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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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The Role of Leaders

The Role of Leaders

Conclusions and Implications

(p.212) 7 The Role of Leaders
Leaders at War

Elizabeth N. Saunders

Cornell University Press

This chapter summarizes the book's main findings. This book has shown that leaders' causal beliefs about the origin of threats systematically influenced decisions to intervene by altering the cost-benefit calculus of the intervention itself and by shaping the tools available to states when they undertook military interventions. Presidents from the early twentieth century—when the United States acquired the power to project its influence abroad and intervene militarily—to the post-Cold War era viewed the international environment they confronted through the lens of their beliefs and intervened accordingly. Internally focused leaders are more likely to undertake transformative interventions whereas externally focused leaders are more likely to undertake nontransformative interventions. The remainder of the chapter discusses the implications of the book's findings for scholarship, policy, and contemporary issues.

Keywords:   military intervention, intervention decision making, foreign policy, international relations, causal beliefs

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