External Intervention and the Politics of State Formation
This book explores ways foreign intervention and external rivalries can affect the institutionalization of governance in weak states. When sufficiently competitive, foreign rivalries in a weak state can actually foster the political centralization, territoriality and autonomy associated with state sovereignty. This counterintuitive finding comes from studying the collective effects of foreign contestation over a weak state as informed by changes in the expected opportunity cost of intervention for outside actors. When interveners associate high opportunity costs with intervention, they bolster sovereign statehood as a next best alternative to their worst fear - domination of that polity by adversaries. Sovereign statehood develops if foreign actors concurrently and consistently behave this way toward a weak state. This book evaluates that argument against three 'least likely' cases - China, Indonesia and Thailand between the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries.