Introduction: Absence of War or Enduring Peace?

  • Félix E. Martín


Subsequent to 1945 most interstate wars have occurred between neighboring countries in the periphery.1 As a direct result of these armed conflicts over 17 million people have perished—a large number compared to World War I.2 Moreover, as it has been evident by events in Africa, in the Persian Gulf, in the Balkans, and in the former Soviet republics, the transformation of the international order in the 1990s has not changed or abated this trend. While most scholars in international relations and in other social sciences focus on explaining the causes of war as a way to prevent it, scant attention is devoted to the prevalence of peace among potential adversaries. This serious theoretical neglect in the study of international relations was addressed by John Gaddis when he classified the period from 1946 to 1989 in U.S.–Soviet relations as The Long Peace. His purpose was to draw attention to the theoretical and historical significance of the absence of any major armed conflict between these archrivals. A parallel is drawn here and the lack of major intra-regional war in South America since the end of the Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay in 1935 is underscored as a significant case for understanding interstate relations among countries in the periphery. It is important to emphasize some similarities between the two cases and the causes for the more enduring character of the South American long peace.3


International Relation Armed Conflict Potential Adversary Territorial Dispute Security Regime 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Kalevi J. Holsti, Peace and War: Armed Conflicts and International Order, 1648–1989 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991), p. 304;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Steven R. David, “Explaining Third World Alignment,” World Politics, vol. 43, no. 2 (January 1991), pp. 253–255;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Evan Luard, War in International Society: A Study in International Sociology (London: I. B. Tauris, 1986), p. 77;Google Scholar
  4. Guy Arnold, Wars in the Third World Since 1945 (London: Cassell Publishers, 1991).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Ruth Leger Sivard, World Military and Social Expenditures 1987–1988 (Washington, DC: World Priorities, 1987), pp. 28–31.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    John L. Gaddis, The Long Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 215–247.Google Scholar
  7. Charles W. Kegley, Jr., ed., The Long Postwar Peace (New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991);Google Scholar
  8. John E. Muller, Retreat From Doomsday: The Obsolescence of Major War (New York: Basic Books, 1989);Google Scholar
  9. Stephen R. Rock, Why Peace Breaks Out: Great Power Rapprochement in Historical Perspective (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  10. Michael Desch, “Why Latin America May Miss the Cold War: The United States and the Future of Inter-American Security Relations,” in Jorge I. Domínguez, ed., International Security and Democracy (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998), pp. 245–265;Google Scholar
  11. Arie M. Kacowicz, Zones of Peace in the Third World: South America and West Africa in Comparative Perspective (New York: State University of New York Press, 1998);Google Scholar
  12. David R. Mares, Violent Peace: Militarized Interstate Bargaining in Latin America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001);Google Scholar
  13. Jorge I. Domínguez et. al., “Why So Little Warfare?” in Jorge I. Domínguez, Boundary Disputes in Latin America, Peaceworks 50 (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace, 2000), pp. 20–25;Google Scholar
  14. David McIntyre, “The Longest Peace: Why Are There So Few Interstate Wars in South America?” PhD dissertation, The University of Chicago, December 1995.Google Scholar
  15. 4.
    Melvin Small and J. David Singer, Resort to Arms: International and Civil Wars, 1816–1980 (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1982), pp. 82–99.Google Scholar
  16. Robert N. Burr, By Reason or Force: Chile and the Balancing of Power in South America, 1830–1905 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965), p. 1;Google Scholar
  17. 5.
    Jack Child, “Conflicts in Latin America: Present and Potential,” research paper (Stockholm: SIPRI, 1980);Google Scholar
  18. Jorge I. Domínguez, “Ghosts From the Past: War, Territorial and Boundary Disputes in Mainland Central and South America Since 1960,” unpublished manuscript, Harvard University, May 1977Google Scholar
  19. Gregory F. Treverton, “Interstate Conflict in Latin America,” in Kevin J. Middlebrook and Carlos Rico, The United States and Latin America in the 1980s (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1986), pp. 565–591;Google Scholar
  20. Jorge I. Domínguez, “Los Conflictos Internacionales en América Latina y la Amenaza de Guerra,” Foro Internacional, vol. 25, no. 97 (July 1984), pp. 1–13;Google Scholar
  21. Wolf Grabendorff, “Interstate Conflict Behavior and Regional Potential for Conflict in Latin America,” Working Papers, no. 116, Latin American Program (Washington, DC: Wilson Center, 1982);Google Scholar
  22. Kenneth Nolde, “Arms and Security in South America: Towards an Alternate View,” PhD dissertation, University of Miami, 1980, pp. 285–287.Google Scholar
  23. 6.
