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A tale of three French interventions: Intervention entrepreneurs and institutional intervention choices

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What factors explain the institutional shape of military interventions spearheaded by France? This article suggests that Intervention Entrepreneurs are the deciding agents. To secure the viability of their intervention proposal, they select an intervention venue based on pragmatic grounds. Most importantly, they carefully study possible domestic and international opposition to their intervention plans and conceive institutional intervention choices accordingly. The result is an ad hoc selection of intervention venues with little impact of political ideology, norms, organisational interests, or historical learning. Moreover, on many occasions, little attention is paid to which intervention format would most benefit the peace and prosperity in the conflict theatre in the medium to long term. The article illustrates this argument by tracing French institutional decision-making for interventions in Chad/CAR, Mali, and Libya.

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Although previous studies have examined U.S. public support for the use of military force in particular historical cases, and have even made limited comparisons among cases, a full comparison of a large number of historical episodes in which the United States contemplated, threatened, or actually used military force has been missing. An analysis of U.S. public support for the use of military force in twenty-two historical episodes from the early 1980s through the Iraq war and occupation (2003-05) underscores the continuing relevance of Bruce Jentleson's principal policy objectives framework: the objective for which military force is used is an important determinant of the base level of public support. The U.S. public supports restraining aggressive adversaries, but it is leery of involvement in civil-war situations. Although the objective of the mission strongly conditions this base level of support, the public is also sensitive to the relative risk of different military actions; to the prospect of civilian or military casualties; to multilateral participation in the mission; and to the likelihood of success or failure of the mission. These results suggest that support for U.S. military involvement in Iraq is unlikely to increase; indeed, given the ongoing civil strife in Iraq, continuing casualties, and substantial disagreement about the prospects for success, the public's support is likely to remain low or even decline.
Article
William C. Wohlforth is Assistant Professor of International Relations in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. I am indebted to Stephen G. Brooks, Charles A. Kupchan, Joseph Lepgold, Robert Lieber, and Kathleen R. McNamara, who read and commented on drafts of this article. 1. Charles Krauthammer, "The Unipolar Moment," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 1 (Winter 1990/1991), pp. 23-33. 2. Patrick Tyler, "The Lone Superpower Plan: Ammunition for Critics," New York Times, March 10, 1992, p. A12. 3. For the most thorough and theoretically grounded criticism of this strategy, see Christopher Layne, "The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Arise," International Security, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Spring 1993), pp. 5-51; and Layne, "From Preponderance to Offshore Balancing: America's Future Grand Strategy," International Security, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Summer 1997), pp. 86-124. 4. The phrase—commonly attributed to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—is also a favorite of President Bill Clinton's. For example, see the account of his speech announcing the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Alison Mitchell, "Clinton Urges NATO Expansion in 1999," New York Times, October 23, 1996, p. A20. 5. Kenneth N. Waltz, "Evaluating Theories," American Political Science Review, Vol. 91, No. 4 (December 1997), pp. 915-916; Layne, "Unipolar Illusion"; and Michael Mastanduno, "Preserving the Unipolar Moment: Realist Theories and U.S. Grand Strategy after the Cold War," International Security, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Spring 1997), pp. 44-98. Although I differ with Waltz on the stability of unipolarity, the title of this article and much of its contents reflect intellectual debts to his work on system structure and stability. See Waltz, "The Stability of a Bipolar World," Daedalus, Vol. 93, No. 3 (Summer 1964), pp. 881-901. 6. See Charles A. Kupchan, "After Pax Americana: Benign Power, Regional Integration, and the Sources of Stable Multipolarity," International Security, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Fall 1998), pp. 40-79. Samuel P. Huntington maintained this position in Huntington, "Why International Primacy Matters," International Security, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Spring 1993), pp. 63-83, but he has since abandoned it. A more bullish assessment, although still more pessimistic than the analysis here, is Douglas Lemke, "Continuity of History: Power Transition Theory and the End of the Cold War," Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 34, No. 1 (February 1996), pp. 203-236. 7. As Glenn H. Snyder puts it, the international system "appears to be unipolar, though incipiently multipolar." Snyder, Alliance Politics (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1997), p. 18. The quoted phrases in this sentence appear in Charles A. Kupchan, "Rethinking Europe," National Interest, No. 56 (Summer 1999); Kupchan, "After Pax Americana," p. 41; Layne, "Unipolar Illusion"; Mastanduno, "Preserving the Unipolar Moment"; and Waltz, "Evaluating Theories," p. 914. Although Charles Krauthammer coined the term "unipolar moment" in his article under that title, he argued that unipolarity had the potential to last a generation. 8. Samuel P. Huntington, "The Lonely Superpower," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 2 (March/April 1999), p. 36. For similar views of the post-Cold War structure, see Aaron L. Friedberg, "Ripe for Rivalry: Prospects for Peace in a Multipolar Asia," International Security, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Winter 1993/94), pp. 5-33; and Josef Joffe, "'Bismarck' or 'Britain'? Toward an American Grand Strategy after Bipolarity," International Security, Vol. 19, No. 4 (Spring 1995), pp. 94-117. 9. The assumption that realism predicts instability after the Cold War pervades the scholarly debate. See, for example, Sean M. Lynn-Jones and Steven E. Miller, eds., The Cold War and After: Prospects for Peace—An International Security Reader (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1993); and David A. Baldwin, ed., Neorealism and Neoliberalism: The Contemporary Debate (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). For more varied perspectives on realism and unipolarity, see Ethan B. Kapstein and Michael Mastanduno, eds., Unipolar Politics: Realism and State Strategies after the Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999). Explanations for stability despite the balance of power fall roughly into three categories: (1) liberal arguments, including democratization, economic interdependence, and international institutions. For examples, see Bruce M. Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University...
