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Leaders at WarHow Presidents Shape Military Interventions$
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Elizabeth N. Saunders

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449222

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449222.001.0001

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Defining and Explaining Intervention

Defining and Explaining Intervention

(p.20) 2 Defining and Explaining Intervention
Leaders at War

Elizabeth N. Saunders

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the influence of leaders' causal beliefs about the origin of threats on both the initial decision to intervene and the choice of intervention strategy. Different leaders, even within the same state, hold one of two ideal-typical causal beliefs, depending on whether they diagnose threats as emerging from a state's domestic order or whether they instead view threats as arising primarily from external behavior. By directly and indirectly influencing how leaders view the benefits, costs, and probability of success of interventions, leaders' causal beliefs about the origin of threats exert a strong in dependent effect on both when and how states intervene. Although the theory is framed generally, the chapter frequently refers to U.S. foreign policy for ease of exposition.

Keywords:   causal beliefs, military intervention, threats, foreign policy, United States

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