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Interstate warfare and the emergence of transnational insurgencies

Ohlers, Curtis (2014) Interstate warfare and the emergence of transnational insurgencies. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Since the Second World War, there has been a shift away from interstate warfare to a relative increase in intra-state conflict and insurgencies. In addition, a growing number of these insurgencies can be described as ‘transnational’, in that they are supported by outside state and non-state actors and may also pursue activities beyond their borders. This thesis attempts to analyse and explain the shift from interstate warfare to the emergence of transnational insurgencies. This study proposes and evaluates two possible explanations. First, interstate warfare is thought by many scholars to be declining in value as changing technology, economic systems, and domestic and international politics have raised the costs and constraints of interstate warfare while yielding reduced benefits. Second, there is evidence that transnational insurgencies are more effective and possess wider capabilities than domestic insurgencies by utilising transnational networks for external support, strategic alliances, and illicit activities. The study evaluates whether these factors have deterred interstate warfare while incentivising indirect methods through the initiation or support of transnational insurgencies. This thesis first reviews indirect warfare and the development of insurgencies over history and, in particular, how they have qualitatively changed since 1945 in their transnational relationships and activities. It then provides a theoretical and empirical analysis of the changing value of direct interstate warfare and the strategies and calculus by which states outsource to insurgencies as an alternative to interstate warfare. Third, it reviews the transnational networks and the changing effectiveness and capabilities of transnational insurgencies. Finally, it concludes with a case study of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, examining the decision and outcome of state outsourcing to Afghan insurgencies (i.e. the Northern Alliance).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Curtis Alexander Ohlers
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Sets: Departments > International Relations
Supervisor: Coker, Christopher

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