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Why do some autocratic leaders pursue aggressive or expansionist foreign policies, while others are much more cautious in their use of military force? The first book to focus systematically on the foreign policy of different types of authoritarian regimes, Dictators at War and Peace breaks new ground in our understanding of the international behavior of dictators. Jessica Why do some autocratic leaders pursue aggressive or expansionist foreign policies, while others are much more cautious in their use of military force? The first book to focus systematically on the foreign policy of different types of authoritarian regimes, Dictators at War and Peace breaks new ground in our understanding of the international behavior of dictators. Jessica L. P. Weeks explains why certain kinds of regimes are less likely to resort to war than others, why some are more likely to win the wars they start, and why some authoritarian leaders face domestic punishment for foreign policy failures whereas others can weather all but the most serious military defeat. Using novel cross-national data, Weeks looks at various nondemocratic regimes, including those of Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin; the Argentine junta at the time of the Falklands War, the military government in Japan before and during World War II, and the North Vietnamese communist regime. She finds that the differences in the conflict behavior of distinct kinds of autocracies are as great as those between democracies and dictatorships. Indeed, some types of autocracies are no more belligerent or reckless than democracies, casting doubt on the common view that democracies are more selective about war than autocracies.


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Why do some autocratic leaders pursue aggressive or expansionist foreign policies, while others are much more cautious in their use of military force? The first book to focus systematically on the foreign policy of different types of authoritarian regimes, Dictators at War and Peace breaks new ground in our understanding of the international behavior of dictators. Jessica Why do some autocratic leaders pursue aggressive or expansionist foreign policies, while others are much more cautious in their use of military force? The first book to focus systematically on the foreign policy of different types of authoritarian regimes, Dictators at War and Peace breaks new ground in our understanding of the international behavior of dictators. Jessica L. P. Weeks explains why certain kinds of regimes are less likely to resort to war than others, why some are more likely to win the wars they start, and why some authoritarian leaders face domestic punishment for foreign policy failures whereas others can weather all but the most serious military defeat. Using novel cross-national data, Weeks looks at various nondemocratic regimes, including those of Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin; the Argentine junta at the time of the Falklands War, the military government in Japan before and during World War II, and the North Vietnamese communist regime. She finds that the differences in the conflict behavior of distinct kinds of autocracies are as great as those between democracies and dictatorships. Indeed, some types of autocracies are no more belligerent or reckless than democracies, casting doubt on the common view that democracies are more selective about war than autocracies.

57 review for Dictators at War and Peace

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Overcoming the societally ingrained belief that all non-democratic regimes are alike, Weeks shows the striking differences between them not just internally, but externally. These factors are related in her argument and she makes a convincing case. Although I am personally not fond of positivism in the humanities as a methodology, she uses it adequately to show the differences of conflict occurrence between regime types in her admittedly limited example pool. As with any collection of case Overcoming the societally ingrained belief that all non-democratic regimes are alike, Weeks shows the striking differences between them not just internally, but externally. These factors are related in her argument and she makes a convincing case. Although I am personally not fond of positivism in the humanities as a methodology, she uses it adequately to show the differences of conflict occurrence between regime types in her admittedly limited example pool. As with any collection of case studies, one can always ask 'but what about...?' I personally understand what it is like to write about IR and history and know that there is no way in hell you can cover every base-nor should you. Despite this though, I would have loved to have seen the quite placid personalist boss rule regimes of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan included, even if only to dismiss them as being too under Russia's wing to have much autonomy. The section on machine/party apparatus governments-particularly Vietnam-was the strongest part of the book. The idea that these kinds of governments are slightly less likely than democracies to launch overt conventional aggressive war and also significantly more likely to win their wars than other types of authoritarian governments is an argument which should be looked at more by policy makers.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Yalin

    Weeks' analysis in this book regarding a classification of authoritarian rule and rulers is superb. There is not only the exploration of theory and relevant data in this work, but also clear and contemporary examples of leaders across the globe, which makes the theory - which is not hard to grasp - easier to understand. For anyone interested in a work which concentrates on not just structures but also individual characteristics, respones, and actions in international relations this would be a Weeks' analysis in this book regarding a classification of authoritarian rule and rulers is superb. There is not only the exploration of theory and relevant data in this work, but also clear and contemporary examples of leaders across the globe, which makes the theory - which is not hard to grasp - easier to understand. For anyone interested in a work which concentrates on not just structures but also individual characteristics, respones, and actions in international relations this would be a good read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    John Poor

    Fascinating study focusing on the characteristics of dictators and the level of prediction that can be had based on the power structure supporting them. (Who are their elite)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Spencer Willardson

    This is a good book that dis aggregates treatment of dictatorships. The book moves nicely through the theoretical arguments for why different kinds of non-democratic regimes may behave differently with respect to their relations with their neighbors. After conducting empirical tests, weeks runs through a number of case studies to show the mechanisms she outlines with the theory.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Justjust

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    Esther Lou

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    Albert B. Wolf

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    Daniel

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    Prajakta

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    Chansambath

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    Chengming198777

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    Matthew Krivensky

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    David Dillon

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    Nicole

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