14 Items

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

The Trump administration wants regime change in Iran. But regime change usually doesn’t work.

| July 31, 2017

As recent U.S. experiences in AfghanistanIraq and Libya show, helping to overthrow a regime doesn’t usually result in a compliant, friendly government in the target state. 

Laurent Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu, center, shakes hands with Rwandan Military Chief of Staff Sam Kaka in Kigali, Monday, September 8, 1997.


Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

You Can't Always Get What You Want: Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Seldom Improves Interstate Relations

| Fall 2016

In recent decades, the United States has attempted to overthrow the regimes of several other countries in the hopes that the new regimes will be friendly toward Washington. Does foreign-imposed regime change (FIRC) succeed in making target states more accommodating to interveners’ interests? A new dataset and an analysis of foreign interventions in the Congo Wars show that FIRC damages relations between intervener and target state more often than it improves them.

Sergeant John Stanley of the US marines of the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Batallion sprays a Saddam picture on 6 April 2003 near Thamir, a suburb of Baghdad.

AP Photo/Maurizio Gambarini

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Forced to Be Free? Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Rarely Leads to Democratization

| Spring 2013

Is military intervention effective in spreading democracy? Existing studies disagree. Optimists point to successful cases, such as the transformation of West Germany and Japan into consolidated democracies after World War II. Pessimists view these successes as outliers from a broader pattern of failure typified by cases such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

How Smart and Tough Are Democracies? Reassessing Theories of Democratic Victory in War

AP Photo

Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

How Smart and Tough Are Democracies? Reassessing Theories of Democratic Victory in War

| Spring 2009

New evidence challenges the near-conventional argument that democracies are more likely than nondemocracies to win wars they start. A reanalysis of original data on war outcomes and an in-depth case study of the Johnson administration's decisions regarding Vietnam in 1965 demonstrate that democracies of all types are not significantly more likely to win wars. Furthermore, they are constrained by domestic politics and are often pressured into unwinnable wars.

Book - Cornell University Press

Targeting Civilians in War

| March 2008

Accidental harm to civilians in warfare often becomes an occasion for public outrage, from citizens of both the victimized and the victimizing nation. In this vitally important book on a topic of acute concern for anyone interested in military strategy, international security, or human rights, Alexander B. Downes reminds readers that democratic and authoritarian governments alike will sometimes deliberately kill large numbers of civilians as a matter of military strategy. What leads governments to make such a choice?