Major power intervention in international crises 1918 1988
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Major power intervention in international crises, 1918-1988. Paul K. Huth. Military intervention of major powers can have decisive impact on the outcome of international crises: deter outbreak of the war, lead to military defeat of aggressors when policies of deterrence fail

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Major power intervention in international crises, 1918-1988

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Major power intervention in international crises 1918 1988

Major power intervention in international crises, 1918-1988

Paul K. Huth


Major power intervention in international crises 1918 1988

  • Military intervention of major powers can have decisive impact on the outcome of international crises: deter outbreak of the war, lead to military defeat of aggressors when policies of deterrence fail

  • Challengers to status quo want to avoid military escalation when major powers are expected to intervenewhile defending statesseek outside support to counter threats to their security

    Main questions:

  • when leaders of major powers decide to intervene with the threat or use of military force in international crises to defend states threatened with attack?

  • What set of domestic and international conditions produce acceptable military and political risks of intervention and thus convince leaders that military involvement will lead to favorable domestic and foreign policy outcomes?


Major power intervention in international crises 1918 1988

  • Author tests a set of hypothesis about the conditions under which major powers intervene with military support for states that are threatened in a crisis

  • He analyzes major power interventions in 272 international crises from 1918-1988

  • He emphasizes on importance of domestic political determinants of foreign policy, role of domestic politics in foreign policy decisions

  • Rational choice approach to studying foreign policy choices that integrates realist and domestic politics models


Arguments

Arguments

  • Realist approach to analyzing international politics can be strengthened by theorizing about how domestic political concerns of state leaders may have systematic and consequential effects on their foreign policy decisions

  • A decision regarding intervention depends on foreign policy leaders’ ability to sell this policy to important domestic political constituencies


Connections between domestic politics and security policy

Connections between domestic politics and security policy

1- State leaders need to balance the pursuit of security interests abroad with domestic politics of building a coalition ofpolitical support behind a decision to intervene( hypothesis 1,2,3,6):

  • pragmatic intervenors: defer to leader the initiative of intervention but they will hold leader accountable for outcomes and punish leader for failed interventions

  • Isolationist critics: less willing to deter initiative to leader and contest government’s rationale demanding for clear justification for intervention


Major power intervention in international crises 1918 1988

2- A leader’s desire to hold onto power can create incentives to pursue foreign policies that can enhance his-her domestic political position (7,8)

3- potential trade-off between resources (like financial, manpower, time) available to governments to supportboth domestic andinternational goals ( 5)

  • so there are two main factors for state leader's calculations: military and political costs and risks of intervention, domestic and international security benefits of supporting a threatened country


Hypothesis

Hypothesis

  • The probability of military intervention by a major power will decrease as the capacity of a threatened state to defend itself militarily increases

  • The probability of military intervention by a major power will increase as the severity of the threat of military attack against a target state increases

  • The probability of military intervention by a major power will increase as therelative military strength of the coalition supporting the threatened state increases

  • The probability of military intervention by a major power will decreaseif leaders of the major power are about to or have already committed large-scale military forces to another international dispute


Major power intervention in international crises 1918 1988

  • The probability of military intervention by a major power will decreaseif leaders of the major power are about to or have already committed large-scale military forces tothe suppression of domestic political opposition

  • The probability of intervention by a major power will increaseif the threatened state is of military-strategic value to the major power

  • The probability of intervention by a major power will increaseif the major power and threatened state share the same type of political system that differs from the regime of the challenger state

  • The probability of intervention by a major power willdecrease if the incumbent regime’s chances of victory in upcoming elections are quite favorable


Major power intervention in international crises 1918 1988

  • Major powers: might intervene in an international crisis for two reasons: they have political and military capacity to project military forces beyond their borders, they have security interests and military ties with states beyond their borders. But even major powers do not intervene militarily in most cases of international militarized disputes

  • equation: dependent variable is the level of support that major power provides and independent variables are: military balance of target versus attacker, level of security threat for target or threat, military balance of major power and target versus attacker, major power armed conflict with other states, armed conflict within major power, military ties between major power and target of threat, common adversary between major power and target of threat, strategic location of target, similarity of regime between major power and target or threat, prospects for victory in upcoming elections


Results

Results

intervention with diplomatic action=27, military force support= 72, no major power intervention= 173

  • The more capable the target state was of defending itself, the less likely the major power was to intervene(hypothesis 1)

  • major powers were not likely to intervene unless military disadvantage could be overcome by addition of the major power’s forces and those of supporting allies. Relative parity or a military advantage for the target coalition is a necessary condition for major power military intervention (hypothesis 3)

  • Major power intervention is more likely when target faced a severe security threat and also if the target is of military and security value to major power (hypothesis 2 and 6)

  • More likely to intervene if they share same type of political regime, whereas attacker’s regime differed (hypothesis 7)

  • Prospects of victory in upcoming elections counterbalance the incentive to intervene in support of political allies (hypothesis 8)

  • If leaders of major powers committed armed forces to the suppression of domestic political opposition, likelihood of military intervention decreases (hypothesis 5)


Major power intervention in international crises 1918 1988

  • Hypothesis 4 = major power involvement in armed conflicts with other states had no discernable impact. Although involvement in armed conflict was associated with a low rate of intervention in crises ( 27%), the rate of intervention was the same even when major power was not involved in any armed conflicts (26%)

    CONCLUSIONS:

  • Seven of eight hypothesis are supported by the results of analysis on major power interventions in 272 international crises

  • Role of domestic politics are thereforeimportant to study in understanding international politics


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