Foreign Military Intervention: The Dynamics of Protracted Conflict
Strong nation-states often assume that they can use their military might to intervene in civil wars and otherwise reshape the domestic political order of weaker states. Often, however, as recent history demonstrates, foreign military interventions end up becoming protracted conflicts. This was the case, for example, for the United States in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Syria in Lebanon, Israel in Lebanon, South Africa and Cuba in Angola, and India in Sri Lanka. Some of these cases resulted in major setbacks; in others, a greater degree of success was achieved. But in all six, the interventions turned out to be long, complicated, and costly undertakings with far-reaching repercussions. Foreign Military Intervention: The Dynamics of Protracted Conflict brings together prominent scholars in an ambitious and innovative comparative study. The six case studies noted above constitute a diverse set, involving superpowers and regional powers, democracies and non-democracies, neighboring states and distant states, and incumbent regimes and insurgent movements. The book examines both the similarities and the differences among these cases, identifying key patterns and gaining insights both about the individual cases themselves and the dynamics of foreign military intervention in general. Each case study is structured according to three analytical stages of intervention--getting in, staying in, and getting out--and is focused through three levels of analysis: the international system, the domestic context of the intervening state, and the domestic context of the target state. Three additional chapters provide cross-case comparisons along each of the analytic stages, adding depth and richness to the study. A concluding chapter by the editors provides additional perspective on foreign military interventions, integrating major arguments and presenting key theoretical as well as policy-oriented findings. While all six cases are drawn from the Cold War era, the issues raised and dilemmas posed never have been strictly tied to any particular system structure. Indeed, they preceded the Cold War and, as already evident amidst the new and widespread domestic instability of the post-Cold War world, will postdate it. Foreign Military Intervention: The Dynamics of Protracted Conflict thus is a timely, important study of value and relevance both to scholars and policymakers dealing with the challenges of contemporary world politics.
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