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Painful Choices by David A. Welch

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Chapter 3

USELESS ISLANDS DISPUTES

NATURE RARELY blesses students of international politics with good-quality experimental controls, but a notable exception—relatively speaking—may be found in the contrast between Argentina’s attempt to resolve by force of arms its longstanding territorial dispute with Britain over the Falkland/Malvinas Islands,1 and Japan’s reluctance to do anything but lobby to resolve its not-quite-so-longstanding territorial dispute with the Soviet Union (and its successor state, Russia) over what the Japanese call the “Northern Territories” and what the Russians call the “Southern Kurils.”2 The first was an unambiguously dramatic change in policy—a sudden shift from pure diplomacy to coercive diplomacy, as it were. On the ...

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