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States, Nations, and the Great Powers
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Book description

Why are some regions prone to war while others remain at peace? What conditions cause regions to move from peace to war and vice versa? This book offers a novel theoretical explanation for the differences and transitions between war and peace. The author distinguishes between 'hot' and 'cold' outcomes, depending on intensity of the war or the peace, and then uses three key concepts (state, nation, and the international system) to argue that it is the specific balance between states and nations in different regions that determines the hot or warm outcomes: the lower the balance, the higher the war proneness of the region, while the higher the balance, the warmer the peace. The theory of regional war and peace developed in this book is examined through case-studies of the post-1945 Middle East, the Balkans and South America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and post-1945 Western Europe.


'Benjamin Miller's States, Nations and the Great Powers is a superb book. It advances the important thesis that to understand the prospects for peace or war in a given region, we need to examine the interaction between the political conditions that obtain within the region and the actions of great powers from outside the region. Miller's book is masterful in its integration of international relations theory and the comparative method. It will be of interest to a wide range of readers, from undergraduates and graduate students to scholars, and from policy-makers to journalists to citizens, indeed to anyone who is interested in peace and security in the modern era.'

Joseph M. Grieco - Duke University

'This substantial and intricate book embeds a traditional realist analysis of war and peace in a novel regional framework highlighting variations in the revisionist orientation and political incoherence of regional states. The Middle East and the Balkans, as well as Latin America and Western Europe, provide the empirical material for this careful and challenging argument. Miller adds important new insights to the analysis of regions in world politics.'

Peter J. Katzenstein - Cornell University

'States, Nations and the Great Powers is an ambitious and original work of scholarship, which seeks to explain regional war and peace by focusing on whether regional political boundaries reflect national aspirations. Miller argues convincingly that both the impact of external great powers and the relevance of realist and liberal theory are conditional on this 'state to nation balance.''

Robert O. Keohane - Princeton University

'The striking variation in the propensity toward war and peace in the different regions of the world is enormously important for our understanding of international conflict but neglected by most conflict analysts. By focusing on the degree of congruence between the territorial boundaries of states and the less formal boundaries of peoples, Miller provides a powerful explanation for this intriguing puzzle.'

Jack S. Levy - Rutgers University

'A rich and rewarding study of the causes and cures of regional conflicts.'

Ken Waltz - Columbia University in the City of New York

‘Benjamin Miller has written an ambitious book explaining why some regions of the world are more peaceful than others. His claim that it is due to a combination of factors relating to nationalism and great-power competition is innovative as well as compelling. This important book will be widely read and widely cited.’

John J. Mearsheimer - University of Chicago

'Debates about the causes of war have tended to focus on conflict among the great powers and the global balance of power. This important study asserts that the real puzzles of war and peace exist on a lesser scale within regions. … Although highly theoretical, the book is full of useful insights about potential pathways toward regional peacemaking, particularly in regard to the Middle East.'

Source: Foreign Affairs

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