Saunders “Transformative Choices”
One of the biggest issues in world Politics is the constant use of the USA'S military
force in order to solve problems and regulate domestic affairs. What the USA is
doing is intervening in other states’ domestic institutions. For intervention to be
successful you must have a strategy. Different US presidents have approached this
very differently. George W. Bush limited the intervention in Somalia to humanitarian
aid, Clinton had originally expanded the mission to deal with the underlying
problems in Somalia. These type of interventions are called wars of choice because
countries like Somalia or Iraq don't pose a direct threat to the USA.
In the last few years theorists have began to focus less and less on leader, those who
study leaders pay close attention in seeing how they pay attention to and deal with
Internally focused leaders see a casual connection between threatening foreign and
security policies and the internal organization of states and are more willing to
undertake transformation in which the invading states takes it upon itself to rebuild
the institutions of that state.
Externally focused leaders diagnose threats directly from the foreign and security
policies of other states and thus are more likely to pursue non-transformative
strategies with minimal intervention in domestic affairs.
These two theories relate to the important cost-benefit calculations. Casual beliefs
reflect on the value that leaders place on transforming states and secondly how they
will allocate resources that will get them prepared for intervention.
Examples pertaining to these concepts can be explained in trying to explain the
differences between president Kennedy and President Johnson. Leaders confronting
the same conflict may arrive at different diagnoses of threat. Kennedy chose a
transformative strategy by sending people into Vietnam to help deal with
governmental affairs; Johnson took an non-transformative approach sending loads
of American troops to battle the communist north.
Transformative (changing political institutions) Vs. Non-transformative strategies:
Examples of transformative intervention include nation building, post conflict
reconstruction, leading revolutions to overthrow the government etc. Examples of
non transformative methods is to liberate territory, protect local allies from outside
aggression (Kuwait during the Gulf War) and sending humanitarian aid. Sometimes
things might change as a bi-product of action such as taking out Sadam Hussein in
Iraq and hoping a democratic government will form, non-transformative often
involves military intervention.
Most realist theorists share the assumptions that states respond to threats in the
international system in a structure which rarely changes and only change by means of power regardless of who is in charge. Constructivists often emphasize the social
or mutually shared nature of ideas and to focus on long term trends. States chose
their method of intervention through a cost-benefit analysis that is independent of
the leader. It can also amount from interactions among leaders and international
organizations as well as the political struggle of the interventionist.
Casual Beliefs (Two paths to threat Perception): You have two important casual
beliefs, internally focused leaders think that it is the smaller powers foreign and
security policies including all of its alliances, are intimately connected to its internal
institutions. So during the cold war if an ally of the USA turned Communist, those
leaders would blame the state. Using the Liberal rhetoric, internal leaders in
democracy might have a view that non-democracies are the most threatening,
Externally focused leaders diagnose threats from other states foreign and security
policies and do not see a casual connection between outcomes and the institutions
that a country has.
Leaders form casual beliefs before they come to office, and sometimes-psychological
mechanism play a big role in all of this. There are two mec