Nationalist Protests, Government Responses, and the Risk of Escalation in Interstate Disputes
Security Studies 25:3, July 2016
46 Pages Posted: 15 May 2014 Last revised: 7 Oct 2018
Date Written: July 18, 2014
While the existing literature emphasizes that elites often have incentives to pander to nationalist sentiment, much less attention has been paid to elite efforts to subdue popular nationalism, either to avoid unwanted domestic instability or international escalation. This article examines how different governments respond to nationalist protests and the resulting effects that such protests have on the risk that interstate disputes will escalate to armed conflict. We emphasize the importance of regime type, arguing that nationalist protests present particular dangers in transitional or hybrid regimes, where demonstrations often pose serious threats of instability but are difficult or costly for the government to subdue, tempting or forcing leaders to escalate to appease domestic critics. We illustrate the theory with four cases representing a range of regime types: Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation