Becoming Rivals: The Process of Interstate Rivalry Development, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Becoming Rivals

The Process of Interstate Rivalry Development, 1st Edition

By Brandon Valeriano


168 pages

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Rivalries are a fundamental aspect of all international interactions. The concept of rivalry suggests that historic animosity may be the most fundamental variable in explaining and understanding why states commit international violence against each other. By understanding the historic factors behind the emergence of rivalry, the strategies employed by states to deal with potential threats, and the issues endemic to enemies, this book seeks to understand and predict why states become rivals.

The recent increase in the quantitative study of rivalry has largely identified who the rivals are, but not how they form and escalate. Questions about the escalation of rivalry are important if we are to understand the nature of conflictual interactions. This book addresses an important research gap in the field by directly tackling the question of rivalry formation. In addition to making new contributions to the literature, this book will summarize a cohesive model of how all interstate rivalries form by using both quantitative and qualitative methods and sources.


"We know that rivalries are a leading source of international conflict, and we know a great deal about the dynamics and consequences of international rivalries, but we know little about how international rivalries begin. Until now. In its exploration of the conditions and processes through which rivalries emerge, Becoming Rivals fills a glaring gap in our knowledge and makes an important contribution to the study of international conflict."

—Jack S. Levy, Rutgers University

"Becoming Rivals tackles a theoretically important and understudied topic—the factors that increase the likelihood that two states will become rivals. This is a highly original study with new data and a theoretical analysis that increases our knowledge of interstate conflict. Scholars and students in political science and history interested in rivalry will find it a must read."

—John A. Vasquez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Rivalry and International Politics. 2. The Steps-to-Rivalry Model. 3. The Empirical Dynamics of the Steps-to-Rivalry Model. 4. Timing and the Steps-to-Rivalry Model. 5. The Complete Steps-to-Rivalry Model. 6. The Rivalry Story: Iraq and the United States. 7. What Do We Know About Rivalry Now?

About the Author

Brandon Valeriano is Lecturer at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow.

About the Series

Foreign Policy Analysis

The Routledge series Foreign Policy Analysis examines the intersection of domestic and international politics with an emphasis on decision-making at both the individual and group levels. Research in this broadly defined and interdisciplinary field includes nearly all methodological approaches, encompasses the analysis of single nations as well as large-N comparative studies, and ranges from the psychology of leaders, to the effects of process, to the patterns created by specific dynamic or contextual influences on decision making.

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