King's College London

Research portal

Theorizing Territorial Withdrawal: The Need to Think Strategically

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Early online date9 Sep 2019
Accepted/In press23 Aug 2019
E-pub ahead of print9 Sep 2019

King's Authors


This article examines what factors cause states to withdraw from foreign territorial interventions. Scholarly analyses of withdrawal are rare, whilst within the broader research area of territorial conflict, studies are often dichotomized into neorealist or constructivist-inspired works, emphasizing a select few variables and one level of analysis alone. We argue these excessive simplifications of international politics lack utility for understanding territorial withdrawal. Instead, we employ the principles of strategic theory informed by a Clausewitzian paradigm, and construct a framework of three “arenas of bargaining,” spanning multiple variable-types and levels of analysis, to explain territorial withdrawal. In so doing, the analysis delineates a comprehensible and novel theoretical framework for understanding an under-researched policy problem.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454