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Foreign Policy Orientation, Strategic Interaction, and the Initiation of International Crises
JAMES MEERNIK University of North Texas
In recent years, scholars studying U.S. foreign policy and the diversionary use of force have begun to focus more attention on when foreign regimes time crises with the U.S. Many argue that U.S. domestic conditions play a role in this. I argue that these models should take into consideration the foreign policy relationship between foreign governments and the U.S. I develop a theory of crisis initiation that considers the foreign policy orientation of states that may initiate a crisis with the U.S., and second, when the crisis may occur. I argue that by virtue of their foreign policy orientation, some regime leaders will be more likely than others to initiate a crisis with the U.S. Those regimes that are either closely aligned with the U.S. or closely identiﬁed with anti-U.S. interests will be much more likely to initiate crises with the U.S. than those whose foreign policy interests do not lead to such intimate ties of friendship or enmity. I develop and test hypotheses predicting what regime characteristics will be predictive of crisis initiation and when such crises are likely to occur. The results demonstrate that regime type matters more than U.S. domestic conditions in predicting where and when crises involving the U.S. will take place.
Empirical research on the use of force by American presidents began principally by investigating the linkage between domestic, political, and economic conditions in the U.S. and the likelihood presidents would use military force overseas (e.g., Ostrom and Job, 1986; James and Oneal, 1991; Morgan and Bickers, 1992; James and Hristoulas, 1994; Meernik, 1994; DeRouen, 1995, 2000; Meernik and Waterman, 1996; Wang, 1996; Yoon, 1997; Fordham, 1998a, b; James and Rioux, 1998). While initial ﬁndings seemed to demonstrate that presidents did engage in diversionary use of force, increasingly research in this area has questioned these ﬁndings. More recently, scholars have begun to argue that one principal reason why the evidence for diversionary behavior is so weak is because of ‘‘strategic interaction’’ (Smith, 1996a, 1996b, 1998; Leeds and Davis, 1997; Meernik, 2000, 2001; Clark, 2003). Simply put, other states are dissuaded from initiating a crisis against the U.S. when the president is experiencing difﬁculties at home, for fear of provoking a diversionary retaliation. This new area of inquiry regarding the causes of international crises expanded our understanding of presidential foreign policy decision making by making clearer how president’s choices are shaped by the actions of external actors. Yet, we must wonder if our focus on the impact of domestic conditions within the U.S. on the occurrence of international crises has led us to ignore the extent to which other factors predict the initiation of international crises involving
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if regimes do not strategically time crises. Fourth. and to begin to understand the effects of foreign state characteristics on the occurrence of these events. It is also possible that these states time the initiation of crises to take advantage of domestic and political conditions inside the U. and conclude by suggesting how research in this area should proceed. Second.S. In particular.. I discuss the literature linking U. I argue that by virtue of their foreign policy orientation some nation-states will be more likely than others to initiate crises with the U.S.S. I develop here a more comprehensive model of international crisis initiation that considers both the extent to which characteristics particular to nation-states and conditions peculiar to the U. By developing a more comprehensive theory and empirical test of crisis initiation. Second. we will be able to obtain more informed answers to this puzzle. such as their foreign policy orientation. specifically the nature of its relationship with the U. the twin purposes of this paper are to better understand the inﬂuence of the timing of international crises. Foreign Policy Orientation and the Initiation of Crises Involving the U. More generally.S.S. I argue that the type of political and military/security policies pursued by states will be highly predictive of their propensity for conﬂict involvement.S.S.S. than those whose foreign policy interests do not lead to such intimate ties of friendship or enmity.S. interests will be much more likely to initiate crises with the U.S. military intervention. I contend that it is possible to develop a general theory of crisis initiation that incorporates the most important theoretical . The development of this theory of crisis initiation will help us address several interconnected puzzles in the literature on international crises. strategic interaction. foreign policy. I describe other factors that may affect crisis initiation.S. presidents are more likely to retaliate with a diversionary use of force. Nonetheless.S. and therefore less likely to respond. and when these nation-states might provoke a crisis in order to determine both where and when crises begin. I discuss the measurement of all the variables. inﬂuence the probability of such events occurring? In fact.S. Others contend that nations will be more likely to precipitate crises when U. I describe my theory of foreign policy orientation and crisis initiation. when are they most likely to initiate a crisis? Some argue that nation-states time crisis initiation to avoid periods when U. Those nation-states that are either closely aligned with the U. it is also time to begin the development of a broader theory of crisis initiation that will allow us to determine if certain types of states are more likely than others to initiate crises. we must also account for when and why nations might strategically time crisis initiation. In addition to considering where international crises might occur. if some nation-states are more prone to initiate crises than others. domestic and political conditions are hurting the president under the assumption that presidents will be preoccupied during such times.166 Foreign Policy Orientation the U. do factors pertaining to nation-states that might initiate a crisis. Third. do regimes strategically time crisis initiation. To address these issues. domestic and political conditions to crisis initiation. I then assess the results.S. Therefore. I develop here a theory of crisis initiation that considers principally the foreign policy orientation of nation-states that may initiate a crisis with the U. Models of strategic interaction may well be underspeciﬁed if they focus solely on conditions within the U. I argue that the probability that a nation-state will initiate a crisis is more likely because of its own foreign policy interests.S. their propensity for dispute involvement is not likely to be constant across time.. I argue that it is necessary to consider both which types of nation-states are likely to initiate crises.S. While it may be impossible to account for all the reasons that might lead a particular regime to initiate a crisis involving the U. First. I develop this paper accordingly. or closely identiﬁed with anti-U. First. and if so. especially regarding strategic interaction with the U. and U.S. make crises more likely. what factors determine when crises are initiated? Ultimately.
S.S. Indeed. I believe. regionally.R.S.S. politically. I argue that the quality of a nation’s foreign policy orientation toward the U. Brecher and Wilkenfeld.S.S. Specifically. it should be understood that I am analyzing the potential for all nationsFU. we are likely to ﬁnd ´-vis the U.g. when we conceive of states initiating international crises involving the U.JAMES MEERNIK 167 factors.’s. the U.S.. it becomes involved as a crisis participant. because the crisis affects U.S.S. enemies. but hostile regimes are not the only ones whose interests can be furthered through crisis politics.S. I do distinguish between the crisis initiation proclivity of states with whom the U. Those states whose foreign policy orientation indicates considerable divergence between their national interests and the policies of the U. in order to lessen the threat posed by the U.Fwhether evidencing a greater degree of cooperation or conﬂictFthe greater the likelihood a regime will initiate a crisis that will involve the U. that the substance of a nation’s foreign policy rather than its level of interaction with the U. (e. may engage in a wide and deep range of political interactions with another state while the tenor of the relationship may be mostly neutral or ‘‘non-partisan’’ in tone with little reason for crisis politics (e. 1992. and neutralsFto initiate crises involving the U. 1981.S. may be pursued both for external security reasons and for internal political reasons. Rather. sides and states against whom the U.g. the initiation of a crisis does not mean that the crisis action taken directly threatens or challenges the U. may have little foreign policy interaction with a nation (perhaps because it is seeking to isolate it [e. sides.S. Among the ´-vis most critical policy choices a regime makes is its foreign policy orientation vis-a the dominant power in the system. . In one sense.. Researchers generally argue and ﬁnd that many international crises and wars occur in large part because of the divergence of foreign policy interests among states (Bueno de Mesquita.S. Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman. the U. I mean the degree to which a regime deﬁnes itself in opposition to or in common cause with the U. economic. Conversely. interests. is a more critical factor in explaining crisis initiation. should be more likely to initiate crises involving the U. France.S. the U.S.S.K.S. perhaps Nigeria). poses a threat to a regime’s military.S. Henceforth. regardless of who initiates the event. Indeed. is more important than the quantity of its interactions. Regimes and their leaders in the conduct of their foreign policies make choices regarding the most effective method to advance a mixture of both external and internal policy preferences.S. friends. will contribute substantially toward the likelihood that the nation vis-a nation will initiate a crisis that involves the U.. the U. Some regimes may perceive that their security is jeopardized by the hegemon’s security interests if the U. I am interested in all crises that affect U. I argue that the foreign policy orientation of a potential crisis ´-vis the U. Thus.. (especially in models of strategic interaction) we tend to think in terms of states whose interests are hostile to the U. Enemies may threaten the U. and Israel during the 1956 Suez crisis). In either case.. 1997. however.S.S. or political inﬂuence locally. there is nothing inherently novel in this theoretical assertion for we would expect that states that interact a great deal will have more opportunities for involvement in crisis politics. Reed.S. interests. China early in the Cold War]).g. Therefore.S. First.g.S. By foreign policy orientation.S. or internationally. in their crises (e. Foreign Policy Orientation and External Security Foreign policy orientation with or against the U.S. 2000). is determined in part by external that foreign policy orientation vis-a security considerations.S. In the analysis section. I contend that the greater the intensity of the foreign policy orientation of a nation toward the U. but may become involved in crises with it because of that nation’s degree of hostility toward the U. Many international crises undoubtedly involve such adversarial competition.S. during the Cold War) and friends may involve the U.S.
