Scott Wolford Profile picture
Aug 30, 2019 8 tweets 3 min read Read on X
My #APSA2019 paper, on how coalitions end their wars...and why World War I ended in armistice, not the "knockout" the Allies had sought for so long. (1/x)…
Why did the Great War end (in the West) not with a bang but with a whimper? Turns out its part of a general problem of shifting power inside a war coalition. (2/x)
Britain and France knew that, if the war went into 1919, the US would be even more powerful, with more boots on the Continent, and Wilson would be well-positioned to dominate the peace settlement, which made an armistice look attractive. (3/x)
Wilson, for his part, didn't have the stakes---like survival as a great power---and Britain and France did, so he was more willing to gamble on the German promise of democratization to make its commitment to the peace credible. (4/x)
So Entente fears of rising American power, combined with lower American stakes, led to an "early" end to the war, based on a faulty solution to the commitment problem. (5/x)
But that combination of not-too-rapidly rising power and lower stakes is the exception; if power were rising faster (say if Br hadn't been slowing the flow of doughboys) or if the US weren't so distant from the German threat, then the model predicts a fight to the finish. (6/x)
So what do we learn? Bargains struck *within* warring sides (btwn friends) can have as much to say about how and why wars end as bargaining that occurs across warring sides (btwn enemies). (7/x)
Also worth noting that this paper sprang from initial ideas that I put down here, in my textbook,… and here, for @monkeycageblog:… (8/8)

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More from @thescottwolford

Sep 29, 2020
Some quick, inchoate thoughts on prosecuting ex-presidents, following @profmusgrave's very good piece in @ForeignPolicy. Assuming this guy goes peacefully, which ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, then... (1/x)
Seems like you need sufficient GOP buy-in to make a prosecution work. Co-partisans shouldn't have incentives to make the ex-POTUS a martyr. *Ideally*, otherwise-tainted GOPers go on Fox News and say that cleansing their party of Trump is a good idea. (2/x)
But they may only do that if they know they won't be thrown out with the (filthy, fetid) bathwater. That means some detestable characters will get an off-ramp. (3/x)
Read 6 tweets
Sep 4, 2020
#APSA2020 paper with @hilango and @curtismbell, on the link between oil discovery and coup attempts:… (1/x) Image
We show that oil wealth itself is unrelated to coup attempts, but proved yet unexploited oil reserves create a commitment problem (2/x)
The government can either coup-proof or placate plotters once oil wealth comes online, but in the interim, when future power is known but unrealized, militaries may attempt to topple the government (3/x)
Read 6 tweets
Jun 22, 2020
Pandemic #wolfording is getting ready for a retooled undergrad Causes of War syllabus, now with more about America crushing the Slavers’ Rebellion (1/x) Image
I've started following my #WWIinrealtime model, where students read the history and then learn the political science--the act of theory building---in class (2/x)
In the past, I've spent most of the time in Europe and Asia, tracking the upheavals in both regions that occurred in the first half of the 20th century and gave us today's pattern of alignments (3/x)
Read 8 tweets
Mar 4, 2020
I try to keep this account separate from my @cmpseditors role, but I've got what I hope is some useful advice about dealing with reviews as an author... especially as I've gone from *awful* at it early in my career to something just shy of awful these days. (1/6)
First, my modal result is rejection. (Like, with modal a capital M.) But I treat *all* rejections as R&Rs. I always assume that the reviewers are onto something...and that those same folks might review the paper again. (2/6)
Second, for R&Rs, I write the response memo first (and in great detail). I work out a plan before executing it, then make adjustments to the memo as necessary. But I like having a justified plan. Only *after* that do I write a new version of the paper. (3/6)
Read 6 tweets
Jan 14, 2020
My latest, "War and Diplomacy on the World Stage," now available ahead of print at the Journal of Theoretical Politics:… (1/x) Image
Asks what happens when states want to signal resolve to an enemy and restraint to a potential supporter/balancer, and shows that achieving one may preclude the other. (2/x)
Prove to your opponent that you're willing to fight, and you may prove to an observer that you're worth balancing against; prove to that observer you're restrained, and you may still tempt your opponent to risk war. (3/x)
Read 4 tweets
Dec 30, 2019
New working paper, Coalition Politics and War Termination, with some game-theoretic models, a case study of the end of WWI on the Western Front, and a null-result Cox model *in the lit review*.…

(1/x) Image
This one came directly from teaching #WWIinrealtime: after years of talking about military victory, why did the Allies grant Germany an armistice they knew would be fragile in 1918?

I wrote down a model where (a) coalition partners have to agree to grant an armistice if their opponent asks for one and (b) one partner will get a larger share of the postwar pie if the war continues than if the war ends today.

Read 6 tweets

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