American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II: Forcing Freedom [1st ed.] 978-3-030-11231-8, 978-3-030-11232-5

This book explores the motivations behind American military interventions in the Post-World War II era that purported to

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American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II: Forcing Freedom [1st ed.]
 978-3-030-11231-8, 978-3-030-11232-5

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xv
A Review of the Forced Democracy Strategy (Scott Walker)....Pages 1-22
The Dominican Republic (Scott Walker)....Pages 23-34
Grenada (Scott Walker)....Pages 35-47
Panama (Scott Walker)....Pages 49-63
Afghanistan (Scott Walker)....Pages 65-84
Iraq (Scott Walker)....Pages 85-105
Understanding the Rationale for FD Interventions (Scott Walker)....Pages 107-135
Back Matter ....Pages 137-144

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American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II Forcing Freedom

Scott Walker

American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II

Scott Walker

American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II Forcing Freedom

Scott Walker United Arab Emirates University Al Ain, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates

ISBN 978-3-030-11231-8 ISBN 978-3-030-11232-5  (eBook) Library of Congress Control Number: 2018966696 © The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors, and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. Cover illustration: © Harvey Loake This Palgrave Pivot imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland

For Yeimy, Camilo, and Amara.


Why write a book about America’s attempts to install democratic regimes by force? While a number of academic works have made notable contributions to this topic, they often focus on the how rather than the why aspects of such interventions. Moreover, while the topic of forced democratization is one that by necessity bridges the gap between comparative politics and international relations, most efforts lean too much toward one of these sub-fields or the other—and thus usually suffer either from a failure to focus on the specifics of each case or, alternatively, too narrow a focus on just one case. The result is that it is difficult for such research to allow us to make generalizable statements about such interventions. One might ask how I became interested in this research topic. In 2003 Fred Pearson, a then-colleague in the Department of Political Science at Wayne State University, returned from a conference and expressed his exasperation over a panel that he had participated in. Fred was more or less alarmed by the idea that political scientists would even be mooting the possibility that military intervention might be a viable option for removing autocratic governments and replacing them with democratic ones. And from a statistical standpoint, Fred’s concerns appeared to be justified. While it was too early to evaluate the invasion of Afghanistan, and the Iraq invasion would only occur during that year, very few American interventions of any type had led to successful democratization during the years since World War II—let alone in the years before that. And Fred was not alone in his skepticism. The conventional vii



wisdom among political scientists at that time was, and perhaps still is, that internal processes were the most likely pathways that countries could take from autocracy toward democracy. However, during the 1990s, scholars had begun to toy with the idea democratization might occur from the outside. And one potential possibility for how this might occur was through directly replacing autocratic governments with democratic ones. I have found that studying attempts to bring about democracy by force is interesting because it involves approaching democratization from an international relations perspective as well as through the traditional lens of comparative politics. I maintain that the overall level of scholarship on research related to the forced democratization phenomenon has been of high quality. It has revealed a great deal about the success rates of such attempts and the conditions under which they were most likely to succeed. What I have noticed, however, is that America is continually tempted to invade other countries in order to liberalize them despite the low prospects of success. Nearly all of the research I have reviewed points to the conclusion that this policy is unlikely to be successful, except perhaps under extremely limited conditions. Thus, it does not appear logical that the USA would continually resort to this policy option. Yet it does, again and again. I began to realize, gradually, that what was needed was an attempt to understand the question of why. Why does America continue to engage attempts to bring about democracy through intervention? And is it likely to be tempted to do so again in the future? To be sure, we have seen a great number of academically sound attempts to understand the causes of American intervention behavior in general. Likewise, there is no shortage of effort to chronicle American military interventions in the postwar period—individually or collectively. And there has been a good deal of research on American democracy promotion efforts in general. However, only a few works have attempted to explain America’s continued fascination with the idea of installing democracy by force, and most of these efforts advance only one argument for why this is the case. What was missing, in my opinion, was an effort to study several cases in some depth in an attempt to gain a greater appreciation for why America attempts to force democracy despite this strategy’s relatively low prospects for success. Thus, my investigation is designed to identify the salient American motivations behind post-World War II interventions that were ostensibly



focused on replacing autocratic governments with democratic ones. Although one cannot conclusively answer questions regarding motivations for political actions, I believe that this research effort is a credible attempt to explore the role that America’s desire for a democratic outcome may have played in each of these interventions. The book is organized as follows. Chapter 1 introduces the idea of Forced Democracy (FD) attempts. As is true of most attempts to define a social science phenomenon, my attempt is not foolproof, as it is subject to definitional challenges and a great deal of conceptual baggage. Nonetheless, I believe I arrive at a relatively non-controversial way to identify the phenomenon that is the topic of my book. Chapters 2 through 6 focus on five cases of American intervention in the post-World War II period. The first case is the Johnson administration’s 1965 invasion of the Dominican Republic during the country’s civil war. The second case is the Reagan administration’s invasion of the small Caribbean nation of Grenada in reaction to the seizing of power on the island by the Marxist-Leninist New Jewel Movement. The third case is the George H.W. Bush administration’s 1989 invasion of Panama in order to remove General Manuel Noriega from power. The fourth case is the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by an American-led coalition during the George W. Bush administration, ostensibly to remove the Taliban from power. The final case is the 2003 invasion of Iraq by another American-led coalition that removed the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein from power. The book concludes with Chapter 7, which digs deeply into America’s rationale for attempting to force democracy abroad. It suggests that a mix of both normative and instrumental factors is likely to tempt the country to intervene under certain conditions. Moreover, it argues that the attractiveness of the FD option is likely to be enhanced by the fact that each of the alternative policy tools designed to promote democracy abroad—sanctions, aid, and democracy assistance—suffers from notable shortcomings. Before I conclude, I think it is best to suggest what I believe that you, the reader, might expect to accomplish by reading the book. The answer is that you will gain a greater appreciation for why America is so often tempted to replace autocratic regimes with democratic ones despite the fact that such efforts are met with success. You may find it more useful to focus on one or more individual cases of FD intervention that interest you the most. Or you may choose to focus on identifying the root causes



of all FD interventions, in which case the last chapter will be the most interesting to you. Either way, reading the first chapter is essential, as it introduces the concept of FD interventions and grounds the research in this book in the existing academic literature on the subject. Al Ain, Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates

Scott Walker


I would like to offer my profound thanks to two reviewers (and good friends), Lance Hahn and John Booth, for offering their excellent assessments of my work. I received a great deal of institutional support for my work on this book. In particular, I would like to thank the KEEENZ (Knowledge and Expertise Exchange Europe New Zealand) project for funding my research study leave at Lund University. I also thank the Department of Political Science at Lund University and the Department of Political Science at the University of San Diego, as well as the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Department of Political Science at the University of California at Irvine. Of course, I greatly appreciate the support of my two employers during the writing of the manuscript, the Department of Political Science at United Arab Emirates University and the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Canterbury. Finally, I thank my incredible (and incredibly patient) family for helping me through this process. Yeimy, Camilo, and Amara, I could not have gotten through this without you.



1 A Review of the Forced Democracy Strategy 1 2 The Dominican Republic 23 3 Grenada 35 4 Panama 49 5 Afghanistan 65 6 Iraq 85 7 Understanding the Rationale for FD Interventions 107 Index 137





Scott Walker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at United Arab Emirates University. He publishes on topics related to human rights, democratization, and conflict. Dr. Walker’s work has appeared in journals such as Human Rights Quarterly, Journal of Human Rights, and Conflict Management and Peace Science.



