Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Supporting Rebellion: Liberal Democracy and the American Way of Proxy War
Authors: Arnold, John-Michael
Advisors: Friedberg, Aaron
Contributors: Public and International Affairs Department
Keywords: Civil War
International Security
Proxy War
U.S. Foreign Policy
Subjects: Public policy
Political science
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation addresses two questions: (1) What factors have influenced whether the United States has provided military support to armed rebellions? (2) What factors have determined how effective American support to rebel movements has been in achieving the United States’ foreign policy objectives? The dissertation elaborates a theory—“liberal-democratic proxy war”—which predicts that the United States is only likely to provide sustained support to a rebellion if the following conditions hold: (i) the president assesses that aiding the rebels is likely to serve American interests and can be defended in terms of liberal-democratic ideals; and (ii) there is also a high degree of consensus in Congress that supporting the rebels is consistent with American interests and ideals. Unless those conditions are met, American support to rebels is liable to be too brittle to achieve American political objectives. Even on those occasions when supporting a rebellion does allow the United States to achieve its declared political objectives, the long-term results are liable to be disappointing when viewed from the perspective of a liberal-democratic great power. That is because victorious armed rebellions tend not to produce democratic governance and externally supported wars of attrition are liable to leave societies confronting considerable devastation. Additionally, the United States is liable to reduce its engagement in the country in question swiftly in the aftermath of a conflict. The case study chapters use the theory of liberal-democratic proxy war to explain the United States’ policy responses—and to evaluate the effectiveness of them—to six armed rebellions: those in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola, and Mozambique during the 1980s, as well as those in Libya and Syria that began in 2011.
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:Public and International Affairs

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Arnold_princeton_0181D_12709.pdf2.19 MBAdobe PDFView/Download

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.