[7]
Conclusion

"Revolutions . . . occurred and will always occur so long as human nature remains the same."

— Thucydides

"In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end."

— Alexis de Tocqueville

This book has explored some of the ways that revolutions affect international politics, focusing primarily on the relationship between revolution and war. I argued that revolutions alter the balance of threats between states, leading to more intense security competition and a heightened probability of war. I tested and refined this argument by examining three major revolutions in detail—those of France, Russia, and Iran—as well as four additional cases where the fit between theory and reality was less obvious.

Four tasks remain. The first is to summarize and compare the results of the seven case studies, in order to highlight the principal theoretical conclusions we may infer from these events. The second is to identify the policy implications of these results: when a revolution occurs, what precautions should other states take? What actions should they avoid? The third is to sketch what the theory tells us about the recent collapse of the Soviet empire and its effects on the likelihood of war. The final task is to consider the long‐ term relevance of this study: is mass revolution a fading phenomenon, or are the problems caused by past revolutions likely to occur in the future?


REVOLUTION, SECURITY COMPETITION, AND WAR

The cases examined in this book confirm that revolutions increase the intensity of security competition between states and raise the probability of war. Although war did not occur in every case, each regime came close to war soon after gaining power and each revolution fostered greater security competition among the other major powers. The occurrence of revolution

-331-

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Revolution and War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Revolution and War *
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - A Theory of Revolution and War 18
  • 3 - The French Revolution 46
  • 4 - The Russian Revolution 129
  • 5 - The Iranian Revolution 210
  • 6 - The American, Mexican, Turkish, and Chinese Revolutions 269
  • 7 - Conclusion 331
  • Index 353
  • Cornell Studies in Security Affairs *
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