Arms races may not always lead to war nor
disarmament to peace, but considerable circumspection is needed when drawing policy
inferences from war initiation models of the Intriligator-Brito genre because the results are
highly sensitive to the underlying assumptions.


  Intriligator  and Brito (1984)  have challenged  the idea that arms races
inevitably  lead to war. They  develop  a model  of war initiation showing
that although  some   arms races may  lead to war,  others can bring stable
peace.  According   to their model, the  process of disarmament can also

   AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would like to   thank Frank Beer, Francis Campbell, Dennis
Ehmsen,  Michael Intriligator, Robert Johnson, Sara Mayer, Martin Patchen, Jean
Umbreit, and Michael Ward for their help in preparing this article. None of these people
should be held responsible for the conclusions it reaches or any errors it may contain.

JOURNAL   OF CONFLICT  RESOLUTION,  Vol. 30 No. 1, March 1986 3-28
@ 1986 Sage Publications, Inc.

from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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