A Review of the Forced Democracy Strategy

Abstract  This chapter introduces the concept of Forced Democracy (FD) interventions. The first part of the chapter offers a definition of FD interventions and offers a discussion of the degree to which a desire to bring about democracy is at the heart of these actions. The second part discusses the liberal and realist traditions that underpin the FD strategy. The third part of the chapter focuses historical roots of the FD strategy in American foreign policy. The fourth part discusses the academic treatment of the FD phenomenon over the last several decades. The chapter concludes that while academic research has discovered much about the dynamics of FD interventions (the “how”), it has focused much less on the equally important question of the role that the desire to bring about democracy actually plays in American foreign policy (the “why”). Keywords  Intervention

· Democracy · Foreign policy · USA

1  What Are FD Interventions? Forced Democracy (FD) interventions reflect a desire on the part of powerful Western liberal democracies to create governments in their own political images. One potentially powerful reason that the FD strategy may be so appealing is that it appeared to be extremely successful in the World War II experiences of Germany, Japan, and Italy, three highly illiberal regimes that were transformed into liberal democracies after military © The Author(s) 2019 S. Walker, American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II,



defeat by the Allied powers. Because each of these three “successful” cases constitutes a rather dramatic example of a successful democratic transformation, American leaders have often been tempted to recreate these Axis transformations in “hard to crack” cases of autocracy. While what constitutes an FD attempt appears to be rather straightforward, this foreign policy strategy is not always clearly distinguishable from others—both in terms of intent and in the actions a state might take in order to carry out the policy. For instance, the implementation of sanctions may appear to follow roughly the same rationale as that of the FD strategy: to enhance the likelihood of democratization in a target country through coercive means. However, the method for achieving the objective is different. While sanctions are designed to push a regime toward democracy using economic or diplomatic means, FD interventions attempt to deliver democracy by removing the illiberal regime and installing a democratic system in its place. Similarly, external interventions intended to restore pre-existing democratic governments (as was the case with the regime of President Jean Bertrand Aristide in Haiti), or to replace one autocrat with another (such as when the USA supported the coup that led to the replacement of President Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam in 1963) may appear to be a very similar types of actions since they involve the hostile overthrow of a regime. However, while FD interventions are intended to replace “undesirable” (and usually hostile) regimes with friendly ones, their purpose also includes bringing about a regime that is more democratic than the existing one. Keeping these considerations in mind, I define a FD attempt as: An attempt by a liberal government or governments to bring about democracy in an illiberal target state through military force.

I emphasize the word “attempt” here, as the FD strategy ultimately includes cases of intervention and forced regime change that are unsuccessful as well as those that succeed. In fact, irrespective of precisely how one defines them, a rather high percentage of FD attempts do not prove successful in the long run; most FD attempts do not result in democratic change in the target country, even in the short term (see, e.g., Bueno de Mesquita and Downs 2006; Gleditsch et al. 2007). The definition above is consistent with how many of the principal studies on FD have treated this concept (see Meernik 1996;



Peceny 1999; Bueno de Mesquita and Downs 2006; Walker and Pearson 2007). However, a potential weakness of this definition is that it does not account for the degree to which the desire for democratization played in either the decision to intervene or any post-intervention pro-democracy measures. It is probably impossible to convince die-hard skeptics that countries intervene for any other reason than narrow selfinterest; thus, it would be foolish to argue that any intervention has ever occurred as a purely altruistic attempt to establish democracy. Thus, given the dominant motive of self-interest that political scientists almost universally attach to explanations of state behavior, how do we try to identify the motives behind FD interventions? While disagreements exist over the degree to which the desire for democracy is actually at the heart of decisions to attempt to change an autocratic regime by force, I argue that we cannot discount the role of the desire for democracy on the part of American policymakers in the post-World War II era. Therefore, it is not necessary that we assume democracy is the only, or even the primary, goal of intervention. Instead, we need to accept that an intrinsic desire to promote democracy may play a role in the decision to intervene in some cases. But how are we to place the centrality of democracy promotion in American foreign policy? Wolff and Wurm (2011, 87) create a useful typology of ways in which countries may view the idea of democracy promotion. At the minimalistic end of the spectrum is what the authors term the rhetorical view, in which policymakers view democracy promotion as a mere tool that can be applied to support a purely “materialist” (cost–benefit) endeavor. Political actors pursuing the rhetorical strategy would use the concept of democracy promotion solely as a tool to justify their pursuit of “narrow, security-oriented national interests (ibid., 83).” The authors argue that if we accept that powerful liberal states only use democracy promotion in a rhetorical sense, then the whole exercise is entirely futile. Therefore, it follows, the study of FD strategies is only worthwhile if we believe that states can potentially attach some actual importance to the value of democracy. If an intervention is merely a rhetorical device, then any attempt to distinguish FD attempts from other forms of military intervention would be pointless. The next category in Wolff and Wurm’s typology classifies external democracy promotion as an instrumental aim of foreign policy: “democracy promotion is just one instrument among others (such as commercial liberalism or utilitarian concerns) that is applied to the extent that


it contributes to the ‘real’ aims…that guide foreign policy” (ibid., 87). According to this classification, the desire to bring about democracy in a target state is a contributing factor, but not a central one, to a materialist (cost–benefit) view of foreign policy. If leaders value democracy through an instrumental lens, democracy promotion would at best have an identifiable but not a particularly central role in the decision to intervene in an autocratic state. At this level, FD attempts might be distinguishable from those in which democracy was not a consideration. However, such a distinction would be of dubious utility because of the minor role that the desire to establish democracy plays in the overall decision-making calculus. A third, somewhat more central, role that Wolff and Wurm suggest external democracy promotion may play in American foreign policy is that of a secondary aim, which they equate to what Carothers calls a “semi-realist” approach to democracy promotion (1999, 16; in Wolff and Wurm 2011, 87). As a secondary aim of policymakers, democracy promotion is understood to be an important concern, but one that may lose significance when it comes into conflict with more central policy interests. One could argue, given the centrality of the importance of democracy in American political culture, that a democratic outcome may be in some instances be at least a secondary consideration in the decision to intervene. Finally, at the other end of Wolff and Wurm’s typology is a classification that places democracy promotion as the primary goal of American leaders. At this location on the spectrum, advancing democracy is an aim that takes a significant role in guiding foreign policy actions, and it exists on an equal plane with other concerns.1 Clearly, if democracy promotion is a primary goal of American foreign policy, then interventions are said to be initiated out of a concern for democracy can be uncritically accepted as genuine. Where on this scale does the centrality of external democracy promotion to American foreign policy actually fit? One might make a strong case that, on balance, American democracy promotion falls somewhere in between the two extremes of being purely rhetorical and being the principal raison d’etre of interventions. It might not be difficult for many to accept the proposition that, at a minimum, the desire to spread democracy has a degree of instrumental value in helping to determine American foreign policy. The political culture of the USA fully embraces democratic values, both in written and spoken discourse. There are no



major societal groups or movements in the American political landscape that stand in opposition to these values. However, the question remains to what degree democracy is a central goal of modern American foreign policy. I argue that, given the centrality of democracy to the American political identity and the fact that there are political advantages to pursuing democratic objectives, a desire to intervene for democratic purpose can be at least a secondary concern in policymakers’ minds in some foreign policy decisions (I refer to these advantages at length in Chapter 7). It is almost certainly a bridge too far to argue that democracy is a primary motive for American foreign policy behavior that is equal to or even more central to American foreign policy strategy than security concerns. Clearly, if other, more critical national security aims cannot be achieved through a push for democracy in a target state, we would not expect an FD intervention to occur. However, if a desire for democratic change is a secondary concern, it may help to tip the balance in the direction of an intervention that attempts to establish democracy. I concede that we will probably never be able to make the case that democratizing a target state is the sole purpose of any military intervention. However, to say that democracy is in all instances merely a rhetorical device or an inconsequential factor that can never play a significant role in foreign policy decision making is also too sweeping an assumption. The truth seems to be somewhere in the middle. My position—that we should entertain the possibility of an intermediate position—is based on the premise that it is rather implausible to argue that strategic concerns are the sole objective of American foreign policy. Elshtain (in Carothers 2007, 18) argues that an essential element of the American identity is a sense of a burden, or “moral imperative,” to spread democracy. At the same time, ideological principles almost never operate in a vacuum; they are invariably tempered with self-interest. Among available policy tools aimed at liberalization, direct military intervention is almost never the first option considered. Instead, it often becomes more attractive to policymakers if and when other liberalization strategies do not produce the desired result. Liberalization strategies can be conceptualized using a spectrum of policy choices varying from least intrusive to most intrusive. At the least extreme end of such policy choices are democracy assistance and diplomatic pressure. Somewhere in the middle are political and economic sanctions, as well as boycotts. At the most extreme end are threats of military action and the actual resort to military action.2


Why would powerful democracies such as the USA engage in aggressive democracy promotion? In the next section, I present some of the most commonly suggested rationales for why leaders might consider FD interventions.

2  Roots of the FD Strategy While the idea of promoting democracy through external intervention is a twentieth-century phenomenon, it draws on some older international relations concepts. Liberalism and realism, the two dominant international relations paradigms, both play a role in the FD strategy, as does the uniquely American tradition of crusading in order to spread its liberal democratic values abroad. 2.1   The Liberal Tradition At its core, the FD strategy is based on the premise that it is possible to use military intervention as a means to successfully replace autocratic regimes with democratic ones. As such, one can argue that FD interventions are rooted in liberal ideals that hearken back to the writings of Immanuel Kant, who foresaw a world of pacific liberal partners that would conduct both trade and global politics in a highly cooperative manner due to mutually shared interests in sustained peace and prosperity. Using Kantian reasoning, increasing the number of democratic polities would be desirable due to the expectation that a global community comprised primarily of like-minded liberal states would be more likely to be peaceful and prosperous. At the beginning of the post-Cold War era, Lawrence Whitehead commented that Western leaders have based pro-democracy interventions on “long-standing confidence that ‘all good things’ (US influence, economic freedom and prosperity, political liberty and representative government) tend naturally to go together” (1991, 356). Attempts by liberal governments to uproot autocratic regimes are not new. The USA fought in a coalition to overthrow the German leadership in World War I and in another coalition to defeat the governments of Germany, Italy, and Japan in World War II. The justification for such actions was based mainly on the idea that these states were governed by illiberal or tyrannical regimes that should not be allowed to function in the international system. The thought of a postwar world ruled by the



Axis powers was reason enough to pursue the war against Germany and Japan. Creating a democratic regime for the citizens of the Axis countries simply could not have been one of the primary considerations of the Allied Powers at the time of intervention, given the high-stakes conflict in which they were engaged. During the Cold War, liberal ideals were always indisputably nested within the geopolitical struggle for supremacy between the Americans and their Soviet rivals. That is not to say, however, that the USA did not intervene with the intention of installing democratic regimes through military force, or that such efforts were never successful. For instance, the ousting of Manuel Noriega’s autocratic rule in Panama in 1989 and the subsequent installation of a democratic regime have resulted in a reasonably functioning democratic state for more than two decades. Likewise, the fact that the USA has often intervened to support illiberal regimes (such as the Diem regime in Vietnam) or to overthrow democratically elected ones (Guatemala, Indonesia, or Chile) does not rule out the possibility that it could have genuinely attempted to install democratic regimes by force elsewhere. At the end of the Cold War, the United States and its allies sensed an opportunity to take advantage of the indeterminacy in the global power structure by shaping the world in ways that would benefit their own interests. In the early post-Cold War era, ideas rooted in liberalism served as rationales for interventions under the presidencies of both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. While Clinton’s immediate predecessor, George H. W. Bush, never emerged much beyond mere rhetoric in his push for a “New World Order,” American foreign policy under the two succeeding presidents consciously followed a strategy of using American power to increase the global reach of liberalism. While Clinton and Bush may have shared a common end goal of expanding the liberal community of nations, the strategies by which they sought to achieve this goal were markedly different. Clinton’s ideology followed the neoliberal institutionalist path of promoting the growth of a liberal international order through the strengthening of international institutions. Keohane and Martin argue that economic and securityrelated “cooperative outcomes” become increasingly likely as the odds of mutual cooperation are maximized, and institutions are developed to discourage “cheating” (1995, 45). While the Clinton a­ dministration was involved in several interventions (such as Bosnia, Kosovo, and Somalia), the purpose of these missions was primarily humanitarian. The idea of


advancing democracy was never a central goal of any Clinton-era military action. While one may argue that at least one illiberal leader, Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic, may have been ousted and replaced with a democratic regime as an indirect result of being discredited after military defeat by the USA and its allies, the primary goals of the Clinton-era interventions were to protect human rights and restore order rather than to create democracy. Replacing autocratic regimes with democratic alternatives was never the stated intent of such actions. In contrast, the George W. Bush administration’s project to aggressively pursue democracy across the world arose from the philosophy of neoconservatism, a view of the world that is also rooted in a liberal idea—that societies are perfectible and that democracy can flourish in hostile locales even if it is initiated by external means. Neoconservatives believe that democracy can take hold in a country regardless of whether the country has a history of liberal institutions and regardless of existing political or cultural divisions. As opposed to liberal internationalists, neoconservatives believe that direct, forceful action may be required to secure democracy and increase the likelihood of a cooperative world order: Neoconservatism holds the United States has not only the moral imperative to promote democracy but also the strategic interest in doing so because democracies do not fight one another. Neoconservatism is also relatively optimistic about the possibility that military force can be an effective means to accomplish this goal. (Downes and Monten 2013, 95)

In short, liberal ideas about politics are rooted in the belief that it is possible to transform the world into a more cooperative place. Liberal internationalists focus on building institutions as the key to this transformation, while their neoconservative cousins believe that creating opportunities for individuals in oppressed societies to enjoy individual freedoms is the first requirement for spreading democracy around the world. The fact that illiberal societies have been transformed into democratic bastions in the past is, of course, ammunition for those who adopt some version of the liberal perspective. Japan and Germany were once extremely hostile to democracy and are now beacons of democracy, so one could argue that it logically follows that it is possible to spread liberal ideas across the world through similar interventions elsewhere.



