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Title: The Dilemma of Peace Operation Design: Powerful Democracies and the Domestic Politics of Civilian Protection
Authors: Everett, Andrea Lynn
Advisors: Keohane, Robert O.
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: civilian protection
complex humanitarian emergencies
humanitarian intervention
peace operations
Subjects: International relations
Political Science
Peace studies
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: A peace operation's capacity to protect vulnerable civilians against devastating political violence depends on a series of choices about how it is designed. Yet in response to today's worst conflicts, the powerful Western democracies with the greatest capacity to design these missions for effective civilian protection do so only occasionally. Often they do not contribute at all. Yet they also regularly participate in ways that primarily gesture toward civilian protection, notably by creating gaps between the protection that soldiers are asked to provide and that they have the capacity to deliver. What explains this variation? What determines when and how powerful states use peace operations to protect - and appear to protect - vulnerable civilians? This dissertation argues that the relationship between competing domestic pressures to save lives while limiting costs and casualties can help to answer these questions. Specifically, the stronger the pressure to protect civilians is, relative to the difficulty of doing so for a reasonable cost, the greater a leader's incentive to pursue robust civilian protection. Likewise, the greater her anticipated costs of action relative to demands for civilian protection, the less incentive she has for anything more than token action. The greater the tension between these pressures, however, the greater the dilemma she faces about how to balance them. Gaps between soldiers' resources and instructions for civilian protection can foster unjustified optimism about a mission's true protection capacity among concerned citizens who are not experts in the design of peace operations and who struggle to recognize these gaps. Leaders confronting a stark political dilemma may thus use these gaps to promote an illusion of doing more for civilians than they really are. I test these ideas both quantitatively and through case studies. The quantitative analysis employs extensive original data, including a list of the most devastating post-Cold War conflicts (or complex emergencies); contributions to peace operations in response by the U.S., UK, France, and - regionally - Australia; and a new measure of public concern about these conflicts in these four states. The case studies include Australian responses to three regional complex emergencies and U.S. responses to war in Darfur from 2003-07. The empirical analyses offer strong support for my expectations, and the case studies provide considerable evidence of the anticipated causal mechanisms. The project contributes to literatures on peacekeeping, humanitarian intervention, and the influence of public opinion over foreign policy. My findings have implications for both future research and the practical problem of designing better peace operations.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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