International Relations

Tug of War: Government-Military Power Struggles and International Conflict



This paper investigates the effect of domestic power sharing between a government and its military on a state's propensity for international conflict. It uses a model of domestic political interactions in which the government and military have common interests in the state's security and conflicting interests over the distribution of domestic benefits. An activity available to the military may help or harm the state's security, and whether the expected outcome is positive or negative is known only to the military. The model shows that government steps to consolidate domestic power can lead the military to engage in activity that is more likely than not to harm the state's security, although, without the pressures of domestic politics, it would prefer to refrain from the activity. The paper thus elucidates a mechanism by which states with substantial domestic power sharing between governmental and military leaders have a greater propensity for international conflict.


Thumbnail image of Sartori APSA 9-6-22.pdf


Log in or register with APSA to comment
Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting and Discussion Policy [opens in a new tab] – please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .