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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Empirical analysis of the relationship between interstate conflict behavior and military capability in Africa Coward , John Douglas


This thesis represents an attempt to investigate whether differences in military capability between African states influences interstate conflict behavior. Although all African states attaining independence prior to January 1, 1965 were included in the study for the entire four year period (1964-1967), geographic limitations on potential conflict interaction restricted the dyad observations to those existing between contiguous states. Military capability as used here was represented by two indicators; armed forces personnel in thousands of men and military expenditures in millions of U.S. dollars. Interstate conflict behavior on the other hand consisted of four composite measures: diplomatic hostility, negative behavior, unofficial interstate conflict and official military conflict. For the purpose of testing the relationship as hypothesized, the former constituted the independent variables while the latter functioned as the dependent ones. Cross-sectional analysis of these six variables over the four year period revealed only a slight relationship between the dependent and independent sets of variables. Time series analysis confirmed that the relationship was at the most marginal and indicated that its tenuous existence came under conditions of reversed causality as opposed to the causal direction hypothesized. Notwithstanding these rather negative results there were nevertheless some interesting findings which appear to be relevant for future research. Interstate conflict is a diminishing feature of intra-African relations and that conflict behavior which persists tends to take the form of covert as opposed to overt hostility. African states seem to prefer particular techniques for expressing this hostility and tend to escalate within the confines instead of across dimensions of conflict behavior. This would indicate a need for research on the causes of these phenomena and, in particular, emphasis on conflict resolution analyses.

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