From Normal to Crazy States: Fanaticism in International Crises, 1918-2014
Guy Zohar is an instructor and PhD candidate at the department of political studies, Bar-Ilan University. He holds a BA (Cum Laude) and MA (Summa Cum Laude) in political studies from Bar-Ilan University and received the University's President’s Doctoral Fellowship of Excellence for his PhD studies. His dissertation “From Normal to Crazy States: Fanaticism in International Crises, 1918-2014”, under the supervision of Dr. Hemda Ben-Yehuda, explores fanaticism and its impact on crises severity in the last century. It integrates three research methods: (1) a quantitative comparative analysis of six countries: the US, Russia and its predecessor the Soviet Union, Germany, Japan, Israel, and Iran. (2) a qualitative exploration of two major international crises, one historical, the 1938 Munich agreement concerning the fate of the Sudetenland, and one contemporary, the 2014-15 Ukrainian confrontation. (3) Simulations as an experimental lab of fanaticism and crisis severity. The study offers innovative contributions in four domains. Theoretically, it presents a new typology of fanaticism and model of crisis severity. Methodologically, it operationalizes fanaticism by the use of objective-operational indicators in order to identify and classify fanatic actors in world politics. The study also utilizes simulations together with quantitative and qualitative methods to gain a thorough understanding and cumulative insights into the study of fanaticism. Empirically, it examines different actors across different periods of time and regions, determining a country's roguery status regardless of political labels related to religion, culture or regime. Finally, from a policy perspective, fanaticism indicators can be used by decision-makers to identify fanatic actors in the global system, trace their patterns of crisis behavior, and even hopefully plan and implement actions again them.