Balancing Risks: Great Power Intervention in the Periphery
Great powers often initiate risky military and diplomatic inventions in far-off, peripheral regions that pose no direct threat to them, risking direct confrontation with rivals in strategically inconsequential places. Why do powerful countries behave in a way that leads to entrapment in prolonged, expensive, and self-defeating conflicts?Jeffrey W. Taliaferro suggests that such interventions are driven by the refusal of senior officials to accept losses in their state's relative power, international status, or prestige. Instead of cutting their losses, leaders often continue to invest blood and money in failed excursions into the periphery. Their policies may seem to be driven by rational concerns about power and security, but Taliaferro deems them to be at odds with the master explanation of political realism.Taliaferro constructs a "balance-of-risk" theory of foreign policy that draws on defensive realism (in international relations) and prospect theory (in psychology). He illustrates the power of this new theory in several case narratives: Germany's initiation and escalation of the 1905 and 1911 Moroccan crises, the United States' involvement in the Korean War in 1950–52, and Japan's entanglement in the second Sino-Japanese war in 1937–40 and its decisions for war with the U.S. in 1940–41.
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Power Politics and the Balance of Risk
Explaining Great Power Involvement in the Periphery
Germany and the 1905 Morocco Crisis
Japan and the 194041 War Decisions
The United States and the Korean War 195051
Acheson administration's Agadir Agadir Crisis alliance American Amos Tversky April August balance-of-risk theory behavior Biilow Britain British cabinet Changkufeng chief Chinese conflict Coox December decision makers defense Delcasse diplomatic East Asia economic emperor entente escalation expectation level forces foreign minister foreign policy France French Friedrich von Holstein FRUS German leaders Germany's Grand Strategy Holstein HSTL ibid IGHQ Imperial Japan Japanese Japanese-Soviet July June Kiderlen Konoe Korea Korean War Kwantung Army liaison conference logrolling logrolling theory Loss Aversion MacArthur Manchuria Matsouka Memo of conversation military Moroccan Morocco Morocco crisis naval navy negotiations Nomonhan incident North Korean November October offensive realism option outcomes perceived periphery Politics prestige Princeton prospect theory Radolin Reich Foreign Office relative power risk risk-acceptant strategies risky Rouvier Rusk Russian Secretary senior officials September Soviet Union status quo Thirty-eighth Parallel tion tional treaty Tripartite Pact troops Truman United Washington Wilhelm Yalu