the greater the enmity between that regime and the U.S.g..S. the economy. and may depend on the U. there is domestic policy utility as well to be enjoyed. Thus...S. security umbrella and rely upon it on occasion when their inﬂuence is threatened.S.. signal an a priori American interest and commitment to such regimes. the very closeness of the relationship may also provoke hostility among those disenfranchised by the current regime. the more solid the regime’s control of the state.S. 1955.S. and its global military reach. will also inﬂuence domestic politics within a friendly regime. Israel perhaps).S.. helps maintain the regime in power in order to ‘‘protect’’ the nation.S. backing (e. Thus. especially in the case of adversaries. Their close ties with the U.S. is complicit in the policies (e.S. threat’’ to bolster their hold on power. the very closeness of this relationship may be threatening to other regimes and create additional opportunities for conﬂict. especially those whose power and/or wealth may depend on U. Iraq under Saddam Hussein. pursuing an adversarial relationship with the U.. The regime’s cozy relationship with the U. To the extent that a regime can justify its own hold on power because of the need for strong and uniﬁed leadership given the ‘‘threat’’ posed by the U.S. in addition to the foreign policy utility to be derived from challenging the U.S. The greater the perception that the U.S. Yugoslavia under Slobodan Milosevic. provide incentives for some states to initiate crises. those involving human rights. I suggest that the gains made by some regime leaders in maintaining power as a result of an adversarial relationship with the U.S.S. One thinks of Cuba under Castro. Furthermore. The American ties will no doubt serve some interests well. and North Korea under its Communist regime as states whose very identities were often deﬁned by their adversarial relationship with the U. would be more than offset by the improbability of winning such a dispute given the tremendous power of the U.168 Foreign Policy Orientation Those states whose foreign policy orientation evidences substantial compatibility ´-vis the U.S. for security guarantees and regime protection may also have substantial interests that contribute to an increased propensity for crisis initiation. Some utility other than potential international foreign policy gains is likely making initiation of such crises an attractive policy option. it stands to reason that the foreign policy utility some regimes might gain by becoming involved in a crisis with the U. Regime leaders may believe that given their close ties and cooperation with the U. politics) pursued by the .S. Foreign Policy Orientation and Internal Security While the importance of international policy differences in crisis proclivity should not be underestimated.S. and whose regime leaders used the ‘‘U. protection. Coser.S. will come to their assistance. States with substantial foreign policy differences should have a significantly higher degree of interest in initiating international crises that involve the U. should be more likely to initiate crises involving the U. may also inspire complacency among the leaders and contempt for the opposition that encourages further unrest. Foreign policy orientation toward the U. they enjoy a free hand in the international arena and thus act to maximize their interests in the expectation of U.S. First...g. in order vis-a to increase the amount of security provided by the U. we should also highlight the role such differences play in the internal politics of these regimes and how these forces may make crisis initiation more likely.’’ there is increased solidarity among people in the face of an external threat (Simmel.S.S. But while such dependence upon a patron state may protect a regime from opposing factions within the state to some extent and for some time. often regardless of the crisis outcome. and hence these states may initiate a crisis against a third nation in the expectation that the U. We would expect that regime leaders who represent such interests will seek to maintain the U. 1956). As we have learned from research on ‘‘in-groups’’ and ‘‘out-groups. Nations that maintain good relations with the U.S.S.
Clark. Meernik. On the contrary. Smith. Yet. 2003 [but see Smith (1998).S. because foreign actors are aware of the incentives presidents have for using force during such periods. and increase their chances of remaining in power. 2003). The U. who qualiﬁes such hypotheses as contingent upon the perceived and actual competence of the chief executive]). and when the president is competent. the greater the likelihood the U. presidents would prefer to use force to distract the public from their domestic woes. economy is deteriorating. Therefore. p. 584).S.. Some argue that the probability of crisis initiation declines as the incentives for a diversionary use of force increase as the crisis initiator postpones action until the president is less likely to use force (Leeds and Davis. 1998). they refrain from acting and thus present few such opportunities for diversionary activity. 1982. Therefore. and weakened. distracted. 1997. focused. should be most likely to intervene in such crises when the president’s political fortunes and the national economy are deteriorating.S.S. Henry Kissinger commented on this opportunism of foreign leaders when he analyzed why the Soviets threatened to intervene in the 1973 Yom Kippur War during a time of domestic upheaval in the U. it is also possible that foreign leaders may believe that when the president is suffering in the polls or the U.S. Nonetheless. I expect a curvilinear relationship between foreign policy orientation and the likelihood of crisis initiation. I posit two contrasting hypotheses to represent each of these theoretical arguments. with whom presumably their chances of success are greater (Smith. When Crises Happen: Strategic Interaction and the Timing of Crisis Initiation The extant research on strategic interaction (Leeds and Davis. During such times.S. he will be too consumed by his problems at home to be bothered with troubles abroad. involvement. exercises on the willingness of foreign actors to instigate a crisis. Hypothesis 1: The greater the difference/similarity in a state’s foreign policy orientation in comparison to the U. The literature on strategic interaction argues that the U. and strong. . Furthermore. rally support behind their leadership. Clark. 1997.S. especially for regimes whose interests are opposed to the U. the greater the likelihood it will initiate a crisis involving the U.S. the closeness of such ties may itself be a source of instability and crisis with the nation.JAMES MEERNIK 169 regime that harm the interests of the opposition.S. Those states in the middle of this continuum should be the least likely to initiate crises.S. ‘‘I could not avoid the conviction that Nixon’s evident weakness over Watergate had not a little to do with the Politburo’s willingness to dare so crass a challenge’’ (Kissinger.. or when national elections are approaching (Leeds and Davis. Those states whose foreign policy ori´-vis the U. 1998.g. He writes. 2001. 2000. what better indication could they have than the American people’s own assessment of their chief executive? While foreign leaders may perceive that presidents possess certain incentives to use force for diversionary purposes when they are down in the polls or blamed for the ill health of the economy. may intervene to protect the regime in power or to insure a transfer of power to some group viewed as more favorable to its interests or less hostile than other groups (e. Clark. 2003) is principally concerned with the effect the political and economic situation within the U. 1997. on balance it may be that such presidents are better targets. and wish to avoid U. in Latin America throughout the Cold War).S.S. the former would seem to be preferable. is the most (dis)similar should be the most likely to initiate entation vis-a crises involving the U. If the choice is between initiating a crisis when the president is incompetent. if we believe that foreign leaders prefer to initiate crises against incompetent leaders. will be drawn into power struggles between the regime and the opposition.
Whether such crisis interaction continues because of the interests of the initiator state in reducing the threat posed by the U. Control Measures Together with those determinants of crisis initiation discussed above. In addition. Therefore. or a temporal dependence among crises such that once an initial crisis occurs. I utilize a measure of each foreign nation’s military capabilities. 1994. 1998). As research on enduring rivalries as well as research on civil wars shows.S. the more likely that state is to initiate a crisis. begins a pattern of being drawn into crises by a stateFwhether friend or foeFthe tendency may be for such events to develop their own sort of selfperpetuating logic.. the probability of crisis initiation increases. for all nations of the world for which data are available. the spatial universe of cases consists of all nations. will lead to future dispute involvement. however.S. First. Regimes can choose to initiate a crisis at almost any time. 1999) is not an issue here. research on the use of military force by the U. or increasing the security provided by the U. as some research contends. while the temporal universe is potentially inﬁnite.. worsen. It is also important to account for the inherent proclivity of regimes to become involved in crises. I choose to limit the temporal dimension from which I predict crisis initiation.S. there is reason to believe that prior involvement in disputes with the U. As I am only examining the occurrence of crises relevant to the U. propensity for regimes to become involved in crises. subsequent crises become more likely.S. I also include two other factors in the model. worsen. Before this period there were substantially fewer ´-vis the U.S. or whether their frequency can be accounted for simply by the laws of probability (Gartzke and Simon. contingent upon the utility to be derived from a successful challenge.S. the same regimes seem to account for a substantial proportion of these events (Goertz and Diehl. 1993. Hypothesis 4: The more often presidents have used force in or against a regime in the previous ﬁve years.S. I am suggesting that there is either some inherent.S. Hypothesis 3: As the number of a regime’s military personnel increases. to the nation-year. Once the U. the probability that a regime will initiate a crisis involving the U. 2001). will increase. will decrease. Conventional international relations theories typically maintain that the greater the military advantage possessed by a state. is more apt to take action in crises involving states it has targeted previously (Meernik. I control for the military capabilities of states.S. the probability that a regime will initiate a crisis involving the U. or simply because the issues at stake have not been resolved. I choose this period because most of the new nations of the world became independent in the early 1960s after decolonization. I predict how many crises a regime initiates in any given year between January 1960 and December 2000. tends to show that the U.S. Bennett. Whether these crises are related. Because I am interested in understanding which nations are more likely to initiate crises and when. perhaps unmeasured. Measurement I analyze the initiation of international crises by foreign governments that ultimately involve the U. 1995. the more likely that nation will initiate a crisis. Hypothesis 2b: Exploiting weakness: As domestic conditions in the U.S.170 Foreign Policy Orientation Hypothesis 2a: Strategic interaction: As domestic conditions in the U.S. I use the Militarized Interstate nations that might initiate crises vis-a .S.
I measure military capabilities as the number of military personnel in the thousands and lag this variable one year in order to reduce the possibility that crisis initiation and size of the armed forces are reciprocally related. I expect that those regimes that exhibit the greatest differences and those regimes that exhibit the greatest similarities with the U.psu.S. 3 These data can be found at http://www.S. 6 The website is http://stats.html. . but because these data do not include many of the crises involving U. 5 I use presidential approval ratings obtained from the Gallup organization web site at http://www. such as Roper (http://roperweb. will be the most likely to initiate crises. (2) the U. This measure ranges from ‘‘1’’ to ‘‘ À 1.S. uses of force directed toward 1 2 Data are available at http://cow2. I square this measure to capture the expected curvilinear relationship.7 I measure a nation’s military capabilities using data from the Correlates of War Project’s National Materials Capabilities Index. Jo. using three variables: (1) the president’s annual average approval rating.edu/). 2001). the less likely it will initiate crises involving the U. Specifically.doc. I also square this measure to capture the expected curvilinear relationship. to measure the military alignment of a regime. do provide these same data. 1997) data set in order to maximize the generalizability of this analysis. however.3 This variable ranges between ‘‘–1’’ (perfect disagreement) on General Assembly roll call votes to ‘‘1’’ (perfect agreement). from Gartzke. I considered using the International Crisis Behavior2 (Brecher and Wilkenfeld. These data are obtained from the EUGENE Program (Bennett and Stam.org/Data/index.S. Other organizations. I measure the foreign policy orientation of a regime using three measures. I expect that the more democratic the regime.5 Unemployment data are available from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics web page. I expect that those regimes that exhibit the greatest differences in UN voting and those nations that exhibit the greatest similarity should be most likely to initiate crises with the U. Third.’s.JAMES MEERNIK 171 Dispute (MID) data set1 (Ghosn and Palmer.S.S.bea.icbnet.uconn. Stata 8. 2003).com for all years to create a monthly average. however.la. limited uses of force.bls. First I use data on voting similarity in the United Nations (UN) between a regime and the U. I make use of the MID’s actor-level data. and Tucker’s UN voting behavior data. I measure domestic conditions within the U.edu/.S. I use Bueno de Mesquita’s Kendall tau-b indicator of the similarity of a regime’s alliance portfolio with the system’s leaderFin this case the U.html. I measure prior U. Data are available at http://www. the Gallup organization has now begun to charge users for access to their data. while the squared variable coefﬁcient should be positive. 7 The website is http://www. Second.S. I use Polity IV data on democracy ratings to measure the extent to which a nation’s form of government resembles the U. Because I am interested in whether a given nation is a crisis participant.0 forces out all such variables from these types of MLE models given the lack of variation in an exogenous variable across all levels of the endogenous variable.vanderbilt.4 Presidential approval ratings are measured using data from the Gallup Polls and the Roper Polls for more recent years. and (3) the U. while the squared variable coefﬁcient should be positive. 2003) to measure crisis initiation (targets of crisis initiators are not included). Since accessing this web page originally. annual average inﬂation rate. Every nation that is coded as a crisis initiator is included in the measure and all crises initiated by a nation each year are summed to create the dependent variable. The ﬁrst coefﬁcient should be negative. This variable is a tau-b correlation. The ﬁrst coefﬁcient should be negative.6 Inﬂation data are from the Consumer Price Index data downloaded from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis web page. ropercenter.edu$rtucker/data/afﬁnity/un/similar/. 4 Presidential election periods perfectly predicted noncrisis months and so I was not able to use such a variable.S.S.S.’’ indicating more or less similarity in alliance membership.gallup. annual average unemployment rate. I elected to use a more comprehensive data set (see also Fordham and Sarver.gov/top20.gov/.
Maoz and Russett. the results of the models indicate that the type of regime where a potential crisis takes place matters a great deal more than when such a crisis might occur. The lack of statistical significance among these coefﬁcients provides little justiﬁcation to believe that U. macroeconomics. Those states whose U. The potential to catch an opponent off guard or the desire to seize a military capability advantage may both dictate the specific timing of foreign crises.S.S. or their strategic compatibility leads to closer ties. Hostile regimes may depend upon an adversarial relationship with an external enemy to keep their domestic opponents united behind their leadership. domestic conditions exercise a statistically discernible effect on crisis initiation. I expect a positive years in which the U. the less likely it is to initiate crises. 1996. which come with their own risks of crisis. Rather. Analysis I utilize a random effects Poisson model using the program Stata 8. 1999). In keeping with previous research on the international behavior of democratic and autocratic states. and those states whose interests are more similar are most likely to initiate crises involving the U.S. Democracies tend to be peaceful with each other (Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman.S. Nations that maintain sizable numbers of men and women in the armed forces are much more likely to become involved in crises. Prins and Sprecher. This model is preferred because of the cross-sectional element of the data and recurrence of individual nations throughout the period under study that may cause heteroskedasticity in the estimates. Given the U. and war) are counted. In general.N. the more conﬂict prone it is (Benoit.S. 1993). The more democratic a regime is.S. This ﬁnding also supports Huth’s (1998) research that ﬁnds major powers are more likely to intervene in conﬂicts when they share the same type of polity with a state that is threatened by a third. used military force vis-a relationship. to fend off challenges from domestic opponents and advance foreign policy interests against neighboring states. voting behavior is most divergent from the U. Although foreign policy orientation matters when predicting crisis initiation.172 Foreign Policy Orientation each nation by counting the number of crises involving a regime in the previous ﬁve ´-vis that regime. uses of force. are most likely to initiate crises. while friendly states use their cooperative relationship with the U.S. Yet both types of regimes may come to depend upon the intensity of their relationship with the U. we ﬁnd that those regimes whose military alignments are most dissimilar and most similar to the U. however. politically dissimilar nation. Either because they are seeking a military advantage.0.’s stated . In the MID database. scored at least a ‘‘3’’ on the Hostility Level measure (displays of force. all instances where the U. indicate that the coefﬁcients are jointly distinguishable from zero. the timing of international crises appears to bear little relationship to domestic conditions in the U. a sizable defense establishment leads to more crisis activity.S. foreign regimes may time crisis involvement to exploit local opportunities for advantage that may have little or no relationship to the vicissitudes of American public opinion or U. and thus may become even more likely to initiate crises to secure their dominance. Either their divergent foreign policies lead to foreign policy differences and hostility. As evidenced in the negative coefﬁcient for the military alignment variable and the positive coefﬁcient for its squared measure. to maintain power.S. We see in Table 1 that support for the hypotheses regarding the importance of foreign policy orientation is mixed.S. 1992. The number of military personnel in a nation is strongly related to crisis involvement.S. The squared measure of political orientation is not statistically significant. I use the Poisson model because the data are a count of the number of crises initiated by a nation each year. we ﬁnd that the less democratic a nation. or because their neighbors fear their intentions. The test of joint statistical significance does not. although the two coefﬁcients are jointly statistically significant.