2.2   The Realist (Realpolitik) Tradition As much as they appeal to the liberal side of policymaking, FD interventions also reflect an underlying pragmatic, or realpolitik, view of the world. The fact that powerful democracies attempt to create entities that have similar economic and political structures to their own reflects the premise that countries with similar interests and values are not likely to be in conflict with one another. Thus, (re)creating a country in one’s own image, so to speak, can be seen as acting in an intervening country’s narrow self-interest. Indeed, one would not expect to encounter many international relations scholars who would accept the view that countries ever intervene militarily for purely altruistic or idealistic reasons. Instead, realism holds that a state (even a liberal, democratic one) will not intervene unless doing so is intended to strengthen its own geopolitical position. Thus, it is relatively non-controversial to state that any intervention designed to replace a non-democratic regime with a democratic one reflects an inherent desire on the part of the intervening country to create a country with a type of system that is compatible with its own. FD interventions can serve to not only create new allies but can also result in states with political and economic systems that are more ideologically agreeable to the intervening country. In the case of the USA, a global superpower, such an action may represent part of a larger effort to create a geopolitical order. During the Cold War, realpolitik was believed to be a primary motivation for American interventions, as containing the Soviets was always in the forefront of the country’s foreign policy objectives. During this period, several interventions occurred in which democracy was one of the stated goals. Sometimes these interventions were successful, such as those in Grenada and Panama, which occurred under the Reagan and George H. W. Bush presidencies, respectively. While this might be the case, the majority of US interventions during the Cold War did not have the installation of democratic regimes as a goal. Ikenberry (2000) believes that liberal ideals are rooted in more pragmatic concerns: The common view that it [America’s activist role in pushing for democracy around the world] is an idealist impulse is wrong. The American promotion of democracy abroad, in the broadest sense, particularly as it has been

10  S. WALKER pursued after World War II, reflects a pragmatic, evolving, and sophisticated understanding of how to create a stable international political order and a congenial security environment: what might be called an American “liberal” grand strategy. This orientation sees the character of the domestic regimes of other states as hugely important for the attainment of American security and material interests [italics mine]. Put simply, the US is better able to pursue its interests, reduce security threats in its environment, and foster a stable political order when other states—particularly the major great powers—are democracies rather than non-democracies. (103)

While democracy, free markets, and other liberal ideals may have been the stated primary goals of American Cold War-era interventions, geopolitical realities have always been at the forefront of American foreign policy. Anti-communism was never far beneath the surface. Is it possible to argue, for example, that the Grenada invasion of 1981 was not at least as much about keeping Soviet influence off of the island as much as it was about ensuring that a liberal government took power? After 1990, freed from the shackles of the Cold War rivalry, would “The World’s Only Superpower” concern itself less with realpolitik concerns and spend more time advancing its own stated goals of human rights and democracy? While it is clear that a bipolar world no longer existed, a strong sense of what Charles Krauthammer notably called a “unipolar moment” was afoot. As the USA was unchallenged as a global power, Krauthammer argued, it needed to ignore isolationist temptations and work to create a global climate free of terrorism, thus “averting chaos” (1991, 33). The rationale of anti-communism was no longer present, of course, but the USA moved in the direction of replacing this threat with the bogeyman of global terrorism. A wide open geopolitical post-Cold War space fueled the argument that the time was ripe to spread American power and values around the world, which conveniently dovetailed with the interventionist arguments of the neoconservatives. Boudreau (2007) claims that a legitimate democratizing impulse does exist in the minds of American leaders who are nevertheless always under pressure to yield to realpolitik concerns: Will policymakers be willing to accept the rise of apparently hostile regimes for the sake of building democratic modes of governance? That is, if democracy and the war on terrorism do not prove easily compatible, on which side will we more likely compromise? While a rejection of



democracy in favor of counter-terrorism and support for Western regimes is likely not in the cards, it is difficult to imagine the realist politics of military force and counterforce retreating either. (199)

Ultimately, neither the Iraq nor the Afghanistan intervention would have occurred without a desire on the part of the USA to reshape the Middle East in a manner that strengthened its political hand. With the loss of Iran, its strategic linchpin for the eastern part of the Middle East, the USA had for many years lacked a powerful partner in this critical area of the world. Democracy was not the explicit rationale for intervention in either case, but rather a concern that was secondary to the central ones: weapons of mass destruction in the case of Iraq and human rights abuses of the Taliban in the case of Afghanistan.

3  The American Tradition of Liberalizing Interventions While installing a democratic regime in an illiberal target country has frequently been a stated goal of US-led interventions in the post-World War II period, the roots of the idea of FD interventions run much deeper. America’s crusading interventionist mentality has its origins in the early development of the republic. Like other countries, the USA based its early interventions on immediate political needs, e.g., the pacification of the Barbary pirates in the early 1800s. Over time, however, leaders began to justify their interventions based not only on narrow strategic interests but also on spreading American ideology. The Monroe Doctrine reflected a belief among American leaders and the public that foreign policy actions of other major nineteenth-century powers such as Prussia, England, and Spain were not motivated by a desire to advance individual liberty since they were non-democratic monarchies. Since the USA, by comparison, was founded by and for “free” people (aside from women, slaves, many non-landholding males, and a few other groups, of course), it bore the right, and many argued a responsibility, to spread its ideas around the world. Thus, the crusading strain in American foreign policy was rooted in a sense of moral righteousness that sprung from its sense of uniqueness as a republic. Hook suggests that this “democratist” penchant for crusading has been “underway since the nation’s history” (2002, 112).


Stoessinger (1979) aptly describes the foundation of this crusading mentality: The United States was not only to be a morally superior democratic state in its domestic life. It was also to set an example of morally superior democratic behavior in its foreign policy. Let the corrupt Europeans continue to devour each other. America would be a morally superior “city on a hill.” (5)

He claims that the crusading aspect of American foreign policy is cyclical in nature due to the fact that “unfortunately, the moralist mentality is deeply embedded in America and seems to come in cycles” (ibid., 5). Stoessinger also argues that this tendency to crusade was deeply embedded in the American psyche, but that its presence has not been equally present at all times. Crusading leaders arise, but not every president is a crusader, and not every period is one in which crusading for American values is the defining element of American foreign policy (ibid., 289). In the nineteenth century, the country’s crusading fervor was usually kept in check by its isolationist tendencies, as America frequently focused inwardly in order to avoid becoming entangled in global politics. Stoessinger claims, however, that the American “crusading mechanism” was permanently set into place in 1898 during the Spanish-American conflict. As the country moved away from isolationism, it did so, ostensibly not merely to defeat its foes or to restore political order, but “to fight a crusade to destroy despotism…Americans could justify such force only in the service of a universal moral principle” (ibid., 5). Hook and Spanier argue that this crusading tendency is a natural result of this moral underpinning of American foreign policy. As America equates its own moral principles with universal ideas, the goal of transforming diverse political systems into replicas of the US model has over time become an entrenched feature of the US “style” of foreign policy (2000, 17). Thus, American leaders frequently feel pressure to justify interventions by referring to the country’s democratic mission. However, Hook (2002) argues that because the country supported dictators in Vietnam and Cuba during the Cold War, it was never really interested in “matching rhetoric and reality” (12). The USA did not necessarily abide by this moral rhetoric in practice, which can easily be construed as being hypocritical given the fact that the country has supported numerous autocratic allies. However, it is difficult



to completely deny the presence of a moral foundation in American foreign policy. One only needs to have a few conversations with older generations of American veterans to understand that one of their principal motivations for serving in the armed forces was to improve conditions of the people in the countries in which they were fighting. Thus, while the US’ record of advancing democracy may be checkered, modern presidents need to justify interventions by linking them to the advancement of personal freedom, as this is a firmly held American value. The moral quagmire of Vietnam may have dampened this crusading element to some degree, as the USA began to question its moral compass to a degree that it had never done before. However, just as Vietnam played a role in making policymakers more cautious about interventions to prop up friendly regimes, so have Iraq and Afghanistan played roles in shaping what policymakers are likely to think about future interventions. The inertia toward intervention as part of a moral crusade may not be as strong as it has been in the past, but it is still present to some degree.

