Dictators at War and Peace (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)

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Dictators at War and Peace (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)

Dictators at War and Peace (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)

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Rather, the key distinction between our explanations is whether Galtieri made what he believed to be a desperate gamble because he feared severe punishment, or chose war because he and members of his domestic audience, composed of other junta members and top military officers, believed that diplomacy would be fruitless and that war could further the military’s parochial interests. First, in the theory, all the variation that potentially drives variation in the use of force is between regime types; there are no time-varying factors or variables. This is a book that should be made much more accessible to policy makers because it punctures some dangerous myths by which they are guided. If the peacetime threat of domestic punishment is high, the use of force with the potential for political domestic rewards in the case of victory can be a rational gamble, even if defeat carries a high concomitant likelihood of punishment.

First, actors form views about the benefits of winning compared to continuing on a nonmilitary pathway. In turn, the international opponent of such a leader might also have `more’ private information about his capabilities and resolve. The clearly articulated theoretical argument makes a compelling case for focusing on the two central variables – domestic audiences and civilian vs. Some of these arguments turn out to apply to all types of political regimes, whereas others are unique to autocracies. Indeed, some types of autocracies are no more belligerent or reckless than democracies, casting doubt on the common view that democracies are more selective about war than autocracies.All told, then, even if the Junta’s strategy was risky, it was not unreasonable to believe that when confronted with a bloodless fait accompli the British government would simply walk away, while any attempts at a diplomatic resolution would likely be frustrated by the British government’s refusal to force a transfer on the reluctant islanders. By contrast, there is no difference between the dispute initiation rates of democracies and Machines. Weisiger challenges some of the books’ findings related to military junta regimes, notes that several dictatorships (such as Persian Gulf monarchies) do not easily fit Weeks’ regime categories, and suggests the possibility that variables outside the theory, such as Communist ideology, might account for the observed findings. It is particularly important for policy makers understand how and why certain dictatorships are more prone to war and less competent at it than their democratic counterparts. In other words, evaluation of the explanatory power of a Boss-type regime’s decisions for the use of force must also compare the Boss’s behavior against the behavior of a democracy, a Strongman-, a Junta-, and a Machine-regime in similar circumstances.

With her focus on regime type, Weeks must explain why regime type A went to war in 1938, but regime type B would not have. First, the evidence related to Juntas is open to questions and potential criticisms, which in turn raises some broader questions about the importance of military backgrounds.Why do regimes sometimes stay at peace, but at other times go to war or in other ways choose to use force? The nature of the audience is different—other civilian elites in Machines and military officers in Juntas—but the effect is similar, inducing caution in leaders and causing them to avoid initiating disputes or wars they are not confident about winning. As German Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow famously remarked about the Schlieffen Plan’s intended attack on neutral Belgium, “if the Chief of Staff, especially a strategic authority such as Schlieffen, believes such a measure to be necessary, then it is the obligation of diplomacy to adjust to it and prepare for it in every possible way. There were elections and universal manhood suffrage, but the Chancellor served at the pleasure of the Kaiser and did not require the support of a majority of the Reichstag. I hope my book will spur future scholarship to engage in those theoretical tasks, whether by building on my work or critiquing it.

S. foreign policy is clear as the United States wrangles with several different types of authoritarian governments in China, Russia, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and elsewhere. While the book does not delve into Wilhemine Germany, Downes’s description suggests that the leadership of this period might, like Japan, be coded as a junta because of the domestic power of the military. Moreover, civilians were outnumbered by military officers in important ministries, and were increasingly excluded from important political and military decisions. Leaders of juntas, I argue in the book, are more likely to use force because their audience can benefit from arms buildups and war, and because they tend to be more pessimistic about the efficacy of alternatives to war such as diplomacy.The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. Nor was there good coordination between political and military officials, which is so necessary for effective strategy.



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