0254 0.76 À 2. however. Next.S.S. prior uses of force Regime military personnel U.0001 0.079# .172 . in order to provide a more rigorous test of the model. and Cuba in the 1960s.S.S.9953 Standard Error 0. however. The measures of the U. voting measure.303 . p ¼ o. sides with are friends and those it sides against are adversaries in the more general sense of those 8 The ‘‘United States National Security Strategy’’ report states that.3233 t Statistic À 2. ultimately sides with and whom the U. I reran the model in Table 1 using random effects probit analysis.149 .03 1. a word of caution is in order. negative and statistically significant.93 4.017 . p ¼ o. Predicting Regime Crisis Initiation.0054 0.0144 0. Once the U.48 À 1. Before proceeding. Thus.165n . Libya in the 1980s. inﬂation Constant Coefﬁcient À 0.S.67.44 À 6.142 .0208 À 1.htm .S.86 3. unemployment U.0403 0.S.’’ http://www. 1960–2000 Random Effects Poisson Model Variable Political orientation Political orientation2 Military alignment Military alignment2 Regime polity U. that regime becomes more likely to become involved in additional crises and thus begins something akin to a conﬂict spiral between the two nations. crisis ´-vis the states remain statistically significant and in the predicted behavior vis-a direction. The presidential popularity measure is.0008 À 0.3298 0. It would be useful.4183 0.S.gov/r/pa/ei/wh/15430. involving a particular nation also increase the likelihood that the same nation will again initiate a crisis. ‘‘our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing or equaling the power of the United States.01).N. to determine if states might be divided simply into those that initiate crises in a given year. It may be that once a state crosses the threshold from being a quiescent member of the international community to a crisis initiator.S.0001. however.4582 À 0.8168 0. begins using force against a regime. desire to prevent the emergence of any power that might rival its own. n Jointly statistically significant (w2 ¼ 6. its interest in such nations is to be expected.8 Prior uses of force by the U.17 173 p Value . States are more likely to initiate a crisis the lower the president’s popularity.JAMES MEERNIK TABLE 1.0039 0.000 .S.state. it would be useful to distinguish the impacts of the exogenous factors on the propensity of these two types of states to initiate crises. and Iraq and Yugoslavia in the 1990s provide ample evidence of this. The estimates are provided in Table 2.4877 1.37 1.1745 0.0243 0.4348 À 0. I reran the initial estimates using probit instead of Poisson analysis. Wald w2 ¼ 72.47 À 1.7.39 À 1. The indicators of democracy.S. sides against. and those that do not. president’s popularity U.004 . the major and critical division between states has occurred.1587 0. and prior U.000 .40 1. military personnel.4737 0. The reader will recall that I used Poisson analysis because the endogenous variable is a count measure of the number of times states initiate crises each year. Generally the results are similar to what we just saw although the joint tests of statistical significance for the military alignment measure of foreign policy orientation are statistically significant rather than the test for the U. The continual militarized disputes between the U. # Not jointly statistically significant.000 N ¼ 4529. To investigate this possibility. We should not necessarily assume that states the U. The reader will recall that this analysis combines crises initiated by states whom the U.0374 À 0.S.0085 0. economyFinﬂation and unemploymentF remain statistically insignificant.
1291 0. In any particular crisis.26 À 5.121 .32 À 0. inﬂation Constant Coefﬁcient À 2.0211 À 0.304 .20 2.0564 1.S.70 p Value .48 À 5.1715 0. # Not jointly statistically significant.1255 0.2356 1.3.S. po.S. prior uses of force Regime military personnel U.0029 0.1401 À 8.15 À 1. Predicting Regime Crisis Initiation by States Whom the U.16 0.5983 0. n Jointly statistically significant (w2 ¼ 6.174 Foreign Policy Orientation TABLE 2.4. ‘‘crisis adversaries.S.7106 1.0001. may side temporarily with an adversary or some state with which it does not enjoy good relations for short-term.4515 1.S.006 .048 .’’ in order to avoid continual usage of the wordier description of such states.843 . n Jointly statistically significant (w2 ¼ 16.0007 0.S.01).013 .182 . Predicting Regime Crisis Initiation. unemployment U.01).0060 0.0234 À 0.206 .R.0007 0.05 1. In order to execute this analysis.0168 0. invaded).S. The ﬁrst measures the number of crises initiated each year by states whom the U.0377 0. First. occasionally sided with the U. Wald w2 ¼ 34.0748 0. may side against a state with which it does enjoy good relations.0187 0.9.000 .65 1. ultimately sides with in these situations.2000 0.S.5202 3.42 2. 1960–2000 Random Effects Probit Model Variable Political orientation Political orientation2 Military alignment Military alignment2 Regime polity U.514 . 1960–2000 Random Effects Poisson Model Variable Political orientation Political orientation2 Military alignment Military alignment2 Regime polity U. po.258 .040 .S.0102 0.2403 0.000 N ¼ 4529.9. po.3612 0. .0059 0.0225 À 0.’’ and the latter.0130 À 1.0165 0.S. nn Jointly statistically significant (w2 ¼ 10.98 1.0248 0.0420 0.71 À 2. The estimates are provided in Tables 3 and 4. po.0001. unemployment U.30 À 2..03 1. I created two new endogenous variables.13 À 1. Similarly. We see straightaway that distinguishing between crisis allies and crisis adversaries reveals important differences in the crisis propensity of both types of states.2841 Standard Error 0. tactical reasons (as the U.74.031n .6135 2.6944 0.55 1. Wald w2 ¼ 67.01).0001 0. TABLE 3.249nn .3320 À 0. or the PRC in opposition to the other during the Cold War). ultimately sides against in these events.32 1.85 1.087n . po.08 4. inﬂation Constant Coefﬁcient À 0.4285 3.53 p Value . ‘‘crisis allies.1296 0.S. allies whom the U. president’s popularity U.0006 À 0. the Dominican Republic in 1965 and Panama in 1989 were both U.001 . president’s popularity U. I term the former.000 . words.S. the U.S.g. perhaps because it opposes particular regime leaders (e.064 .S.186# .S.1046 À 0. prior uses of force Regime military personnel U.S.2320 t Statistic À 1. the U. The second measures the number of crises initiated each year by states that the U.1354 0. Sides Against.000 N ¼ 4529.1036 Standard Error 0.S.77 4.4224 t Statistic À 3.2508 0.33 À 0.747 .S. The unit of analysis for each set of estimates is the same as in Tables 1 and 2Fthe nation-state-year for all nations for which there are data in the period of 1960–2000.
represents another possible illustration of this phenomenon. while states whom the U. po.72 0. 1960–2000 Random Effects Poisson Model Variable Political orientation Political orientation2 Military alignment Military alignment2 Regime polity U.1322 1.37 À 2. unemployment U.S. like we found previously. in some respects.3940 1.1123 0. # Not jointly statistically significant.3655 À 0. Both sets of coefﬁcients were jointly statistically significant in Tables 3 and 4.10 0.S.000 . Generally.S. ultimately sides with (Table 4).S. It may be that the UN voting data provide a more sensitive measure of foreign policy orientation that can better reﬂect evolving and short-term ﬂuctuations in U.018 . while the coefﬁcients for both the lagged defense personnel measure and the previous U. The less democratic the state. in their future problems. these enduring ‘‘rivals’’ may. however. sides against will initiate crises (Table 3).0552 0. prior uses of force Regime military personnel U.001 . support.921 . The more political component of foreign policy orientationFUN voting similarityFprovides the better explanation of crisis initiation than the more military componentFalliance similarities.S. but do help explain the likelihood that states whom the U.29 2.S. those states with which the U.S.33 p Value .0005 À 0.6190 0. States with large militaries and states with whom the U. One thinks of U. they are statistically significant only in the case of states that initiate crises whom the U. uses force more often in conjunction with some state. the more likely it will initiate a crisis that will involve the U. we should not put too much emphasis on these results.92 À 1. we ﬁnd that those states with whom the U.01).7. many Central American nations.S. crisis behavior indicator are positive in both sets of estimates. against it.34 8. Interestingly.0831 0. Thus. has sided against in the past certainly provoke their share of international crises that involves the U. The latter ﬁnding is especially interesting for it seems to suggest that as the U.0193 0.34 À 0.0931 0.1.S.876# . has used military force previously are more likely to initiate crises in the present that ultimately involve the U. relationships with other states that help predict crisis onset.004 .4208 t Statistic 3.S.0259 0. Israel.55 À 3.6892 0. inﬂation Constant Coefﬁcient 3.7256 Standard Error 1. Sides With. not be quite as numerous as the enduring ‘‘allies. the more likely such states are to involve the U.121 . Predicting Regime Crisis Initiation by States Whom the U. allies that come to depend upon U.0208 1.9990 0.S.474n . president’s popularity U.S.0088 0.S.S. sides against in crises are more likely to initiate such events the more different their UN voting patterns. as measured by UN voting similarity. both during and after the Cold War.85 3. sides in crises are more likely to initiate such events the closer their foreign policy orientation to the U.S.S. the Polity 4 ratings of democracy do not predict the propensity of crisis allies to initiate events.0001.S. We also see that foreign policy orientation as measured by alliance similarities is jointly statistically significant in the case of states against whom the U. such as Zaire.733 .001 N ¼ 4529.S. po. the theory of foreign policy orientation is supported in these sets of analyses.0002 0. on their side.16 À 0. sides (Table 4).S. Analogously.2532 À 0.’’ .S..0589 1. Interestingly.0914 À 4. Wald w2 ¼ 165.. and even West Germany during the Cold War.S.S.4133 À 0. although given that neither coefﬁcient alone is statistically significant. n Jointly statistically significant (w2 ¼ 17.JAMES MEERNIK 175 TABLE 4.000 .
