Against preparations for a new war--for a five-power peace by A Vyshinsky

By A Vyshinsky

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Additional info for Against preparations for a new war--for a five-power peace pact;: Speech at United Nations Political Committee on November 16, 1949

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Thus far, the effects of oil and revolution on a state’s level of aggression have been considered separately. I now turn to their interaction, which offers a new insight and a clear testable hypothesis. 47 Oil increases one of those costs (to the state), but lowers the other (the risk to the leader). The difference in the type of cost, and who bears it, generates an important asymmetry. One effect of oil is to raise the cost of conflict to the state as a whole, due to the prospect of disrupted oil sales.

As just discussed, one of the special properties of oil income is that it is easily centralized and controlled by the state. 43 Political autonomy allows the leader to take decisions that differ from the preferences of the domestic audience. 44 The lower risk of leader punishment due to international conflict is evident in a number of petrostates. Saddam Hussein led his country into a costly and bloody war with Iran that ended after eight years in little gain for either side; yet he was not removed from office.

My argument draws on existing research on the resource curse, which suggests that oil erodes domestic political accountability due to the ease with which oil revenues can be centralized and controlled by the state’s leadership. I show that the resource curse extends into international politics, and use it conceptually as a building block for the theory of petro-aggression developed in this chapter. My theory focuses on how state preferences for aggression are formed. 1 I extend previous work by arguing that revolutions tend to select risk-tolerant, ambitious leaders who increase their state’s propensity for instigating conflict.

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