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---
title: "Offense-Defense Balance and Power Transition Theory"
subtitle: POSC 3610 -- International Conflict
author: Steven V. Miller
institute: Department of Political Science
titlegraphic: /Dropbox/teaching/clemson-academic.png
date:
fontsize: 10pt
output:
beamer_presentation:
template: ~/Dropbox/miscelanea/svm-r-markdown-templates/svm-latex-beamer.tex
latex_engine: xelatex
dev: cairo_pdf
fig_caption: true
slide_level: 3
keep_tex: false
make149: true
mainfont: "Open Sans"
titlefont: "Titillium Web"
---
```{r setup, include=FALSE, cache=F, message=F, warning=F, results="hide"}
knitr::opts_chunk$set(cache=TRUE)
knitr::opts_chunk$set(fig.path='figs/')
knitr::opts_chunk$set(cache.path='cache/')
knitr::opts_chunk$set(
fig.process = function(x) {
x2 = sub('-\\d+([.][a-z]+)$', '\\1', x)
if (file.rename(x, x2)) x2 else x
}
)
```
```{r loadstuff, include=FALSE}
knitr::opts_chunk$set(cache=TRUE)
options(knitr.kable.NA = '')
library(car)
library(tidyverse)
library(janitor)
library(knitr)
library(stevemisc)
```
```{r loaddata, cache=T, eval=T, echo=F, message=F, error=F, warning=F}
# ICOWactive <- read.csv("~/Dropbox/data/icow/icow-provisional-1.01/200199.csv") %>% tbl_df()
CINC <- read.csv("~/Dropbox/data/cow/cinc/NMC_5_0.csv") %>% tbl_df()
FAS <- read.csv("~/Dropbox/data/fas-nukes/number-of-nuclear-warheads-in-the-inventory-of-the-nuclear-powers-1945-2014.csv") %>% tbl_df()
```
# Introduction
### Goal for Today
*Discuss offense-defense balance and power transition theory.*
# Offense-Defense Balance
### Offense-Defense Balance
Offense-defense balance is another component of structural perspectives of IR. Main points:
- Weapons are either offensive or defensive in nature.
- We can observe an imbalance between offense and defense in the international system.
- These variations affect patterns of international politics.
**Central conclusion:** systemic war is more likely when there's an imbalance toward offense and/or leaders can't tell the difference.
### Rationales for War Under Offense Dominance
- Offense dominance leads to opportunistic expansionism.
- First strike advantages are observable.
- Cost-benefit calculus favors offense over defense.
- Even defensively oriented states are compelled to offense.
- Think: security dilemma
### Offense-Defense Balance and the Security Dilemma
The interaction (i.e. offense/defense indistinguishability) is an important part of the theory.
| | **Offense Dominance** | **Defense Dominance** |
|:------------|:-------------:|:-----------------:|
| **Indistinguishable** | Doubly dangerous | Security dilemma |
| **Distinguishable** | Aggression possible | Doubly stable |
### Determinants of Offense-Defense Balance
- Military factors (really: military technology)
- Geography
- Social and political order
- Diplomacy
### Some Problems with Offense-Defense Hypotheses
- How are any weapons distinguishable? Consider:
- Tanks, the classic offensive weapon, have important defensive utility
- Nuclear weapons, most destructive offensive weapon, have defensive logic.
- Diplomacy does not hang well with the other explanations.
- Ultimately non-falsifiable (anything can be tailored to fit the theory).
- Conceptually indistinguishable from balance of power or military skill.
- Van Evera: "war is far more likely when conquest is easy, and that shifts in the offense-defense balance have a large effect on the risk of war." See the problem?
- Never explicit about what constitutes offense or defense dominance.
- Categorization is ad hoc.
# Power Transition Theory
### Power Transition Theory
Power transition theory (PTT) has a curious origin.
- Grand theories and research paradigms are typically introduced in articles or scholarly books.
- PTT was introduced in a 1958 introductory textbook by AFK Organski, titled *World Politics*.
