Taming the Leviathan: Examining the Impact of External Threat on State Strength

Conference paper

Lektzian, David & Brandon C. Prins (2004) Taming the Leviathan: Examining the Impact of External Threat on State Strength, presented at the 45th Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, 17-20 March.

Abstract: With increasing interdependence, there has been talk of a post-nation-state world. Yet, the state continues to survive and even thrive in the post-9/11 world. Despite technological advances in both communications and transportation that tend to erode cross-state distinctions, the nation-state still functions as the primary political, economic, and cultural unit that people recognize. While considerable theoretical and empirical attention has focused on the relationship between domestic political institutions and processes and foreign policy decision-making (so called second image relationships), less is known about the changes wrought domestically as a result of systemic or structural forces. If states have been primarily created to protect one group from predation by another, then the state may visibly change as external threats rise and fall. We think a generalizable link exists between state capacity and systemic insecurity. Dangerous neighborhoods should be populated by strong states.

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