Treaty-making, War and Peace: Preliminary Empirical Findings
In an attempt to assess the extent to which international lawmaking may have played a latent political role in the interwar period, the broad operational hypothesis of this chapter is that, ceteris paribus, more lawmaking means less chance of war: dyads which established or developed an extensive treaty network during the 1920s and 1930s, in comparison with those that did not, were less likely to engage in warfare at the end of the period precisely because of the diplomatic contact, negotiation and compromise engendered by the treaty-making process itself. In an important sense this ‘reconstructed idealist hypothesis’ goes beyond the Churchillian cliché that it is better to jaw jaw than war-war: the hypothesis that is in effect being tested is that in certain contexts extensive and prolonged jaw-jawing-in the form of treaty-making-can serve to inhibit the resort to war.
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