Territorial Diversion: Diversionary Theory of War and Territorial Conflict

  title={Territorial Diversion: Diversionary Theory of War and Territorial Conflict},
  author={Jaroslav Tir},
  journal={The Journal of Politics},
  pages={413 - 425}
  • J. Tir
  • Published 1 April 2010
  • Political Science
  • The Journal of Politics
According to the diversionary theory of war, unpopular leaders generate foreign policy crises to both divert the public’s attention away from the discontent with their rule and bolster their political fortunes through a rally around the flag effect. I argue that the puzzling lack of clear empirical support for the theory may be due to the underspecification of the theoretical mechanism through which the public reacts to the particular issue at the center of the diversionary “crisis.” Because… 

Diversionary Politics and Territorial Disputes: Evidence from Turkish Airspace Incursions

Diversionary theories of interstate conflict suggest that domestic problems push leaders to initiate hostilities against foreign foes in order to garner support. However, the empirical support for

Authoritarian media and diversionary threats: lessons from 30 years of Syrian state discourse

Abstract Scholars have long argued that leaders manipulate foreign policy, sometimes even initiating wars in order to enhance their domestic political position. But diversionary wars are relatively

Regime Vulnerability and the Diversionary Threat of Force

In this article, I move beyond prior efforts to explore the relationship between the risk of a coup and international conflict by considering alternatives that leaders can utilize to strengthen their

Playing the Ethnic Card: Diversion, Transborder Ethnic Ties, and Sponsorship of Rebel Movements

Under what circumstances do third-party states oppose governments that marginalize their ethnic kin in foreign civil conflicts? We argue that the effect of transborder ethnic ties on third-party

Contested Ground: Disentangling Material and Symbolic Attachment to Disputed Territory

Territorial disputes are prone to conflict because of the value of territory to publics, whether due to its strategic and material worth, or to its intangible, symbolic value. Yet despite the

Settled Borders and Regime Type: Democratic Transitions as Consequences of Peaceful Territorial Transfers

Research arguing that external threats determine regime type has generally failed to provide systematic evidence in favor of the peace-to-democracy hypothesis. We suspect that the lack of

Nuclear Diversion Theory and Legitimacy Crisis: The Case of Iran

Can an insecure regime use nuclear diversion to address its eroding domestic legitimacy? This article argues that facing a domestic legitimacy crisis, a regime might opt to “rally round the nuclear

Single-party government, Prime Minister psychology, and the diversionary use of force: theory and evidence from the British case

ABSTRACT This paper develops expectations about the likelihood of diversionary conflict initiation by parliamentary democracies with single-party majoritarian (SPM) governments. While most of the

Principles of Conflict Economics

Conflict economics contributes to an understanding of violent conflict in two important ways. First, it applies economic analysis to diverse conflict activities such as war, arms races, and



Domestic-Level Diversionary Theory of War

According to the diversionary war theory, problematic domestic circumstances motivate a country's leader to divert popular discontent by launching a militarized international crisis. Yet, empirical

Domestic Discontent and the External Use of Force

Although the diversionary theory of international conflict is intuitively plausible and is supported by much anecdotal evidence, quantitative tests generally have failed to establish a systemic link

Domestic Support and Diversionary External Conflict in Great Britain, 1950- 1992

Recent studies have analyzed the diversionary theory of international conflict. The theory, which holds that state leaders occasionally turn to external conflict as a means of dealing with domestic

Rivalry and Diversionary Uses of Force

Scholars have argued for some time that the rally ’round the flag phenomenon creates incentives for political leaders to use military force to divert attention away from domestic turmoil. It is

Democracy and Conflict Management: Territorial Claims in the Western Hemisphere Revisited

Research confirms that interdemocratic conflicts are more likely to be resolved peacefully. However, do the usual results hold up for especially contentious issues such as territory ? We use issue

Does the Diversionary Use of Force Threaten the Democratic Peace? Assessing the Effect of Economic Growth on Interstate Conflict, 1921-2001

A democratic leader, anticipating a “rally ‘round the flag effect,” may have an incentive to divert attention from domestic economic problems by becoming involved in military conflict abroad,

Averting Armed International Conflicts Through State-to-State Territorial Transfers

This study examines how changes in land's ownership (i.e., territorial transfers) influence the prospects of future armed conflict between countries gaining and losing land. The losing country is

Domestic Structures and the Diversionary Use of Force

Theory: This paper reformulates diversionary theory to take into account the effect of domestic structures on the propensity of leaders to use foreign policy to manipulate domestic politics.

Redrawing the Map to Promote Peace: Territorial Dispute Management via Territorial Changes

  • M. Ward
  • Sociology
    Perspectives on Politics
  • 2008
Redrawing the Map to Promote Peace: Territorial Dispute Management via Territorial Changes. By Jaroslav Tir. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press, 2006. 169p. $65.00 cloth, $23.95 paper. Geography has for too


I organize this review and assessment of the literature on the causes of war around a levels-of-analysis framework and focus primarily on balance of power theories, power transition theories, the