What makes leaders think war? foreign military intervention decision making in post-Cold War Germany /
This dissertation’s focus on “what makes leaders think war” or the decision
making behind foreign military interventions in the post-Cold War era addresses
important questions in IR scholarship on several levels – from the general problem of
war through the more specific issues of its manifestation in the post-Cold War era in
major power foreign military interventions to the still more niche puzzle of German
behavior in this area. As it stood, previous attempts to explain German post-Cold War
foreign military intervention policy left many scholars unsatisfied, leading some to
conclude the phenomenon is either “inexplicable” or has some “irrational” cause.
This research surmounts this impasse by focusing on decision making rather
than decisions per se, as well as by employing a problem representation framework,
which emphasizes the process of option generation rather than option selection. Four
broad approaches drawn from both the International Relations and German Studies
literatures (realism, institutionalism, universalism and historicism) were tested in this
manner, with the conclusion that German decision making vis-à-vis foreign military
interventions is indeed systematic and theoretically structured, with different
approaches each accounting for a portion of the behavior.
Specifically, the two most relevant approaches are institutionalism and
universalism. Institutionalist thinking explains all parties to some degree, while
universalist thinking mainly explains leaders on the left. Conversely, realist thinking
mostly explains perceptions of two right parties, especially the Christian Democrats.
Historicist ontologies are exceedingly minor portions of the decision making equation.
Disaggregating “culture” into the conceptually distinct components of institutionalism,
universalism and historicism moreover provides better insight into decision making and
clarifies distinctions about “which culture” different members espouse. Finally, leaders
change in their ontologies over long periods of time, but tend to be consistent in their
ontology scores within individual decision making occasions. In terms of the latter
(changes over long periods) one can see an interesting pattern of increased support for
war as complexity increases among universalists – contrary to the decision making
literature’s established wisdom. In terms of the former (stability intra-decision
occasion) one can see that decision makers are not cynical or pragmatic, but seem to
adhere to principles in their rhetoric.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:international relations intervention law germany
Date of Publication: