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International Futures Help System

Threat Level

The threat that any state poses to another (and which may lead to conflict, war, or nothing) is affected by many factors. IFs conceptualizes of threat in concrete terms, namely the probability of what is called a militarized international dispute (MID).

IFs approaches calculation of that threat from two directions. The first is through the use of data on historic threat levels by dyad. The second is solely through the evolution of key factors that have been shown to give rise to disputes. The user can control whether the model should rely primarily upon historic patterns or primarily upon predicted ones with a convergence parameter (wpthrconv).

Regardless of the basic approach (data-based or predictive), the evolution of threat over time depends upon a variety of underlying factors. IFs groups these roughly into two categories: power and nonpower terms, explained in detail elsewhere. It should be noted, however, that three factors seem to carry special weight in determining the threat of disputes: contiguity, whether or not countries are great powers, and the existence or absence of territorial disputes between countries.

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