Arms racing and conflict in the Third World: 1970-2000
Marin, Victor Claudio
Stoll, Richard J.
Doctor of Philosophy
In this dissertation I investigate the relationship between arms races and the probability of militarized conflict onset. The research question is critically important on at least two fronts: first, many policy makers and scholars alike believe ramping up military forces is the best way to deter military conflict (the peace through strength argument) while others suggest arms races do nothing but lead states towards militarized conflict. Second, this dissertation fills a research gap present since the end of the Cold War since research on arms races by the scientific community of conflict scholars has slowed dramatically since the end of the Cold War and findings remain inconclusive. The Steps to War research program (Vasquez, 1993; Senese and Vasquez, 2008), however, suggests arms races are one of the central provocateurs of militarized conflict and warfare between states. Using this theoretical approach I frame arms races as dangerous events in the global arena and provide a clear theoretical account of the international system, the incentives for arming, and the linkage between arms racing and international conflict. The central theoretical argument suggests arms races lead states into conflict with one another. I test my expectations through a regional analysis of minor powers from three geographic areas: Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East over the period 1970-2000. In an important departure from the majority of previous quantitative arms race and conflict studies I utilize the actual weapons stockpiles of states (as opposed to defense expenditure data) as the primary measure of an arms race. The empirical results not only shed insight into the likelihood observing international conflict when preceded by arms racing but also indicate whether certain types of arms racing --- air as opposed to sea or ground racing, for example---may be more likely to develop into conflict than other forms.
Political science; International law; International relations; Military Studies