"Volatile Times: How Power and Interests Shape States' Behavior in International Affairs"

Not all relations between countries are created equal, not even those that are just as notoriously hostile. Interactions between India and Pakistan in the past decade, for example, display much greater volatility than those between Cuba and the United States. India's policies toward Pakistan and Pakistan's policies toward India fluctuated, often inconsistently, between cooperative events (bilateral talks, enhanced cultural and military exchanges, and so on) and conflictual ones (such as accusations, military exercises at the border, etc.). Cuba’s policies toward the US, by contrast, remained conflictual, and vice-versa.

Why do in some cases relations between countries are more volatile than in other cases?

This book challenges the common view that foreign policy volatility is mere noise. Instead, the book offers the first systematic account of when and why relations become volatile in the international system. It demonstrates that volatility is the outcome of a perfect storm: the presence of superior relative power in the international system and the unbridled completion of domestic interests. Triangulating between a deep historical approach via archival research and a systematic statistical analysis via time series, the book brings together history, economics, and political science to create a comprehensive account of major foreign policy interactions between allies and rivals in the past sixty years.

Scholars, activists, and practitioners of international relations will find the book useful to grasp what constraints and what enables decision-makers seeking to conduct/juggle their everyday activity in the international arena; when the outcome of this daily activity might be volatile foreign policy behavior; and the implications that volatility has in the international arena.