Pluralism of pluralisms [Post 23]

Players, game theory and territorial disputes (cont.)

Game theory assumes several points. In the specific case of territorial disputes, things like communication or not between challenger and challenged players, payoffs and actual and potential threats are examples of the myriad of issues at stake that may be considered in theory. As per the previous posts, real-world conflicts are much more complex. However, there is still value in using theoretical frames to assess and comprehend cosmopolitanism and sovereignty when they meet in territorial disputes.

The following quotations describe thoroughly how theoretical frames can be of help in evaluating and understanding territorial disputes such as the Falkland/Malvinas Islands and Kuril Islands.

“[P]rospect theory and Nash arbitration are applicable, acceptable, and durable for territorial dispute resolution […] to operationalize a non-violent approach to territorial dispute resolution: arbitration.”[1]

“Game theory relies on traditional rational models, like expected utility, to determine the payoffs (and therefore the choices made) in the game. Prospect theory, however, can create significantly different results within game theory due to preference reversals.”[2]

“Real-world conflicts and disputes are enormously complex. […] This model will abstract and simplify a complex territorial dispute by creating a two-person, non-zero-sum game. Communication between the players is obviously essential to an arbitrated resolution and will factor into the proposed solution.”[3]

“The Falklands conflict serves as an example […] Argentina may have assumed that the United Kingdom had payoffs more in-line with expected utility and the traditional game of chicken, and would avoid conflict. However, if the United Kingdom was also in a domain of losses and their payoffs mirrored the Argentineans, conflict is obviously on the horizon.”[4]

“In summary, to model a territorial dispute as a game, each party’s domain must first be determined via a chosen reference point. A status quo point is then selected based upon the fluidity of the conflict. This leads to the assignment of payoff values for each country’s different strategies. Payoffs are simplified to an ordinal scale to determine each nation’s strategic strengths regarding first moves, commitments, threats, and promises. After this process, ordinal values are replaced with cardinal payoffs and arbitration can begin.”[5]

“The status quo, regardless of how it is determined, is assigned a payoff value of zero for each country. Gains from the status quo are assigned positive payoffs; losses receive negative payoffs.”[6]

The challenge for these two models (prospect theory and Nash arbitration) remains in embracing the complexity real-world cases present. Reduced to a two-person, non-zero-sum game, several agents (individuals, communities and states) as well as a variety of players (hosts, participants, attendees and viewers) are omitted. Yet, the value in applying these theoretical frames to issues related to cosmopolitanism and sovereignty such as territorial disputes still rests in helping comprehend the dynamics of some of its parts as well as bringing a conceptual common ground for future and more comprehensive multi-disciplinary research that acknowledges their multi-level, multi-contextual and multi-layer nature.

Previous post:

Next theme:

Contexts and Realms.

Author of:

Territorial Disputes and State Sovereignty. International Law and Politics (London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2020).

Sovereignty Conflicts and International Law and Politics: A Distributive Justice Issue (London and New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2017).

Friday 21st May 2021

Dr Jorge Emilio Núñez

Twitter: @DrJorge_World
https://drjorge.world


[1] Brett A. DeAngelis, “A Line in the Sand: Prospect Theory and Nash Arbitration in Resolving Territorial Disputes,” (Monterey, California USA: Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School: 2012), 2.

[2] Brett A. DeAngelis, “A Line in the Sand: Prospect Theory and Nash Arbitration in Resolving Territorial Disputes,” (Monterey, California USA: Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School: 2012), 38.

[3] Brett A. DeAngelis, “A Line in the Sand: Prospect Theory and Nash Arbitration in Resolving Territorial Disputes,” (Monterey, California USA: Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School: 2012), 40.

[4] Brett A. DeAngelis, “A Line in the Sand: Prospect Theory and Nash Arbitration in Resolving Territorial Disputes,” (Monterey, California USA: Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School: 2012), 43.

[5] Brett A. DeAngelis, “A Line in the Sand: Prospect Theory and Nash Arbitration in Resolving Territorial Disputes,” (Monterey, California USA: Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School: 2012), 46.

[6] Brett A. DeAngelis, “A Line in the Sand: Prospect Theory and Nash Arbitration in Resolving Territorial Disputes,” (Monterey, California USA: Dudley Knox Library, Naval Postgraduate School: 2012), 47.

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