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Transformative Choices.docx

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Political Science
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

Transformative Choices: Leaders and the Origins of Intervention Strategy (Elizabeth N. Saunders) • choice of military intervention strategy is crucial not only for the target state but also for the intervening state itself ◦ whether pursue democracy or stability in American intervention • role of individual leaders matters in when and how states intervene (think Mearsheimer book "Why Leaders Lie") • Bush Sr. limited intervention in Somalia to humanitarian aid, while Clinton expanded to address internal issues • wars of choice ◦ they do not result from a direct or existential threat ◦ leader play critical role in choosing response Transformative versus Nontransformative Strategies • transformative strategy ◦ aims to interfere in or actively determine the target state's domestic institutions • nontransformative strategy ◦ seeks to resolve an international or civil conflict, or restrain/roll back a foreign policy action, without the explicit intention to alter domestic institutions at any level ◦ i.e. liberate territory, or protect local allies from outside aggression, Bush Sr. approach in Somalia (no nation building) EXPLAINING INTERVENTION STRATEGY Potential Alternative Explanations • most existing approaches do not address how states choose which intervention strategy or how deeply to intervene in domestic issues of other states • most realist theories assume that states respond to threats in the international system in ways that depend primarily on power, regardless of who is in charge • most constructivist theories emphasize the social or shared nature f ideas, focusing on long-term trends • BUT during the Cold War, most states shared one understanding of the purpose of intervention, which defeats both theories • addressing change: ◦ states choose intervention strategies through cost-benefit analysis that is independent of individual leaders ◦ domestic political actors may vary in the way they view the benefits of intervening with a given strategy (domestic competition hypothesis) ▪ political struggle among these actors that accounts for variation in intervention decisions CAUSAL BELIEFS: TWO PATHS TO THREAT PERCEPTION • threat perception: 1. smaller power's foreign and security policies are intimately connected to its internal institutions ▪ internally focused leaders ▪ concerned about the risk that a regional ally will be attacked ▪ would blame the smaller power's internal institutions for leaving it vulnerable 2. diagnose threats from other states' foreign and security policies or international orientation ▪ externally focused leaders ▪ sees no causal connection between outcomes and domestic institutions of smaller ▪ treat smaller powers relatively similarly, because any state might engage in such behaviour, regardless of its internal organization ▪ only care if it spills into international issues or alliances • difference in how the two types diagnose the source of those policies and outcomes HOW CAUSAL BELIEFS INFLUENCE INTERVENTION DECISIONS • leader's type directly shapes the cost-benefit calculus of intervention decisions by influencing how the leader values the benefits of successfully transforming target states • externally focused leaders: more weight on international aspects of crisis outcom
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