    James D. Fearon, “Counterfactuals and Hypothesis Testing in Political Science,” World Politics, vol. 43, no. 2 (January 1991), pp. 169–195, specifically see pp. 183–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 7.
    Robert Jervis, “War and Misperception,” in Robert I. Rotberg and Theodore K. Rabb, eds., The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 106.Google Scholar
  25. 8.
    Alexander L. George, ed., Managing U.S.-Soviet Rivalry: Problems of Crisis Prevention (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983);Google Scholar
  26. Alexander L. George, Philip J. Farley, and Alexander Dallin, eds., U.S.-Soviet Security Cooperation: Achievements, Failures, Lessons (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988);Google Scholar
  27. Alexander L. George, ed., Avoiding War: Problems of Crisis Management (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  28. Karl W. Deutsch et al., Political Community and the North Atlantic Area (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1969);Google Scholar
  29. Nazli Choucri and Robert C. North, “In Search of Peace Systems: Scandinavia and the Netherlands, 1870–1970,” in Bruce M. Russett, ed., Peace, War, and Numbers (Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1972), pp. 239–274;Google Scholar
  30. Michael W. Doyle, “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, vol. 12, nos. 3 and 4 (Summer/Fall 1983), pp. 205–235 and 323–353;Google Scholar
  31. Michael W. Doyle, “Liberalism and World Politics,” American Political Science Review, vol. 80, no. 4 (December 1986), pp. 1151–1169;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Bruce M. Russett, “The Politics of An Alternative Security System: Toward a More Democratic and Therefore More Peaceful World,” in Burns Weston, ed., Alternatives to Nuclear Deterrence (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  33. 9.
    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Michael Oakeshott (New York: Collier Books, A Division of Macmillan, 1962), pp. 98–102.Google Scholar
  34. 10.
    John L. Gaddis, “International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War,” International Security, vol. 17, no. 3 (Winter 1992–1993), p. 25Google Scholar
  35. 11.
    Raymond Aron, Peace and War: A Theory of International Relations (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson Press, 1966), pp. 150–155;Google Scholar
  36. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, 6th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985), p. 221.Google Scholar
  37. 12.
    Alexander Wendt, “Anarchy Is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics,” International Organization, vol. 46, no. 2 (Spring 1992), pp. 391–425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 13.
    Robert G. Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Charles P. Kindleberger, The World in Depression, 1929–1939 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974);Google Scholar
  40. Robert G. Gilpin, U.S. Power and the Multinational Corporation (New York: Basic Books, 1975);Google Scholar
  41. Stephen D. Krasner, “State Power and the Structure of International Trade,” World Politics, vol. 28, no. 3 (April 1976), pp. 317–347;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Robert O. Keohane, “The Theory of Hegemonic Stability and Changes in International Economic Regimes, 1967–1977,” in Ole R. Holsti, Randolph M. Siverson, and Alexander L. George, eds., Change in the International System (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1980), pp. 131–162, specifically p. 136;Google Scholar
  43. Duncan Snidal, “The Limits of Hegemonic Stability Theory,” International Organization, vol. 39, no. 4 (Autumn 1985), pp. 579–614;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Robert O. Keohane, After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), especially pp. 31–46;Google Scholar
  45. Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power (New York: Basic Books, 1990), especially pp. 40–48.Google Scholar
  46. Robert Jervis, “Security Regimes,” International Organization, vol. 36, no. 2 (Spring 1982), pp. 357–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 14.
    Richard K. Betts, “Systems for Peace or Causes of War?: Collective Security, Arms Control, and the New Europe,” International Security, vol. 17, no. 1 (Summer 1992), p. 26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 15.