Article
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Article
Extending and further testing the theory advanced by Bruce Jentleson with post-cold war data, variations in U.S. public support for the use of military force are shown to be best explained by the principal policy objective for which military force is being used, with a third category of “humanitarian intervention” added to the previous two of “foreign policy restraint” and “internal political change.” The principal policy objective theory is shown through a series of tests, including regression and logistic analyses, to offer the most powerful and parsimonious explanation, both directly superseding and indirectly subsuming such other alternative variables as interests, elite cues, risk, and multilateralism. These findings support the broader theoretical view of a rational public purposive and not purely reactive in its opinion formulation and have important implications for the basic dispositions of the types of military interventions the American public will and will not support in the post-cold war era.
Article
This article identifies a “post post-Vietnam” pattern in recent American public opinion on the use of military force. Data is drawn from eight cases of limited military force in the 1980s and the 1990–91 Persian Gulf war. Although other factors enter in, particularly the “halo effect” of quick-strike successes, the variations in public support are best explained by differences in principal policy objectives between force used to coerce foreign policy restraint by an aggressor state, and force used to influence or impose internal political change within another state. Distinctions are made both among and within the cases, showing the American public to have been much more supportive of the use of force when the principal objective was to restrain rather than remake governments. These findings have theoretical implications for the analysis of public opinion, prescriptive implications for U.S. foreign policy strategy, and normative implications for views of the role of the public in the foreign policy process.
Article
In the early 1990s, one of the principal features of the French military establishment was the extent of its commitment outside France's borders, and the encouragement it received to this end from President Frangois Mitterrand. This contrasted with the previous reticence and ambivalence about the engagement of troops outside France. This apparent change of heart had at least as much political as military justification, linked especially to France's relationship with the United Nations after the Cold War. Despite suggestions of accord, however, regarding France's military means and missions, troop deployments in the civil wars in Bosnia and Rwanda aroused considerable discord on political, military and financial grounds, and served to highlight the extent to which the presidential domaine reserve still applied in foreign and military affairs under Mitterrand as it had under his illustrious predecessor, Charles de Gaulle.
Article
One of the defining characteristics of modern French defence is often argued to be the broad public and political consensus which is said to surround it. It is most regularly argued that this stems directly from the influences and decisions of General Charles de Gaulle, such as the external political imperative of maintaining French rank and status in international affairs, and especially the internal political factor of the presidential domaine réservé which he established in matters of defence and military affairs. This article examines primarily the issue of a defence consensus or otherwise surrounding France's external military interventions in the 1980s, under President François Mitterrand, in Lebanon and Chad. It argues that consensus was for the most part only partial and limited, and that partisan political differences were considerable. Moreover, such differences were regularly expressed as harsh criticisms of the leadership, its policy directions and its military capabilities, and these criticisms were periodically expressed across the political spectrum. It further argues that while Mitterrand adopted the domaine réservé with apparent ease, this did not necessarily facilitate consensus and at times it contributed to the disquiet engendered by external military interventions under his direction.
Article
Recent scholarship on international institutions has begun to explore potentially powerful indirect pathways by which international institutions may influence states’ domestic politics and thereby influence the foreign policy preferences and strategies of state leaders. In this paper, we provide evidence documenting the indirect impact of institutional cues on public support for the use of force through an analysis of individual-level survey data and a survey-based experiment that examines support for a hypothetical American intervention in East Timor. We find that institutional endorsements increase support for the use of force among members of the American public who value the institution making the endorsement and among those who do not have confidence in the president. These individual-level analyses show that international institutions can affect domestic support for military action by serving providing a valuable “second opinion” on the proposed use of force.
Article
On 28 January 2008 the European Union launched the military operation EUFOR in Chad and the Central African Republic. Its mandate was to contribute to the security of the civilian population, the numerous refugees from neighbouring Darfur and the local presence of the United Nations. This paper describes and analyses the planning process of this operation at the political-strategic and military-strategic levels with the aim of understanding how the military instrument was intended to generate the desired political effects. The paper argues that, from a military perspective, the EUFOR operation is based on the concept of humanitarian deterrence: the threat of military force is used to discourage potential spoilers from targeting the civilian population. As with any military operation, the planning of EUFOR was plagued by various elements of friction. At least some of this friction seems to flow from the mismatch in expectations between the political-strategic and military-strategic levels. The various political and military-technical constraints within which the operation was planned resulted in an operational posture that is less decisive than what the political ambitions would have suggested.
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