He tests three competing theories—realism, misperception, and domestic coalition politics—against five detailed case studies: early twentieth-century Germany, Japan in the interwar period, Great Britain in the Victorian era, the Soviet Union after World War II, and the United States during the Cold War. The resulting insights run counter to much that has been written about these apparently familiar instances of empire building.
Drawing on new historical evidence of the specific circumstances surrounding French, German, and Russian strategic policy, Snyder demonstrates that it is not only rational analysis that determines strategic doctrine, but also the attitudes of military planners. Snyder argues that the use of rational calculation often falls victim to the pursuit of organizational interests such as autonomy, prestige, growth, and wealth. Furthermore, efforts to justify the preferred policy bring biases into strategists' decisions—biases reflecting the influences of parochial interests and preconceptions, and those resulting from attempts to simplify unduly their analytical tasks.
The frightening lesson here is that doctrines can be destabilizing even when weapons are not, because doctrine may be more responsive to the organizational needs of the military than to the implications of the prevailing weapons technology. By examining the historical failure of offensive doctrine, Jack Snyder makes a valuable contribution to the literature on the causes of war.
* the institutional legacy of empire
* the social processes unleashed by imperial collapse
* patterns of bargaining within and between states to resolve conflicts arising out of the imperial collapse
* the impact of the wider international setting on the pattern of post-imperial politics
Focusing on the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, the contributors show how strong state institutions are essential if conflict and political instability are to be avoided.
Exploring a liberal realist theory of international politics, the book is arranged around three key subject areas:
Anarchy and Its Effects The Challenges of Democratic Consolidation Empire and the Promotion of a Liberal Order
With a new introduction to frame the selected essays, this collection examines how developing nations evolve political systems, and fit into a world dominated by liberal-democracies. It looks to the future for the current dominant powers in a changing world of international relations and at the challenges to their leadership. Featuring a new conclusion, developed from the assembled chapters, this is a fascinating and vital collection of scholarship from one of the most influential theorists of his generation.
Power and Progress is an invaluable text for students and scholars of international relations, and those interested in the debates on liberalism and realism, and comparative politics.