Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Department of Political Science

Advisor(s)

Jonathan Keller

Abstract

Since the conclusion of World War II, the number of expansive interstate wars has decreased while devastating intrastate wars and conflicts have increased exponentially. The Cold War ushered in an era of international stability in the bipolar balance of power, but proxy wars, wars of succession and independence, genocide and civil war made the era anything but peaceful. These conflicts proved to be breading grounds for third party military interventions, which increased simultaneously. In this thesis, I attempted to determine what factors encouraged third party states to intervene militarily in the affairs of other states in the post-World War II era. I conducted a mixed methods approach, incorporating statistical analyses and case studies to identify global and specific trends in intervention. The cross-national statistical analyses include logit and ordered probit analyses and support the role of threat to influence in the international system, power discrepancy, alliance capability and economic conditions of the crisis actor as significant factors to decision-making. On the other hand, the case studies focus on three cases of U.S. intervention (or lack of) across time. They are Lebanon from 1982-1984, Algeria in 1992 and Libya in 2011. The results of the case studies support factors such as threat to influence, media attention and previous successful interventions in the crisis state as causes of U.S. military intervention. Ultimately, I establish that the United States will pursue interventions for the sake of its national interests abroad.

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