Kan Li

Research Topic:

How the Weak Deter the Strong: Agent-Based Modeling of Asymmetric Conflicts
International Relations Network
St Catherine's College
DPhil International Relations

My research interests are in international crises and conflicts, particularly in the role of asymmetric challengers in altering regional international status quo. 

My dissertation studies how states' resorting to indirect strategies shape unique dynamics of asymmetric conflicts. As weak actors have won asymmetric conflicts with increasing frequency since 1800, I argue that an adversary now has a greater ability to strike at the strong actor by fighting guerrilla warfare, developing nuclear weapons, sponsoring terrorism, or operating in cyber space. These asymmetric strategies challenge conventional deterrence framework by introducing nonstate actors and blurring the symmetry between threats and weapons, as actors attempt to employ one type of weapon to deter the use of another. I use computer simulation to study the design of escalatory model for the full spectrum of conceivable conflict before entering into inadvertent war.

Before the DPhil, I received my Master's degree in Political Science and International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and I graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor's degree in Economics and Finance in 2016. 


My research interests include:

  • Institutions and organisations,
  • Violence,
  • Security and conflict