### Anarchy and Hierarchy
The basic premise of PTT is that the international system is *hierarchic*.
- Anarchy is an unexceptional observation according to Organski.
A power pyramid is a better understanding of the international system.
- Hegemon
- Great powers
- Middle powers
- Minor powers
###
![A hypothetical power pyramid](pyramid.jpg)
### Status Quo and Revisionist States
States are either status quo states or revisionist states.
- Status quo states are those that are satisfied with the current conduct of international
politics.
- The hegemon is by definition a status quo state.
- Revisionist states are dissatisfied with the current order.
This leads to an important divergence with neorealism.
- States in PTT are policy-motivated, not strictly survival-oriented.
## A Critique of Power Transition Theory
### A Critique of Power Transition Theory
We should raise several critical questions about this approach.
1. How do we know status quo/revisionist ex ante?
2. Why didn't the U.S. and Soviet Union fight?
3. What predicts power transition wars?
4. Why would any state want to fight a power transition war?
### Status Quo and Revisionist States
PTT's hypothesis is an implied boolean proposition.
- Revisionist AND great power AND power transition --> war.
- PTT distinguishes itself from neorealism with this assumption of policy motivations.
So how do we know a state is "revisionist?"
- We typically think of Imperial/Nazi Germany as the classic case of this.
Notice the inferential problem?
### The Measurement Problem
We need an ex ante indicator of revisionist state. Attempts include:
- National size and development (Houweling and Siccama, 1988)
- Gross national income (Organski and Kugler, 1980)
- Demographics/birth rates (e.g. Kugler, 2006)
- UN roll call votes (Reed et al. 2008; Sample, 2017)
- Territorial claims/disputes (Sample, 2017)
### The Measurement Problem
Each of these proposals have significant problems.
- GNI and size proxy "power" and not revisionism.
- i.e. they measure why bargaining breaks down and not the contested policy benefit.
- Similar statement can be made for demographics/birth rates, but those predict poorly.
- UN votes impose global measure when most conflict is dyadic/local.
Territorial claims better get at this, but it's not clear it's helping PTT's case.
- Disputed territory is a different problem altogether.
###
```{r ptt, eval=TRUE, echo=FALSE}
knitr::include_graphics("~/Dropbox/teaching/posc3610/kuglerlemke2000ptrp/kuglerlemke2000ptrp-fig2.png")
```
<!-- ![Illustration of the Power Transition](kuglerlemke2000ptrp-fig2.png) -->
###
```{r stockpiles, echo=F, eval=T, fig.width = 14, fig.height = 8.5, warning = F, message = F}
FAS %>%
filter(Country == "United States" | Country == "Russia") %>%
group_by(Year, Country) %>%
summarize(sum = sum(`Nuclear.weapons.inventory.by.country`)) %>%
ggplot(.,aes(Year, sum, fill=Country, group = Country)) + theme_steve_web() +
geom_bar(aes(fill=Country), stat="identity", color="black", alpha=I(0.5)) +
scale_x_continuous(breaks = seq(1945, 2015, by =5)) +
xlab("Year") + ylab("Number of Nuclear Warheads in Inventory") +
labs(title = "Number of Nuclear Warheads in Inventory of the U.S. and Russia/USSR, 1945-2014",
subtitle = "The Soviet Union surpassed the U.S. in nuclear stockpiles in 1956. The difference became quite lopsided in the 1970s and 1980s.",
caption = "Data: Federation of American Scientists")
```
###
```{r usarus, echo=F, eval=T, fig.width = 14, fig.height = 8.5, warning = F, message = F}
CINC %>%
filter(ccode == 2 | ccode == 365) %>%
filter(year > 1944 & year < 1991) %>%
mutate(Country = ifelse(ccode == 2, "United States", "Russia/USSR")) %>%
