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Bones of Contention: Comparing Territirial, Maritime, and River Issues

Paul R. Hensel, Sara McLaughlin Mitchell, Thomas E. Sowers II and Clayton L. Thyne
The Journal of Conflict Resolution
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 2008), pp. 117-143
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27638597
Page Count: 27
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Bones of Contention: Comparing Territirial, Maritime, and River Issues
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Abstract

Contentious issues are important sources of militarized conflict. This article advances an issue-based approach to world politics, focusing on disagreements over territory, maritime zones, and cross-border rivers. We characterize militarized conflict and peaceful techniques as substitutable foreign policy tools that states can adopt to resolve disagreements over issues, and we present hypotheses to account for issue management based on issue salience and recent interaction over the same issue. Empirical analyses reveal that states are more likely to use both militarized conflict and peaceful methods when the issue at stake is more salient, both when the general issue type is considered more salient and when the specific issue under contention has greater within-issue salience. Recent issue management also plays an important role, as histories of both militarized conflict and failed peaceful settlements increase pressure to take further action to settle the issue.

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