Rhetoric versus reality: Rogue states in interstate conflict

Mary Caprioli, Peter F. Trumbore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The term rogue state has become part of the common language of American foreign policy, and the assumptions made by policy makers about the international conduct of these actors - that they represent aggressive threats to international peace and security - have become entrenched at the center of U.S. foreign and defense policies. The central assumption of rogue state aggressiveness, however, has not been empirically tested. This project fills that gap. The authors first identify those states that, since 1980, have consistently been described as rogues by policy makers, as well as other states that evince the objective characteristics said to qualify a state for rogue status. When the authors examine these states' interstate conflict behavior as a group, they find that they are no more likely to become involved in militarized interstate disputes, no more likely to initiate militarized action, and no more likely to use force first than nonrogue states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)770-791
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2005

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • American foreign policy
  • Conflict
  • Rogue states


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