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Major powers’ management of complex peace relationships

Reşat Bayer (Department of International Relations, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 13 July 2023

Issue publication date: 15 January 2024




This study aims to contribute to discussions on peace between hostile nonmajor powers by focusing on the behavior of major powers. Specifically, alliances between nonmajor and major powers are explored to determine whether such ties contribute to transitions to higher levels of peace. Moreover, systemic factors involving power dynamics and relationships between major powers are also evaluated.


Multiple data sets which altogether covered the era from 1816 to 2010 were analyzed. All pairs of countries that were former foes were considered. Cox hazard regression was conducted.


Systemic instability is influential at transitions from lowest levels of peace for nonmajor power dyads. Eras where major powers are operating multilaterally appear to play a highly limited role in nonmajor powers attaining stable peace. However, alliances with major powers are relatively more crucial in these discussions for nonmajor powers and contribute to higher levels of peace being attained by nonmajor powers.

Research limitations/implications

Further research in particular with case studies can help to elucidate and extend the statistical findings.

Practical implications

Based on the findings, the design and operations of alliances can create more space to hear a wider range of issues that allies can be facing.


While major powers clearly have considerable capacity and global outreach, there has been little attention to whether and how they contribute to former foes attaining higher quality of peace.



Reşat Bayer thanks the Arie Kacowicz, Galia Press-Barnathan, editors and reviewers for their suggestions.


Bayer, R. (2024), "Major powers’ management of complex peace relationships", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 61-80.



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