Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 October 2012
The last chapter confirmed that territorial threats generate strong reactions in the citizens of targeted states: public opinion becomes more unified, more nationalistic, and more distrustful and intolerant. The next step of the argument, then, is to examine the domestic policies that follow these attitudinal shifts. Here, I argue that threats to the state place strong incentives on leaders and citizens alike to increase their military preparedness. For states targeted by territorial threats, this means substantial increases in army personnel to hold and acquire land. In this way, over time, continuous territorial threats can lead to an army that is well prepared to defend its population.
The creation of a large, standing army in the wake of these territorial conflicts will also eventually impose a formidable political force on domestic politics. After threats subside, excess military personnel can be used to provide domestic support for the elites in power. Alone, or in tandem with other domestic groups, a large military can effectively put down the segments of the population that pose challenges to status quo policies. Even the threat of forced repression will likely alter the nature of domestic opposition challenges since few would be willing to provoke an army-led crackdown.
This process creates conflicting incentives for the individual in targeted states. Short-term survival is balanced against a strengthened state that will pose a serious long-term challenge to individual welfare.