In this study, I attempt to demonstrate that “universal” international relations theories based on the experiences of globally major powers may well fail to explain the international politics of globally minor powers in non-Western regions. I do so by examining one such theoretical framework, that is, the rivalry approach to war and peace, as applied in inter-African and inter-Arab politics. Specifically, after a general discussion of the treatment of globally minor powers in non-Western regions by universal theories of international relations and political science in general, I introduce the rivalry approach to war and peace and develop its expectations on state behavior in a rival’s civil war. Then, building on an earlier work (Furtado et al, 2003) and using Diehl and Goertz’s (2000) interstate rivalry database, I empirically test the validity of these expectations by conducting an in-depth analysis of two cases, namely, Kenya’s behavior in Uganda’s civil war (1981-5), and Israel’s and Syria’s behaviors in Jordan’s “civil war” (1970). Though admittedly insufficient to falsify a theory, the small-N analysis which is applied in this study is justified by methodologists, such as Sartori, on many bases, including the very aim of this study, namely, to highlight and consequently avoid the problem of “conceptual stretching” in the research program suggested by the rivalry approach to war and peace (Collier, 1993). Conclusions and implications of the empirical analysis are discussed in the last section.
|Keywords:||International Relations Theory, Rivalry Approach to War and Peace, Inter-Arab Politics, Inter-African Politics, Civil War|
Assistant Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Zayed University, Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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