Opportunity and Willingness as a Pre-Theoretical Framework in Explaining Wars

ULUSLARARASI İLİŞKİLER, VOLUME 15, NUMBER 59, 2018  

Burak Bilgehan ÖZPEK*

ABSTRACT

Grand theories of international relations seek to produce general patterns, which are supposedly valid across time and space, yet fail to address particular actors and cases. According to Benjamin Most and Harvey Starr “general” and “universal” models, which only operate under certain explicitly prescribed conditions, do not suffice to generate a systemic understanding of foreign policy decisions and international phenomenon. The pre-theoretical framework of “opportunity and willingness,” which Most and Starr develop, produces a general model to analyze world affairs in a consistent way. This framework does not highlight any concrete factor such as power preponderance, regime type, and composition of elite or polarity as a condition for an international phenomenon. Instead, “opportunity and willingness” is more interested in what these factors represent and how these factors shape state behaviors. In other words, the “opportunity and willingness” framework suggests a model that still enables generalizations but also has power to explain particular cases.

Keywords: Pre-theoretical Framework, Opportunity and Willingness, Conflict

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* Assoc. Prof. Dr., Department of Political Science and International Relations, TOBB ETU, Ankara.


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