Democracies and the Territorial Peace

 Last Monday I posted about the water cannon fight between Japan and Taiwan.  This exchange meets the definition of a militarized dispute since Japanese coast guard vessels engaged Taiwanese patrol boats.  Both of these countries are also democracies, but our principal theory of international relations suggests that democracies do not fight each other.  So, does this prove one of our best theories wrong? Read More

The Long Run Dynamics of Territorial Disputes

In my last post I suggested that public reactions of nationalism and political intolerance in Japan and China in the wake of the recent Senkaku Islands dispute actually follow a pattern similar to most other territorial disputes. Here, I describe the possible long-term effects of territorial issues like these—when territorial disputes remain unresolved and both states continue to be threats to the other. Read More

Why Do States Care about the Senkaku Islands?

This is a guest post by Doug Gibler. The recent row between China and Japan over sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, as well as the water cannon fight between Taiwan and Japan, has highlighted again the importance of territorial issues in interstate relations.  The dispute led the New York Times to speculate on other possible conflicts around the globe (perhaps fancifully), and the Monkey Cage has covered what the protests mean for both countries.  What hasn’t been asked is why disputes like these matter so much for the countries involved.  Why are a few rocks in the middle of the ocean so important? Read More