    Kenneth N. Waltz, Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959)Google Scholar
  49. Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1979), chapters 7 and 8.Google Scholar
  50. 17.
    Kenneth N. Waltz, “The Stability of a Bipolar World,” Daedalus, vol. 93, no. 3 (Summer 1964), pp. 881–909Google Scholar
  51. Kenneth N. Waltz, “International Structure, National Force, and the Balance of World Power,” in James N. Rosenau, ed., International Politics and Foreign Policy (New York: Free Press, 1969), pp. 304–314.Google Scholar
  52. 18.
    Karl W. Deutsch and J. David Singer, “Multipolar Power Systems and International Stability,” World Politics, vol. 26, no. 3 (April 1964), p. 390.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 22.
    Louis J. Cantori and Steven L. Spiegel, The International Politics of Regions: A Comparative Approach (Englewood, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970), p. 607;Google Scholar
  54. William R. Thompson, “The Regional Subsystem: A conceptual Explication and a Propositional Inventory,” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 17, no. 1 (March 1973), p. 93;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Michael Banks, “Systems Analysis and the Study of Regions,” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 13, no. 4 (December 1969), p. 357;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Michael Haas, “International Subsystems: Stability and Polarity,” The American Political Science Review, vol. 64, no. 1 (March 1970), pp. 100–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 23.
    Inis L. Claude, Jr., Power and International Relations (New York: Random House, 1962);Google Scholar
  58. R. Harrison Wagner, “The Theory of Games and the Balance of Power,” World Politics, vol. 38, no. 4 (July 1986), pp. 546–576.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 25.
    Jack S. Levy, “The Causes of War: A Review of Theories and Evidence,” in Philip E. Tetlock et al., eds., Behavior, Society and Nuclear War, vol. II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 240–243.Google Scholar
  60. 26.
    John J. Mearsheimer, Conventional Deterrence (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  61. Robert Jervis, “Deterrence Theory Revisited,” World Politics, vol. 31, no. 2 (January 1979), pp. 289–324;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Patrick M. Morgan, Deterrence: A Conceptual Analysis, 2nd ed. (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, 1983).Google Scholar
  63. Robert Jervis, Richard Ned Lebow, and Janice Gross Stein, Psychology and Deterrence (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  64. Christopher H. Achen et al., “The Rational Deterrence Debate: A Symposium,” World Politics, vol. 41, no. 2 (January 1989), pp. 143–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 27.
    Erich Weede, “Overwhelming Preponderance As a Pacifying Condition Among Asian Dyads, 1950–1969,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 20, no. 3 (1976), pp. 395–411;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. David C. Garnham, “Dyadic International War, 1816–1965,” Western Political Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 1 (1976), pp. 231–242;Google Scholar
  67. David C. Garnham, “Power Parity and Lethal International Violence, 1969–1973,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 20, no. 3 (1976), pp. 379–394;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. A. F. K. Organski and Jacek Kugler, The War Ledger (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  69. 28.
    Geoffrey Blainey, The Causes of War, 3rd ed. (New York: Free Press, 1988), pp. 112–114, 181, and 293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. 29.
    Robert O. Keohane, International Institutions and State Power: Essays in International Relations Theory (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989), p. 11Google Scholar
  71. Robert O. Keohane, “International Liberalism Reconsidered,” in John Dunn, ed., Economic Limits to Modern Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1989).Google Scholar
  72. 30.