4  FD as an Academic Research Question How did political scientists become interested in the FD interventions? And how has the study of this phenomenon evolved over time? The next section focuses on the academic treatment of FD interventions over the past few decades. 4.1   Genesis of a Research Question Forced democratization is a relatively new research area that has sprung up since the end of the Cold War. Research on this topic began in what might be considered a different age of democratization research. The early and mid-1990s were a time when the skeptics of democracy were on the run, and the global zeitgeist pointed in the direction of the expansion of democracy. Francis Fukuyama’s famous End of History thesis was still fresh in researchers’ minds. At the same time, a healthy vein of research began to delve into the causes of democratization, including the role of external pressure and forces. Prior to the mid-1990s, it is safe to say that the balance of political science scholarship viewed the use of American military intervention to force liberalization as, to use Abraham Lowenthal’s language, “negligible, often counterproductive, and occasionally positive” (1991, 243;


cited in Peceny 1998, 549). The idea that external forces can bring about positive democratic change appeared to be a counterintuitive one to most scholars. After all, it was almost a truism in political science that democracies are most commonly established through sweat, blood, and compromise. Should a country’s democratic institutions not be indigenous to the society in which they are established? Initiating democracy from the outside may appear to be contrary to the very essence of democracy; government authority is presumably based on the will of the people and the fact that their representatives are principally empowered by free and fair elections. So how could imposing democracy from the outside not be seen as non-democratic when it does not rely in the first instance on popular will? During the early post-Cold War period, however, political scientists began to focus on the possibility that democratization in a particular country may not strictly depend on domestic factors; external processes may also be critical. Part of the impetus for this new research direction was an increasing awareness among scholars that existing theories of democratization, which had primarily come out of the comparative politics literature, were frequently too dismissive of external factors. In an increasingly globalized world, it is likely that all of a country’s internal political processes will be affected by what is happening on the outside. Plattner (2009) provides one of the most succinct accounts for why the wall between comparative politics (which focuses on internal political processes) and international relations (which focuses on global political factors) was becoming blurred in the political science community: “Drawing a bright line between exported and home-grown political change is inherently difficult, especially in light of the high degree of international connectivity in today’s world” (3). Plattner points out, for instance, that both the spread and the fall of communism happened as political change diffused across borders. How does this diffusion affect domestic politics? Sorenson believes that democratization is inherently dependent upon economic relationships that potential democratizers have with external countries: The idea that democracy can only grow from within and that external forces must stay out of the picture is problematic in another way. It downplays the extent to which any political system in the world is increasingly dependent on its external surroundings. For many Third World countries, a large portion of their state budget consists of development aid



from external donors, and their economies deeply depend on links with the world market. The end of the Cold War has also demonstrated that political change in one country (or region) is a major influence on political development in other countries or regions. (2008, 82)

Two early efforts, by Meernik (1996) and Hermann and Kegley (1998), sought to answer the question of whether, in Meernik’s words, “the aggressive use of force is an effective tool” in bringing about democratic change (1996, 392). While Hermann and Kegley are known for their interest in foreign policy decision making, the authors believed that a logical extension of this question is whether the American propensity to aggressively promote democracy abroad actually leads to more liberal outcomes in the targets of military interventions: Is there a pattern to what happens in the political institutions of the target countries as a result of the interventions; that is, have governments of these states become more democratic or, at least, remained within the liberal democratic community under the pressure of a U.S. military presence? Are there certain types of interventions that are more effective than others in increasing the “democraticness” of the target? (1998, 92)

Moreover, during the end of democracy’s Third Wave, researchers noticed that democracies were emerging in places where only a few years before democratic processes seemed to be stalled or nonexistent. For instance, external forces appeared to play a significant role bringing about an independent Poland, the establishment of the democratic governments that replaced several military autocracies in Latin America, the fall of strongmen in the Philippines and Panama, and the remarkable transition to democracy in South Africa. Finally, the research topic of forced democratization emerges in part from a recognition that democracy may emerge as a result of political violence, war, and conflict. Bermeo (2013) offers a challenge to those who view forced democratization as impracticable or contradictory, arguing that war can cleanse countries of poorly functioning political institutions and replace them with more responsive ones: So many new and renewed democracies emerged in the context of war. Of the seventy-three democracies founded after 1945 that still exist today, over half emerged either in the immediate aftermath of a war or as a means of bringing an ongoing war to an end. (159)


Similarly, Downes and Monten (2013) argue that “two-thirds of democracies owed their origins to deliberate acts from without” (97). Thus, while theories of democracy are predicated mainly upon internal processes and softer forms of external democracy promotion such as foreign aid or democracy assistance, the reality is that global forces play a significant role in determining whether a country turns toward democracy. While only a relatively small number military interventions appear to have unquestionably resulted in successful democratic transitions, the fascinating cases of the former Axis nations after World War II provide a powerful illustration of what might be achieved through aggressive democracy promotion. If military intervention could lead to the transformation of these illiberal states into stable democracies during a period when most of the world was not democratic, why could the same strategy not work in a time when democracy appeared to be more globally accepted and on the rise? 4.2   From Optimism to Skepticism The first decade after the end of the Cold War was marked by a great deal of curiosity about the prospects of forcing democracy from the outside. This new factor that purportedly affected the process of democratization became interesting to scholars in the midst of a series of developments that political science was undergoing at the time. The early 1990s to mid-1990s was a time of optimism. In addition to the substantial impact of Fukuyama’s End of History thesis (in which liberal democracy was supposedly the sole political ideology still standing after the Cold War) discussed above, Samuel Huntington (1991) famously chronicled the rise of the “Third Wave” of democratization in the 1970s through the early 1990s. Huntington’s analysis included much investigation into the role of external forces in bringing about democracy. Specifically, the author considers whether democratization in one country can set off a democratic chain reaction in culturally similar or geographically proximate countries. In order to appreciate this burst of optimism about prospects for the role of external forces in the democratization process, one must understand the context in which it occurred. The Cold War was over, of course, which in itself was seen by many as a victory of liberal, democratizing forces over their illiberal counterparts. In the early 1990s, it did not seem inappropriate to talk of the mission of the USA and its allies as



a democratizing one. Would America “fulfill its destiny” by promoting democracy, as Joshua Muravchik (1991) argued in the title of his 1991 book? What these optimistic arguments had in common, however, was that democracy promotion efforts needed to be accompanied by a high degree of commitment in terms of resources. Hermann and Kegley (1998) suggest that “a strategy of enlargement may supersede that of containment in the postwar world…while contingent on coherence (and) proper military assistance, it may be more successful in the current international climate (109).” In 2000, Karin von Hippel, at that time the acting director of the UN Mission in Kosovo (and later a high ranking State Department official), wrote a book entitled Democracy by Force, in which she argued that the USA might see gains from aggressive democracy promotion. However, such an effort might require a Marshall Plan type of total commitment in order to be successful (2000). A few years earlier, Smith (1994) had taken a similar, aggressive position: “Given the American security interest in the spread of democracy worldwide and its democratic success at certain moments Washington would just as clearly be foolish not to act where conditions are favorable.” However, Smith also called for a great deal of caution: “Washington cannot rewrite cultural histories or force social pacts on class or ethnic groups that would rather dominate or destroy one another than work together democratically” (344). Not all scholars in the early post-Cold War period expressed such a high degree of optimism about aggressive democracy promotion, of course. Some suggested great caution. In 1991, for instance, Whitehead stated: For although a democratic regime may originate from an act of external imposition, it will subsequently be necessary to secure the withdrawal of intrusive foreign influences if the democracy is eventually to take root and to secure the trust and acceptance of the national society in question. Unfortunately, this intuitively plausible model of the democratic process assumes the prior existence of a well-defined nation-state in which no major problems of national identity remain pending. (1991, 356)

Following the early finding of Meernik (1996) that countries could expect a slight shift in a liberal direction after a hostile US intervention, Peceny (1999) produced research that suggested, if one controlled for


the previous level of democracies, target countries were more likely to become democratic if intervention was accompanied by specific democracy promotion measures that encouraged free and fair elections. This analysis introduced an important wrinkle into the forced democratization argument because it posited that, contrary to the conventional wisdom at the time, forced democratization might be successful under certain conditions. As the post-Cold War era progressed, and that sense of the “unipolar moment” receded, research on FD interventions took a more skeptical turn. As the new millennium arrived, the world appeared to have entered what Diamond termed a “democracy recession” as the tide of the Third Wave crested (2008, 88). As the interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq dragged on, liberal interveners such as the USA and its NATO allies came under pressure to show that these countries were moving toward democracy. At the same time, alternative forms of governance arose to challenge the American version of liberal democracy. East Asian states such as China and Singapore placed economic growth and national progress ahead of individual liberties with seemingly good results. The new millennium also saw the rise of “illiberal democracies.” For instance, Russia’s leaders were able to garner legitimacy among large segments of its domestic population through a combination of an oil-driven economic boom and a more assertive foreign policy that was perceived to increase the country’s prestige abroad.3 Reflecting an awareness of the declining fortunes of democracy around the world, and the difficulties of aggressive democracy promotion, scholars became more skeptical of forced democratization as the post-Cold War period progressed. Much of this research was driven by a consensus that the record of success of FD attempts was somewhat poor, all things being equal (see Bueno de Mesquita and Downs 2006; Gleditsch et al. 2007), and naturally moved toward identifying the reasons why the track record of these interventions was less than stellar. At this point, roughly beginning in the mid-2000s, studies turned toward examining the contingent effects of the FD strategy. Some scholars focused, for instance, on whether characteristics of the target country made them more suitable for this type of intervention. Enterline and Greig (2008), for instance, teased out the effects of wealth and ethnic diversity, and Pickering and Kisangani (2006) focused on the percentage of the population that is Arab or Muslim.



Other scholars studied the nature of the intervention itself; Williams and Masters (2011) and Walker (2011) focus on whether statements of democratic intent affect the likelihood that an intervention will lead to some degree of democratization. The role of international factors also came under greater scrutiny. Gleditsch et al. (2007) examine the effect of the end of the Cold War and the proximity of the target country to existing democracies on the likelihood of intervention leading to democracy. During this period, some of the earlier, more promising findings related to the FD strategy were challenged. In particular, some researchers argued that earlier research by Meernik (1996) and Hermann and Kegley (1998), which suggested that the typical American intervention led to short-term democratization, did not hold up under scrutiny. Williams and Masters (2011) point out that the democracy measures used in these studies do not actually signify a weakening of autocracy after intervention. Instead, they identify a weakening of the state itself. In addition, more detailed investigations of the role of American intervention by Gleditsch et al. (2007) and Walker and Pearson (2007) found that the long-term effects of intervention identified by Peceny (1999) were not nearly as robust as the author suggests. Overall, a good deal of research on the question of FD interventions has emerged since the end of the Cold War. Many interesting findings have emerged, and the literature is generally in agreement: there is a consensus that the overall track record of forced democratization in delivering democratic outcomes is poor over the short or long term. This must be qualified by adding that there is some debate as to exactly how bad the record is and that the likelihood of success may be contingent on several factors.

5  We Know a Good Deal About the “What”: Now Can We Focus on the “Why”? While a great deal of valuable research has focused on increasing our understanding of the dynamics of FD interventions, much less attention has been paid to the why question. Why have FD interventions occurred on numerous occasions over the past seventy years, and can we expect to see them in the future? In the rest of the book, I focus primarily on this question. In the next five chapters, I examine five prominent American FD interventions: the Dominican Republic (1965), Grenada (1983), Panama (1989), Afghanistan (2001), and Iraq (2003). While I do focus


on the dynamics of these interventions (before, during, and after), I attempt to understand American motivations behind each intervention. Finally, in Chapter 7, I argue that the continuing presence of several factors are likely to ensure that the FD option is likely to continue to be a policy tool America may rely on to deal with certain “hard to crack cases” of autocracy in the future. Some of these factors relate to the nature of the American political system and the American public’s tendency to reward crusading politicians. Several strategic factors also come into play. For instance, attempts to establish “beacons” of democracy may not be likely to succeed, but the potentially very high reward for success may play into the minds of policymakers.

Notes 1. Wolff and Wurm’s typology actually extends beyond these four categories to include those of regulative norm, constructive norm, and hegemonic project, categories that assign an even more central role to the idea of democracy promotion. Since my argument centers on the idea that democracy promotion must only be a secondary aim (2011, 83), I do not cover these categories. 2.  For an excellent overview of democracy promotion strategies, see Diamond (2008) or Goldsmith (2007). 3. See Levitsky and Way (2010) for the rise of semi-democratic challenges to liberal democracy.

References Bermeo, Nancy. 2013. “What the Democratization Literature Says—Or Doesn’t Say—About Postwar Democratization.” Global Governance 9 (2): 159–77. Boudreau, Vincent. 2007. “Democracy and Security: Process Versus Outcome in Assistance Policy?” Democratization 14 (2): 193–206. https://doi. org/10.1080/13510340701245686. Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and George W. Downs. 2006. “Intervention and Democracy.” International Organization 60 (3): 627–49. 10.1017/s0020818306060206. Carothers, Thomas. 1999. Aiding Democracy Abroad: The Learning Curve. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ———. 2007. “A Quarter-Century of Promoting Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 18 (4): 112–26. Diamond, Larry. 2008. The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World. New York: Times Books.



Downes, Alexander B., and Jonathan Monten. 2013. “Forced to Be Free?: Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Rarely Leads to Democratization.” International Security 37 (4): 90–131. isec_a_00117. Enterline, Andrew J., and J. Michael Greig. 2008. “Against All Odds? The History of Imposed Democracy and the Future of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Foreign Policy Analysis 4: 247–321. Gleditsch, Nils Petter, Lene Siljeholm Christiansen, and Harvard Hegre. 2007. “Democratic Jihad? Military Intervention and Democracy.” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper. Goldsmith, Arthur A. 2007. “Democratization in the 21st Century: What Can the United States Do?” The Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations 6 (2): 65–71. Hermann, Margaret, and Charles Kegley. 1998. “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record.” International Interactions 24 (2): 91–114. Hook, Steven W. 2002. “Inconsistent U.S. Efforts to Promote Democracy Abroad.” In Exporting Democracy: Rhetoric vs. Reality, 109–28. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Hook, Steven W., and John Spanier. 2000. American Foreign Policy Since World War II. 15th ed. Washington, DC: CQ Press. Huntington, Samuel P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. Ikenberry, G. John. 2000. “America’s Liberal Grand Stategy: Democracy and National Security in the Post-War Era.” In American Democracy Promotion: Impulses, Srategies, and Impacts, edited by Michael Cox, G. John Ikenberry, and Takashi Inoguchi, 103–26. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Keohane, Robert O., and Lisa L. Martin. 1995. “The Promise of Institutionalist Theory.” International Security 20 (1): 39–51. 2539214. Krauthammer, Charles. 1991. “The Unipolar Moment.” Foreign Affairs 23 (1): 23–33. Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan A. Way. 2010. Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes After the Cold War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lowenthal, Abraham. 1991. Exporting Democracy: The United States and Latin America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Meernik, James. 1996. “United States Military Intervention and the Promotion of Democracy.” Journal of Peace Research 33 (4): 391–401. Muravchik, Joshua. 1991. Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America’s Destiny. Washington, DC: AEI Press. Peceny, Mark. 1999. Democracy at the Point of Bayonets. University Park: Penn State University Press.

