Dangerous weapons : arms transfer, interstate conflict, and dependence
This study is an attempt to contribute to the international security literature by illuminating why countries bolster their own security by acquiring weapons from other countries, how these acquisitions affect their propensity to initiate interstate conflict, and what policies do they adopt so as to prevent overdependence on external suppliers. I begin by demonstrating that arms transfer literature is overly focused on the suppliers' perspective. Therefore, I clarify the motivations that drive a country to import weapons. Next, I tie these motivations with the likelihood of a country taking aggressive action against its neighbor and empirically this proposition. Subsequently, I compare arms transfer with alliances which is known in the literature as a substitute to arming. I find that arms imports do increase both 'opportunity' and 'willingness' of recipients to initiate a militarized interstate dispute but that alliances in the presence of arms imports do not have any significant effect. Finally, I use case studies of India and China to illustrate on two divergent paths to mitigating the effects of overreliance on overseas arms suppliers. In the course of this investigation I uncover the economic, political, bureaucratic, ideological, and foreign policy that drive countries' arms importing behavior. The study aims to provide a more complete picture of the worldwide arms trade by highlighting the recipients' perspective which was thus far missing from the literature.
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