Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 October 2012
The last two chapters demonstrate that the issues confronting states at territorial peace are quite different from the issues affecting most states. Gone are threats to the homeland, and peace with neighbors assures a selection of disputes on the foreign policy agenda that will be more easily resolved. Nevertheless, there may remain contentious issues in the international system that leaders wish to press. In this chapter, I explore how the existence of territorial peace with neighbors also affects these decisions.
Since territorial conflict with neighbors places constraints on the leader, adventurism abroad is less likely as homeland defense remains paramount. But, when those constraints are lifted following peace with neighbors, leaders are better able to choose whether to intervene in conflicts abroad. Of course, this depends upon whether the state completely demilitarized following peace with neighbors; absent a decent military, few engagements abroad will be to the state's advantage. If a capable military exists, however, leaders of territorial peace states may find issues in which intervention would be to their state's benefit, and this process of careful selection suggests a correlation between territorial peace and the likelihood of victory in these conflicts.
This extension of territorial peace theory of course challenges the notion that only democracies are thought to select well their potential rivals (Bueno de Mesquita and Siverson 1995; Bueno de Mesquita et al. 1999, 2003), enabling democratic leaders to emerge victorious in conflict (Lake 1992; Reiter and Stam 1998, 2003).