    Melvin Small and J. David Singer, “The War-Proneness of Democratic Regimes, 1816–1965,” The Jerusalem Journal of International Relations, vol. 1, no. 4 (Summer 1976), pp. 50–69;Google Scholar
  73. Rudolph J. Rummel, “Libertarianism and International Violence,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 27, no. 1 (March 1983), pp. 27–71;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Erich Weede, “Democracy and War Involvement,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 28, no. 4 (December 1984), pp. 649–664;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Steve Chan, “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall … Are the Freer Countries More Pacific?” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 28, no. 4 (December 1984), pp. 617–647;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Harvey Starr, “Democracy and War: Choice, Learning and Security Communities,” Journal of Peace Research, vol. 29, no. 2 (1992), pp. 207–213;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Zeev Maoz and Nasrin Abdolali, “Regime Types and International Conflict, 1816–1976,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 33, no. 1 (March 1989), pp. 3–35;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. David A. Lake, “Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War,” American Political Science Review, vol. 86, no. 1 (March 1992), pp. 24–37;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Randall L. Schweller, “Domestic Structure and Preventive War: Are Democracies More Pacific?” World Politics, vol. 44, no. 2 (January 1992), pp. 235–269;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Carol R. Ember, Melvin Ember, and Bruce M. Russett, “Peace Between Participatory Polities: A Cross-Cultural Test of the ‘Democracies Rarely Fight Each Other’ Hypothesis,” World Politics, vol. 44, no. 4 (July 1992), pp. 573–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. 31.
    Richard N. Rosecrance, The Rise of the Trading State: Commerce and Conquest in the Modern World (New York: Basic Books, 1986), p. ix;Google Scholar
  82. Lord Robbins, Money, Trade and International Relations (London: Macmillan, 1971), especially chapters 9–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Barry Buzan, “Economic Structure and International Security: The Limits of the Liberal Case,” International Organization, vol. 38, no. 4 (Autumn 1984), p. 624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. F. H. Hinsley, Power and the Pursuit of Peace (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), chapters 5 and 6.Google Scholar
  85. 32.
    Inis Claude, Jr., Swords Into Plow Shares: The Problem and Progress of International Organization, 4th ed. (New York: Random House, 1984), pp. 215–244.Google Scholar
  86. 33.
    John B. Allcock et al., Border and Territorial Disputes, 3rd ed. (London, England: Longman Group UK Limited, 1992), pp. 547–611;Google Scholar
  87. Gordon Ireland, Boundaries, Possessions, and Conflicts in South America, (New York: Octagon Books, 1971);Google Scholar
  88. Alan J. Day, Border and Territorial Disputes (Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1982);Google Scholar
  89. Buenos Aires, Argentina; Michael A. Morris and Victor Millán, Controlling Latin America Conflicts: Ten Approaches (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983);Google Scholar
  90. José Thiago Cintra, “Regional Conflicts: Trends in a Period of Transition,” Adelphi Paper, no. 237, Spring 1989 (London: International Institute for Strategic Studies 1989), pp. 94–126;Google Scholar
  91. Virginia Gamba-Stonehouse, Strategy in the Southern Oceans: A South American View (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989);Google Scholar
  92. Philip Kelly and Jack Child, Geopolitics of the Southern Cone and Antarctica (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1988);Google Scholar
  93. Philip Kelly, “Geopolitical Tension Areas in South America: The Question of the Brazilian Territorial Expansion,” in Robert E. Biles, ed., Inter-American Relations: The Latin American Perspective (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1988), pp. 190–209;Google Scholar
  94. Jack Child, Geopolitics and Conflict in South America: Quarrels Among Neighbors (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1985);Google Scholar
  95. Lester D. Langley, The Banana Wars: An Inner History of American Empire, 1900–1934 (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1983);Google Scholar
  96. William R. Garner, The Chaco Dispute: A Study of Prestige Diplomacy (Washington, DC: Public Affairs Press, 1966);Google Scholar
  97. Michael J. Kryzanek, U.S.-Latin American Relations, 2nd. ed. (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers, 1990);Google Scholar
  98. Bryce Wood, The United States and Latin American Wars, 1932–1942 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1966);Google Scholar
  99. Richard J. Bloomfield and Gregory F. Treverton, eds., Alternative to Intervention: A New U.S.-Latin American Security Relationship (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990);Google Scholar
  100. Pope G. Atkins, Latin America in the International Political System, 2nd. ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989);Google Scholar
  101. Diego Abente, “The War of the Triple Alliance: Three Explanatory Models,” Latin American Research Review, vol. 22, no. 2 (1987), pp. 47–69;Google Scholar
  102. James L. Garrett, “The Beagle Channel Dispute: Confrontation and Negotiation in the Southern Cone,” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs, vol. 27, no. 2 (Fall 1985), pp. 81–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Félix E. Martín 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Félix E. Martín

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations