A multilevel theory of international relations that accounts for intended and unintended outcomes of cooperation and conflict
The bipolar structure of the Cold War allowed a certain stability in world politics that, with the demise of the Soviet Union, is now missing. Does this mean that we can expect greater instability because of this structural transition from bipolarity to multipolarity? Or should we feel reassured that changes on the state level such as democratization and the transition to market economies that are occurring in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and to some extent, in the Soviet successor states, are in effect promoting peace?
When Opponents Cooperate resolves the issue by formulating a new theory of international relations that integrates state-level analyses. The key is to focus on intended and unintended outcomes of cooperation and conflict. The author argues that structural factors can account for the unintended crisis outcomes (inadvertent wars and tact-spontaneous cooperation in crisis management), but state-level factors explain intended outcomes (such as intentional cooperation in conflict resolution) during non-crisis times. He tests the validity of his theoretical model in a variety of situations, though he emphasizes recent postwar events in the Middle East. While his argument will appeal to international relations theorists, his in-depth accounts of great power crisis and cooperation in the Middle East will be of particular interest to security and foreign policy specialists.
Benjamin Miller is Senior Lecturer of International Relations, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.