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Power Politics and Wars without States


  • For help with data collection I thank Gabriel Uriarte. For comments and advice I thank Glenn Palmer, Jacek Kugler, Pat Regan, Errol Henderson, Cameron Thies, Mark Crescenzi, Mark Peceny, Chris Butler, David Myers, Michael Bernhard, and the anonymous referees selected by the editor.

Douglas Lemke is associate professor of political science, Pennsylvania State University, 205 Pond Lab, University Park, PA 16802 (


In order to evaluate the applicability of power politics theories of war and international stability to interactions among nonstate actors, I test hypotheses from power transition theory and from neorealist arguments about systemic polarity against the behavior of 20 state and nonstate actors in nineteenth-century South America. I find considerable support for two of the three hypotheses tested and conclude that existing IR theory has more explanatory power within the empirical domain of nonstate relations than critics of such theory claim.