In March 2005, riots erupted in South Korea against Japan in reaction to Japan s claims of sovereignty over some rocky uninhabited islets (0.23 km2). What explains the moral outrage against Japan, the severity of which could have erupted into a military conflict? Such outrage is a puzzle for two reasons. First, the probability that South Korea could defeat Japan is nil, especially since the US-Japan alliance dominates the US-South Korean alliance. Second, even if the probability of defeating Japan was 100 , the net benefit of conflict was apparently negative - given the meager potential reward vis-a-vis the cost of war. This article offers a rational choice model that demonstrates that the moral outrage cannot be explained as a strategic threat. The analysis demonstrates that sociological and evolutionary game explanations are also unconvincing. This calls for an evaluation of how emotions relate to rational choice in international conflicts.
|Pages (from-to)||321 - 346|
|Number of pages||26|
|Journal||International Negotiation: a journal of theory and practice|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|