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.