ggplot(., aes(x=year, y=cinc, linetype=Country, color=Country)) + geom_line(size = 1.5) + theme_steve_web() +
ylim(.1, .32) +
scale_x_continuous(breaks = seq(1945, 1990, by = 5)) +
xlab("Year") + ylab("Composite Index of National Capabilities (CINC)") +
annotate("text", x = 1947, y = .27,
label = "United States",
family = "Open Sans") +
annotate("text", x = 1947, y = .11,
label = "USSR/Russia",
family = "Open Sans") +
annotate("rect", xmin = 1970, xmax = 1989, ymin = -Inf, ymax = Inf, alpha = .2) +
annotate("text", x = 1980, y = .11,
label = "Power Transition\n(1970-1988)",
family = "Open Sans") +
labs(title = "Why Didn't the Cold War Get Hot?",
subtitle = "We observe a power transition incidentally around the time of a détente between both Cold War rivals.",
caption = "Data: Correlates of War National Military Capabilities Data (v. 5.0)") +
theme(legend.position = "bottom")
```
###
```{r rusjpn, echo=F, eval=T, fig.width = 14, fig.height = 8.5}
CINC %>%
filter(ccode == 740 | ccode == 365) %>%
filter(year > 1954) %>%
mutate(Country = ifelse(ccode == 740, "Japan", "Russia/USSR")) %>%
ggplot(., aes(x=year, y=cinc, linetype=Country, color=Country)) +
geom_line(size = 1.5) + theme_steve_web() +
ylim(.01, .20) +
scale_x_continuous(breaks = seq(1955, 2010, by = 5)) +
xlab("Year") + ylab("Composite Index of National Capabilities (CINC)") +
annotate("text", x = 1960, y = .19, family = "Open Sans",
label = "Russia/Soviet Union") +
annotate("text", x = 1958, y = .05, family = "Open Sans",
label = "Japan") +
annotate("rect", xmin = 1997, xmax = 2005, ymin = -Inf, ymax = Inf, alpha = .2) +
annotate("text", x = 2001, y = .10, family = "Open Sans",
label = "Power Transition\n(1997-2005)") +
labs(title= "What About Russia and Japan?",
subtitle = "We oberve a power transition between Russia and Japan in our lifetimes, but no serious conflict.",
caption = "Data: Correlates of War National Military Capabilities Data (v. 5.0)") +
theme(legend.position = "bottom")
```
###
```{r usachn, echo=F, eval=T, fig.width = 14, fig.height = 8.5}
CINC %>%
filter(ccode == 710 | ccode == 2) %>%
filter(year > 1950) %>%
mutate(Country = ifelse(ccode == 710, "China", "United States")) %>%
ggplot(., aes(x=year, y=cinc, linetype=Country, color=Country)) + geom_line(size = 1.5) +
ylim(.08, .40) +
scale_x_continuous(breaks = seq(1950, 2010, by = 5)) + theme_steve_web() +
xlab("Year") + ylab("Composite Index of National Capabilities (CINC)") +
annotate("text", x = 1952,
y = .13, label = "China",
family = "Open Sans") +
annotate("text", x = 1952,
y = .35, label = "United States", family="Open Sans") +
annotate("rect", xmin = 1995, xmax = 2012, ymin = -Inf, ymax = Inf, alpha = .2) +
annotate("text", x = 2002, y = .25, label = "Rise of China \n(1995-present)",
family = "Open Sans") +
labs(title = "Has China Already Risen?",
subtitle = "Using available data, we should've already expected the power transition war to happen.",
caption = "Data: Correlates of War National Military Capabilities Data (v. 5.0)") +
theme(legend.position = "bottom")
```
### Why Fight a Power Transition War?
It's not yet evident why the power transition war is fought.
- For declining hegemon: *act now*.
- For rising great power: wait.
Put in other words, the power transition war happens when it makes the least sense to fight it.
# Conclusion
### Conclusion
Offense-defense balance/PTT offers different structural perspectives for systemic insecurity/war.
- PTT: states are motivated by policy too; anarchy is unexceptional.
- O/D: weapon balance and distinguishability matter.
All told, these structural theories point to systemic aspects of the international system that
promote inter-state conflict.
- None are coherent arguments.