22  S. WALKER Pickering, Jeffrey, and Emizet F. Kisangani. 2006. “Political, Economic, and Social Consequences of Foreign Military Intervention.” Political Research Quarterly 59 (3): 363–76. Plattner, Marc F. 2009. “Introduction.” In Is Democracy Exportable?, edited by Zoltan Barany and Robert G. Moser, 1–12. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Smith, Tony. 1994. America’s Mission: The United States and the Worldwide Struggle for Democracy in the Twentieth Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univrersity Press. Sorenson, Georg. 2008. Democracy and Democratization: Processes and Prospects in a Changing World. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Stoessinger, John. 1979. Crusaders and Pragmatists: Movers of Modern American Foreign Policy. 1st ed. New York: Norton. von Hippel, Karin. 2000. “Democracy by Force: A Renewed Commitment to Nation Building.” Washington Quarterly 23 (1): 95–112. Walker, Scott. 2011. “Does Forced Democratization Work?” Taiwan Journal of Democracy (Taipei) 7 (1): 73–94. dj0701/073-094ScottWalker.pdf. Walker, Scott, and Frederic S. Pearson. 2007. “Should We Really ‘Force Them to Be Free?’ An Empirical Examination of Peceny’s Liberalizing Intervention Thesis.” Conflict Management and Peace Science 24 (1): 37–53. https://doi. org/10.1080/07388940601102829. Whitehead, Laurence. 1991. “The Imposition of Democracy.” In Exporting Democracy: The United States and Latin America, edited by Abraham Lowenthal, 356–82. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Williams, Lethia, and Daniel Masters. 2011. “Promoting Democracy Through Intervention: An Analysis of the Post World War II Era.” Democracy and Security 7. New Orleans: 18–37. Wolff, J., and I. Wurm. 2011. “Towards a Theory of External Democracy Promotion: A Proposal for Theoretical Classification.” Security Dialogue 42 (1): 77–96.


The Dominican Republic

Abstract   This chapter examines the American intervention in the Dominican crisis of 1965. The first part of the chapter outlines the buildup to the intervention and the subsequent American invasion. The second part of the chapter evaluates the degree to which the intervention was truly focused on delivering democracy to the country. It first attempts to identify the degree that a desire to install democracy played in the Johnson administration’s decision to intervene. Subsequently, it investigates the degree to the post-intervention American actions were focused on delivering democracy in the Dominican Republic. Keywords  Dominican Republic Intervention · United States

· Johnson · Democracy ·

1   Intervention History In 1966, the USA staged a military intervention in the Dominican Republic, ostensibly to settle a violent conflict between supporters of former President Juan Bosch (the Constitutionalists) and those of President Donald Reid Cabral (the Loyalists). The background to the intervention is complicated and heavily overshadowed by American involvement. In order to understand the lead-up to this intervention, it is necessary to discuss a few relevant developments that occurred in the five years leading up to that event. © The Author(s) 2019 S. Walker, American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II,



On May 30, 1961, Generalissimo Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican Republic’s long-time strongman, was assassinated in Santo Domingo, marking the beginning of an extended period of considerable political uncertainty for the country. After initiating a set of unpopular economic reforms, Joaquin Balaguer, Trujillo’s president-designate, was forced to leave the country (Hartlyn 1998, 75). Balaguer was replaced by a sevenperson Council of State, which was created on behalf of the country with the assistance of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the USA in order to manage the country until democratic elections could be held. The members of the Council were from “business and professional interests” who had been prominent opponents of Trujillo (Atkins et al. 1998, 126). Elections were scheduled for December 1962 (ibid., 127). The field of parties contesting the election was a crowded one, and “the campaign was disorganized and fraught with widespread tensions and allegations of fraud (Hartlyn 1998, 77).” The populist, left-leaning PRD (Democratic Revolutionary Party) and its “charismatic, mercurial, democratic” leader, Juan Bosch, won both the congressional and presidential elections. Bosch proceeded to attempt to bring about a social revolution (Wiarda 1980, 250). Bosch’s attempts to bring about reforms were short-lived, however. In September 1963, just seven months after his inauguration, he was removed from power in a military coup and subsequently forced into exile. Hartlyn (1998) argues that it is difficult to identify exactly where to place the blame for Bosch’s ouster, but that the country’s particular history of democracy and democratic traditions played a significant role: the country’s politics consisted of “a constant struggle among changing alliances of civilian and military cliques (80).” As a result of this unsettled atmosphere, the opposition from “the country’s economic elites and their party, the UCN (National Civil Union),” which managed to exploit fears of a Communist takeover, played an influential role in fueling instability (ibid., 79). The inability of Bosch to directly address the fears of the opposition also played a role. The 1962 intervention thus returned power to the upper and middle classes, the same groups who had governed under the Council of State (Wiarda 1980, 253). One must recognize that the USA had taken at least a few measurable steps to ensure that the 1962 elections were free and fair. First, they ensured that OAS observers were present. The Dominican election was the very first one in which OAS observers were sent for this purpose.



Hartlyn (1998) argues that, in fact, the USA “anxiously wanted a democratic government in the country to succeed, especially in the context of the recently launched Alliance for Progress.” The fact that democratic elections took place at all was, according to Hartlyn, largely due to the “extensive involvement of the United States” (82). It appears to be the case, however, that America’s desire for procedural democracy ultimately took a back seat in its foreign policy to anti-communism. In the end, while the USA did not directly support the overthrow of Bosch, neither did it offer him any assistance when it became aware of attempts to oust him from power. The regime that would replace Bosch was a “triumvirate” led by Donald Reid Cabral, an American-educated businessman, who according to Wiarda was viewed as both corrupt and repressive by large segments of the population. As a result, “resentment grew from many sources, including trade unions, intellectuals, and the middle class, and even the business community” [and thus] “with the military holding power behind the scenes, the new triumvirate found itself trapped between the political extremes” (1980, 254). Growing dissatisfaction led to another military rebellion on April 24, 1965, which demanded Bosch’s restoration. “Urged on by Washington,” the insurgents, commanded by Colonel Francisco Caamaño (a tobacco merchant and former Minister of Foreign Relations for Bosch), removed the Reid junta from power on April 28 (Gleijeses 1978, 266). The country was thus split between two groups: the Loyalists, who favored Reid’s return, and the Constitutionalists, who favored Bosch. With the country erupting into civil war, and the PRD militia on the verge of defeating the regular Dominican armed forces, the USA dispatched 42,000 troops to the island on April 28, 1965, in support of the anti-Bosch and Caamaño forces (Lowenthal 1991, 78). The USA may also have intervened in part due to fears of a Communist takeover. According to the National Security Archive, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued the following commands to the general in charge of the operation, Bruce Palmer, Jr.: Your announced mission is to save US lives. Your unannounced mission is to prevent the Dominican Republic from going Communist. The President has stated that he will not allow another Cuba—you are to take all necessary measures to accomplish this mission. You will be given sufficient forces to do the job.1


After taking control of the country, the Americans initiated negotiations with all parties to iron out a pathway toward elections. The agreed outcome of these talks was that a provisional government, headed by moderate politician Héctor García-Godoy, would be put in place until elections could take place in nine months. On September 25, Juan Bosch returned to the country (Crandall 2008, 88). The primary candidates for the election would be Juan Bosch and Joaquin Balaguer. On June 1, 1966, Balaguer came to power in an election that was viewed by most international observers as being free and fair. As we will see in the next section, however, the objectivity of the USA in the election process has been questioned by some scholars. The intervention was a significant event; it was the first direct invasion by American forces in Latin America since 1928, and it set the tone for future American involvement in such places as Grenada, Panama, El Salvador, and Haiti. In the decades since the intervention, the country has struggled to achieve some level of democratic legitimacy. In 2018, fifty-three years after the intervention of 1965, the country is classified as “partly free” by Freedom House, and the government continues to have a problematic record in certain areas of governance such as rule of law and transparency. The struggles of the country over a very long time period suggest that we should reject any claim that the intervention put the country on a clear path toward democracy.

