© 2018

A Century of Crisis and Conflict in the International System

Theory and Evidence: Intellectual Odyssey III


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Michael Brecher
    Pages 1-22
  3. Michael Brecher
    Pages 23-52
  4. Michael Brecher
    Pages 83-129
  5. Michael Brecher
    Pages 131-146
  6. Michael Brecher
    Pages 315-326
  7. Michael Brecher
    Pages 327-341
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 343-419

About this book


This book is designed to present a fully developed theory of international crisis and conflict, along with substantial evidence of these two closely related phenomena. The book begins with a discussion of these topics at a theoretical level, defining and elaborating on core concepts: international crisis, interstate conflict, severity, and impact. This is followed by a discussion of the international system, along with two significant illustrations, the Berlin Blockade crisis (1948) and the India-Pakistan crisis over Kashmir (1965-66). The book then presents a unified model of crisis, focusing on the four phases of an international crisis, which incorporate the four periods of foreign policy crises for individual states. Findings from thirteen conflicts representing six regional clusters are then analyzed, concluding with a set of hypotheses and evidence on conflict onset, persistence, and resolution.


conflict international relations case studies IR theory escalation crisis management leadership charismatic leaders

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.McGill UniversityMontrealCanada

About the authors

Michael Brecher is the R.B. Angus Professor of Political Science at McGill University, Canada.

Bibliographic information


“This book is an outstanding achievement in scholarship.  A fully developed theory of conflict processes at the international level is developed and tested in this comprehensive study. It is an original combination of concept formation, hypotheses and testing that showcases the unrivalled resources of the International Crisis Behavior Project. This work is essential reading for those with interests in International Relations in particular and the social sciences in general.” (Patrick James, Dornsife Dean’s Professor, School of International Relations, University of Southern California, USA)

“This is an amazing summary and autobiographical reflection of the origins and evolution of the ICB project by its founder.  It is the most systematic review of the theory and findings of one of the most important data-based project on interstate conflict in the field. His personal reflections make this fascinating book for those who want to know how research is done. The summary of results makes it an essential work for scholars, students, and those concerned with policy.” (John A. Vasquez, Mackie Scholar in International Relations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA)

“Michael Brecher's authoritative volume gives us the language and conceptual framework to explain the dynamics of international crises and protracted conflicts in the international system. Readers will better understand the evolution of the intellectual debates surrounding the study of international conflict and peace, they will gain new insight into the core case studies, and, most of all, they will develop a multifaceted toolkit to aid in their own exploration of international crisis behavior.” (Kyle Beardsley, Co-Director of the International Crisis Behavior data project, Duke University, USA)