In This Review
Revolution and War

Revolution and War

By Stephen M. Walt

Cornell University Press, 1996, 351 pp.

The author seeks to explain why revolutionary states often become embroiled in wars with their neighbors. The answer, derived from detailed case studies of the French, Russian, and Iranian revolutions, is unsurprising: revolutions usually augur a shift in the ‘balance of threat,’ which, when coupled with the spiral of suspicion caused by the interaction of offensive and defensive military strategies, leads to conflict. The author seeks to preserve the validity of the realist paradigm by substituting balance of threat for balance of power as the major factor. In so doing he admits a whole range of domestic variables (intention, ideology, perceptions) into the realist model and transforms it into something quite different.