crisis adversaries do not evidence any clear and consistent preferences for particular U. Conclusion Our understanding of U.S. although crisis allies tend to seek U. we see that the spatial aspect of crisis onset matters more than the temporal element. As U. may be relatively deﬁcient. Crisis allies especially seem more likely to time the initiation of international incidents to coincide with difﬁcult times for U.S. the general expectation is that these crisis initiators wish to avoid a U. the coefﬁcient for the measure of U. we discover that those nations most similar and dissimilar to the U. These ﬁndings about the differing crisis initiation behaviors between ‘‘crisis allies’’ and ‘‘crisis adversaries’’ call for increased and more focused research. We must also be mindful of the role likely played by internal forces in both friendly Certainly other studies. The present effort builds upon that research agenda and expands our understanding in several ways. Thus. Yet.S. Few studies in this ﬁeld of research. study the propensity of states to bring their allied protectors into crises (see Huth and Russett. are the most likely to become involved in crises. However.S.S.176 Foreign Policy Orientation The impacts of U. or some other nation.S.S. If many or most such states do tend to enjoy better relations with the U. Perhaps because such states would tend to seek U. although in a rather unexpected fashion. political environment.S. response. sides against.S.S. if crisis adversaries tend not to enjoy good relations in general. This ﬁnding then provides some support for the strategic interaction hypothesis.S. involvement. foreign policy and the use of the military has improved substantially in recent years as more research has been conducted on the interrelationship between presidential decision making on the use of force.S. and the opportunities provided by the international environment. response. On the other hand.S. As most studies of strategic interaction and the diversionary use of force assume that the states that initiate crises are doing so against the U.S. consider the possibility that some states that initiate crises do so to encourage a U. 1993. they may have more access to information about the U. More specifically. and economic indicators on the crisis behavior of states also reveal some interesting tendencies. I would like to offer one possible explanation for the more general difference in results between the crisis allies and crisis adversaries. Foreign policy orientation plays a substantial role in determining where conﬂicts arise. they initiate such events when they believe presidents will be more likely to respond with a diversionary use of force. First. and their sophistication in deciphering it. inﬂation is statistically significant and positive in Table 3 among states the U. presidents. Perhaps the reason why crisis allies are more apt to strategically time crises is because they are better aware of U. and economic conditions. political scene and have more experience in interpreting such information. 1998). involvement during times when the U.9 to my knowledge. political. Huth. matter less. states with which the U. in general.S. domestic political environment is conducive to a diversionary use of force.S. but had not tested to determine the inﬂuence exerted by the characteristics of foreign states in the initiation of crises. political conditions in initiating crises. the quality and quantity of their information about the U. unemployment increases and as presidential popularity decreases. 1988b. domestic.S. 9 . This ﬁnding points to the vital importance of distinguishing between crisis allies and crisis adversaries and their differing preferences regarding the desirability of U. while domestic conditions in the U. which would indicate that such states are more likely to initiate events when the cost of living is increasing in the U. 1984. domestic.S. its utility in decision making regarding the timing of crisis initiation may be limited.S. particularly those that focus on extended deterrence. ultimately sides are more likely to initiate crises (Table 4). involvement in a crisis in order to protect their interests.S. Previous research on strategic interaction had highlighted the importance of these conditions.S.S. political.
Earlier I suggested that some states use their adversarial relationship with the U. as just mentioned. U. Journal of Politics 65:1013–1039. there is a marked propensity to initiate such crises when the prospects for what we might consider to be a diversionary use of force are greater. whether as friends or enemies. D. 1999). conditions on crisis timing are markedly limited in this regard. domestic conditions). . but also why they elect to initiate crises at particular points in time for their own national interests. BRECHER.S. New Haven. domestic conditions appear to exercise little inﬂuence in producing more international incidents. these ﬁndings demonstrate once again that future research on crisis initiation needs to focus much more on the types of states that initiate crises and their foreign policy interests. Journal of Conﬂict Resolution 40:636–657. Our models that focus principally upon the impact of U. MICHAEL. When we do not distinguish between states the U.JAMES MEERNIK 177 and adversarial regimes.S. For example.S.S. KENNETH (1996) Democracies Really Are More Pacific (in General): Reexamining Regime Type and War Involvement.S. Yet. SCOTT. Second. Conﬂict Propensity. CT: Yale University Press. American Journal of Political Science 42:1200–1232. may come to depend upon this adversarial relationship as a means to unite an otherwise hostile population. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. References BENNETT. ultimately sides with in crises. LEWIS A. or until they have sufﬁcient support from their military (Dassel and Reinhardt. These possibilities deserve greater exploration. BRUCE.S. CLARK.S.S. we should investigate in more detail the political and military interests of foreign regimes that affect their timing of crisis initiation.S. Ultimately. I see two concerns that ought to generate future research in this area. sides with and those it sides against in crises. We need a broader understanding of not just the types of foreign states that initiate crises (and how they are inﬂuenced by U. or present day Saudi Arabia). First. while others use their friendly relationships to protect themselves from challengers.S. AND JONATHAN WILKENFELD (1997) A Study of Crisis. we need to better understand why some states become involved in enduring crisis relationships with the U. when we do distinguish between these two types of states. DASSEL. The relationship between domestic conditions within the U. DAVID H. AND ERIC REINHARDT (1999) Domestic Strife and the Initiation of Violence at Home and Abroad. Regimes hostile to the U. New York: Free Press. CT: Yale University Press.S. we ﬁnd that among states the U. may spark opposition in the former if regime opponents view the regime leaders as mere clients of the hegemon (one thinks of many of the insurgencies that developed in Latin America during the Cold War [especially Cuba in the late 1950s or Nicaragua in the 1970s]. COSER. KURT. sides do not exhibit such clear preferences. States against whom the U. AND ALAN STAM (2003) Expected Utility Generation and Data Management Program. needs to be undertaken in order to better understand their crisis initiation interests. The intensity of the relationship with the U. (1956) The Functions of Social Conﬂict. AND DAVID LALMAN (1992) War and Reason. (2003) Can Strategic Interaction Divert Diversionary Behavior? A Model of U.S. More research on the internal dynamics of crisis initiators and the utility they derive from confronting the U. to unite their government and citizens. New Haven.S. BENOIT. and the initiation of international crises is more complex. BUENO DE MESQUITA. SCOTT (1998) Integrating and Testing Models of Rivalry Duration. American Journal of Political Science 43:56–85. BENNETT. BUENO DE MESQUITA. BRUCE (1981) The War Trap. we would suspect that many regimes’ leaders would wait until the military balance favors their challenge. D.
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