Diversionary Theory

6 Pages

International Affairs
Course Code
INR 4083
Brian Crisher

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Diversionary Theory of War 02/20/2014 Falklands War 1982 March 30, 1982: thousands of Argentines demonstrated in Buenos Aires against the military government One week later, thousands demonstrated in support of the regime What happened? On April 2, Argentine forces invaded the Falkland Islands Massive defeat b/c British came and fought Prior to conflict, PM Mayer Thatcher was highly unpopular and after their victory, her popularity went up Did the Argentine government start this war to revive its popularity? The Puzzle War is costly for states But, the costs of war are distributed unevenly Do states fight wars to satisfy narrow interests within them? Did we fight the Iraq war for the Israel lobby? Did we fight the Iraq war for the oil companies? Unitary State Assumption The treatment of states as coherent actors within a set of interests that belong to the state What is the problem with this assumption? Without the unitary actor assumption, individuals and groups with different interests come into play Domestic politics matter ! The Insight… There are actors within the state who may benefit from war: These actors may have institutional and organizational advantages Their main effect is to increase the aggressiveness of the state’s foreign policy General v. Narrow Interests General Interests : something most actors within a country desire Security, economic well being Narrow Interests : only some within the state desire it, or only some desire it very highly Why has the U.S had a consistent interest in oil in the ME? General v. Narrow? What Do Leaders Want? Assume leaders desire office Responsive to those who control their political fate What does office­seeking imply about the continuity of a state’s interests? Relatively consistent from leader to leader Does office­seeking lead leaders to act aggressively to hold office? Diversionary Temptations One of the key assumptions of diversionary theory is that the use of military force creates a surge of  support for the leader Psychology Mechanism Rally Effect : people’s tendency to become more supportive of their own government during a crisis Rally­Around­the­Flag… Why do people rally? Psychological Mechanism Greater attachment to in­group Us vs. Them (Terrorists in 9/11 case) Use propaganda to dehumanize other group The rally­around­the­flag effect creates a diversionary incentive In times of domestic trouble, start an international conflict to divert attention Allow leaders to scapeg
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