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Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy

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Ed. by Böhmelt, Tobias / Bove, Vincenzo / Kibris, Arzu / Sekeris, Petros

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Volume 21, Issue 4 (Dec 2015)


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Choosing to Intervene: US Domestic Politics and Moral Imperatives

Roberta Haar
  • Maastricht University, University College Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
/ Lutz F. Krebs
  • Corresponding author
  • United Nations University, Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, Boschstraat 24, Maastricht 6211 AX, The Netherlands
  • Maastricht University, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Postbus 616, Maastricht 6200MD, The Netherlands
  • Email:
Published Online: 2015-12-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2015-0030


The end of the Cold War meant fewer constraints on humanitarian intervention, and the third pillar of the nascent R2P norm suggests at least a moral imperative to intervene when another country’s population is threatened. Yet US leaders continue to shy away from protecting innocents outside of the United States from harm — despite the fact that presidential candidates often campaign on restoring America’s moral lead in the world and, in particular, on US responsibilities to avert mass atrocities. This paper investigates the extent to which US military intervention abroad is driven by domestic considerations. Using logistic regression analysis, we aim to explain decisions by Presidents Bush Sr., Clinton and Bush Jr. to send troops into harms way.

Keywords: foreign policy; military intervention; domestic political pressures; USA


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About the article

Corresponding author: Lutz F. Krebs, United Nations University, Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, Boschstraat 24, Maastricht 6211 AX, The Netherlands, E-mail: ; and Maastricht University, Maastricht Graduate School of Governance, Postbus 616, Maastricht 6200MD, The Netherlands

Published Online: 2015-12-08

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Citation Information: Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, ISSN (Online) 1554-8597, ISSN (Print) 1079-2457, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2015-0030. Export Citation

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