A lot of discussion on Ukraine has focused on the implications of Russia reclaiming Crimean territory. These two studies provide empirical evidence and theoretical support showing that typically irredenta are more violent than secessions and that leaders who choose to annex territory are driven by limited constraints internationally and domestically. Questions of salience and gravity of threat are examined as a basis for explaining high levels of violence.
One of the growing debates among students of international politics concerns the precise linkage between ethnic conflict and international conflict. The present investigation attempts to contribute to this dialogue in three ways. First, prior studies of ethnic conflict and international relations are reappraised in terms of the central concepts and presumed causal linkage, leading to several changes in approach. Specifically, a typology of ethnic conflicts is devised deductively, including a rank ordering of types of ethnic conflicts in terms of the impact they have on levels of international violence. Second, testing focuses on the presumed ordering of ethnic conflicts from anti-colonial, secessionist and irredentist utilizing data from the International Crisis Behaviour Project on cases in the period 1945-81. A set of bivariate and multivariate indicators and an index of violence are used in the assessment of the proposed impact ethnic conflicts have on interstate violence. Four of the five propositions are confirmed. Third, the paper offers some preliminary conclusions about the policy and theoretical implications of the international dimensions of ethnic conflict, including directions for future research.