Proxy Wars

Proxy Wars

Suppressing Violence through Local Agents

The most common image of world politics involves states negotiating, cooperating, or sometimes fighting with one another; billiard balls in motion on a global pool table. Yet working through local proxies or agents, through what Eli Berman and David A. Lake call a strategy of 'indirect control', has always been a central tool of foreign policy. Understanding how countries motivate local allies to act in sometimes costly ways, and when and how that strategy succeeds, is essential to effective foreign policy in today's world.

In this splendid collection, Berman and Lake apply a variant of principal-agent theory in which the alignment of interests or objectives between a powerful state and a local proxy is central. Through analysis of nine detailed cases, Proxy Wars finds that: when principals use rewards and punishments tailored to the agent's domestic politics, proxies typically comply with their wishes; when the threat to the principal or the costs to the agent increase, the principal responds with higher-powered incentives and the proxy responds with greater effort; if interests diverge too much, the principal must either take direct action or admit that indirect control is unworkable.

Covering events from Denmark under the Nazis to the Korean War to contemporary Afghanistan, and much in between, the chapters in Proxy Wars engage many disciplines and will suit classes taught in political science, economics, international relations, security studies, and much more.

David A. Lake

David A. Lake is Jerri-Ann and Gary E. Jacobs Professor of Social Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of The Statebuilder’s Dilemma: On the Limits of Foreign Intervention, and Hierarchy in International Relations and the coeditor of Politics in the New Hard Times: The Great Recession in Comparative Perspective and The State and American Foreign Economic Policy, all from Cornell University Press.


The Statebuilder's Dilemma
On the Limits of Foreign Intervention
David A. Lake
In The Statebuilder's Dilemma, David A. Lake addresses the key tradeoff between legitimacy and loyalty common to all international statebuilding...



Hierarchy in International Relations
David A. Lake
International relations are generally understood as a realm of anarchy in which countries lack any superior authority and interact within a Hobbesian state of nature. In Hierarchy in International Relations, David A. Lake challenges this traditional...



Power, Protection, and Free Trade
International Sources of U.S. Commercial Strategy, 1887–1939
David A. Lake
Why do nations so frequently abandon unrestricted international commerce in favor of trade protectionism? David A. Lake contends that the dominant explanation, interest group theory, does not adequately explain American trade strategy or address the contradictory elements of cooperation and conflict that shape the international economy. Power...





Contributions:

Politics in the New Hard Times
The Great Recession in Comparative Perspective
Although economic explanations for the Great Recession have proliferated, the political causes and consequences of the crisis have received less systematic attention. This is the first book to focus on it as a political rather than an economic crisis.



The State and American Foreign Economic Policy
How has the U.S. government made the nation's foreign economic policy over the last hundred years? Social scientists have traditionally presented the American state as relatively weak, its policies as directly reflecting the domestic balance of...









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