The Effect of Territorial Invasions on Decision-making: A Review of Compellence in the Gulf War and the Falklands War

Open Access
Wang, Joyce Jiyuan
Area of Honors:
International Politics
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert Packer, Thesis Supervisor
  • James A Piazza, Honors Advisor
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Kuwait
  • Iraq
  • Territory
  • invasion
  • Falklands
  • War
  • international politics
  • compellence
  • deterrence
  • Gulf war
Throughout history, there have been numerous examples of weaker states in conflict with major powers. Although faced with a compellent threat and possibility of military involvement of the major states, these weaker states do not comply. These historical anomalies are not able to be explained with rational choice theory because this does not take into account cognitive factors. Prospect theory offers a bounded rationality model that explains why weaker states are not compelled by focusing on the domains of the leader. Prospect theory currently lacks a theory of framing for domains but it can be assumed a fear of loss of aspirations and audience costs would lead to a domain of loss. In specific instances involving territorial invasions of a protégé's territory made by the adversary state, the leader can assume he will be unable to achieve his aspirations and his power base will punish him domestically if he is unable to maintain his initial action. The two cases examined include instances involving an adversary's decision for a territorial invasion and the subsequent effect this produces on the decision-making processes of the adversary.