The Effects of Rivalry on Rivalry Confrontations and the Strategic Management of Conflict
University of Illinois College of Law
June 9, 2011
The paper investigates how states manage multiple rivalries when faced with an immediate threat. We argue that accommodation or cooperative gestures towards one rival allow states to shift resources from the management of one rivalry to another in order to deal with the costs of immediate threats By examining enduring rivalries from 1966-1999, we show when states are most likely to pursue conciliatory behavior as well as those that become the recipient of accommodation. Our study indicates that states rely on accommodative strategies to respond to threats, albeit at modest levels. Findings show that states accommodate rivals that did not issue the threat, thereby demonstrating that conflict in one rivalry leads to the warming of relations in another. States will target non-threatening rivals which they expect to pose threats in the future. Among the threat-initiating rivals, those issuing less severe threats, major powers, and democracies are more likely to be accommodated.