Taming the Revisionist State: The Effects of Military Defeats on the War-Proneness of Germany vs. Iraq

Benjamin Miller, Moran Mandalbaum
Content Type
Working Paper
Centre for International Peace and Security Studies
Following the post - 2003 US intervention in Iraq, and with a potential US use of force against Iran, one key analytical question stands out, which has major policy implications: Does military defeat by the great powers have stabilizing or de - stabilizing effects on the aggressive behavior of revisionist states? Somewhat similarly to the pre - 2003 Iraq invasion debate, the great powers have a number of options for dealing with the potential Iranian nuclear threat: diplomatic engagement, deterrence, or resort to military power -- either to bring about a regime change, or to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities. Taking into account the possibility of resorting to force against Iran, an intriguing question emerges: what does IR theory lead us to expect -- and what does the historical record show -- with regard to the effects of military defeats on the war - propensity of revisionist states? In other words, why do some militarily defeated states become war - like, while others peaceful?
Conflict Prevention, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Regime Change
Political Geography
United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Germany