2  Was It an FD Intervention? 2.1   Democratic Intent To what degree did a concern for democracy on the part of the American leadership play a role in the 1965 intervention? A review of academic opinion on the matter suggests that the reality may be much more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no” answer could provide. A wide range of academic opinion exists on the Dominican intervention. In fact, several key factors—geopolitical, bureaucratic, personalities of leaders, and the desire to protect American citizens and business interests, to name a few— all appeared to play a role in how the events of 1965 and 1966 unfolded. Cynics point to the fact that the 1965 Dominican “crisis” occurred at the height of the Cold War, a time when security concerns dominated American foreign policy decisions. In particular, in the wake of Castro’s takeover of Cuba, the concerns about even the slightest possibility that



the Dominican Republic might be the next “domino” in the region must have been prominent in the thought processes of decision makers in the Johnson administration. It is unlikely, however, that Johnson intervened for this purpose alone. In reality, the decision to intervene appeared to lack a unitary purpose or design. Instead, in many ways, it appears to reflect many of the characteristics inherent in the “bureaucratic politics” model of foreign policy decision making that Graham Allison outlines in his seminal book, Essence of Decision (1971). In the “bureaucratic politics” model, actors within a government behave according to their own organizational and personal interests. Moreover, the process as a whole is guided by bargaining among key actors and influenced by the degree of power individuals can exert over the situation. Policies that result from such a process, according to Allison, can be disjointed and produce sub-optimal outcomes. In the Dominican case, Slater (1967) argues that American policies regarding how to handle the Dominican situation were rather complex, involving personalities, separate institutions, and “overlapping bargaining processes that we call the state” (146). Lowenthal (1972) argues that the American leadership initially favored the installation of a military junta to avoid a Communist takeover, but that over time they became skeptical that this strategy would be effective (73). This uncertainty meant that the State Department and the CIA had differing opinions on how to deal with the instability: There were a number of different actors involved. Even the Dominican military was split. “Hostility erupted when the Communist party and other left-wing organizations were outlawed. Reid also faced controversy when he attempted to restrain corruption in the military. Senior officers who had profited under Trujillo felt that they were being threatened while junior officers welcomed the reforms believing that they meant promotions. The Dominican Republic quickly began to fragment. Some senior military officers support the return of Balaguer, others within the military and leftist groups sought the return of Bosch, other military leaders and the U.S. supported Reid, while others in the military desired the establishment of a military junta. (Ibid., 147)

The Dominican intervention of 1965, then, does not appear to conform to a simple description of American motives and decision making. In fact, the decision to intervene may have been based in part on misinformation. Lowenthal argues that there was probably not even a


“necessity” for the intervention. Arguing that the USA may have misinterpreted the PRD’s usurping the military in 1965 an anti-American or pro-Castro action, the author believes that in reality the PRD ­constituted no threat—and would likely have been an excellent partner in the American-led Alliance for Progress (ibid., 143). Moreover, the situation on the ground was somewhat chaotic, which makes it difficult to assess the role of democratic intent in the decision to intervene. Most of the US Embassy staff members in Santo Domingo were out of town during the crisis, which compromised the reliability of reports on the situation on the ground. According to one account, the understaffed Embassy decided to label the coup a left-wing attack, raising “the ideological issue that would dominate the deliberations of the U.S. policymakers in the days to come and the public controversy over American intervention for years thereafter” (Gomez 1997). As it is difficult to assess precisely what the Johnson administration knew and when it knew it, the degree to which this was an intervention to restore order rather than an anti-communist or pro-democratic move may never be completely clear. What is clear, however, is that anti-communism was a significant concern of the Johnson administration and that the president, while supposedly reticent to intervene, was concerned with the possibility of “another Cuba.” The following report by the CIA reflects this concern: Should the forces of General Elias Wessin y Wessin, supported by the major elements of the air force and elements over the next several hours or days be unable to defeat the revolution that started last Saturday, the Dominican Republic in my opinion will be so far on the way to becoming another Cuba that the tide may well not be able to be turned back, unless the U.S. takes prompt and strong action…Communists are gathering arms and reportedly have a real “in” with at least one arsenal. They set up strong points within the city. (CIA Report on Whether the Dominican Republic Will Turn into Another Cuba, April 27, 1965. Referenced in Crandall 2008, 65)

Crandall elaborates on this anti-communist focus: As the events of the day following Reid’s removal indicate, President Johnson was constantly peppered with reports about the Communist threat implicit in a Bosch return. This is what led him to decide to move beyond the much less controversial evacuation of American nationals and to intervene politically and militarily in the Dominican civil war to prevent the Communist Scenario from unfolding. (Ibid., 65)



In this uncertain environment, several interrelated concerns were in the minds of the administration. Among them were the safety of American citizens, responding to the coup, ending the polarized situation in the country, and making sure that neither a communist nor a right-wing dictatorship would emerge. Within this mélange of factors, the desire for democracy never appeared to be at the forefront of American strategic concerns. Wiarda (1980) argues that the American intervention was meant to “frustrate… the movement to restore democratic rule.” In fact, he argues, looking at the whole affair as an intervention at all is a bit wrongheaded: “the distinction between intervention and non-intervention is virtually meaningless in the Dominican case, since U.S. involvement has been continuous, in one form or another, for over a century” (256). What kind of political outcome did the Americans want? Chester (2001) reviewed declassified documents from McGeorge Bundy and Arthur Schlesinger, the National Security Advisor and the Special Assistant to the President, respectively. The documents focus on the role that Thomas Mann, Johnson’s Assistant Secretary of State of InterAmerican Affairs, played during the crisis and subsequent intervention. Chester argues that Mann’s focus was on putting together a provisional, “non-political” government that would avoid social reform and keep the military intact (discussed in McPherson 2015, 31–34). If we accept Chester’s position, the Dominican intervention was less about preserving democracy than it was about America maintaining law and order in keeping with its self-appointed role as hemispheric policeman. Gleijeses takes a somewhat different position, claiming that the Americans had been in favor of a conservative military junta (and therefore against the Constitutionalists) from the beginning, a fact that if true would mean that all American actions to sponsor free and fair elections in the country were shambolic (in Wiarda 1980, 250). If we are to believe Gleijeses, unless halting Communism can in and of itself be considered a pro-democracy step, the desire for democracy did not play a vital role in the Dominican intervention. Moreover, the author claims that it is difficult to believe that a Communist takeover was really in the cards in 1966. This would mean that the Americans probably intervened out of a desire to send a message to Castro and the Soviets about American resolve rather than because they believed that Bosch and the Constitutionalists presented an imminent threat of a Communist takeover.


2.2  Actions On the surface, the Americans appeared to be focused on creating a reasonably free and fair atmosphere for the 1966 elections. By most accounts, there were few problems with vote rigging, intimidation, or other irregularities. This sense that the election was “normal” is arguably reinforced by the argument made by some scholars, including Wiarda (1980, 252), that even had there been no American influence over the process at all, Balaguer still stood a good chance of winning the election. Crandall (2008) agrees, pointing out that public opinion had not been particularly favorable toward Bosch during his presidency (91). The Americans took several steps to ensure free and fair elections. According to Beigbeder (1994), a group of 20 American observers representing both political parties from 13 states concluded that the elections had been “an outstanding act of democratic purity.” Beigbeder also points out that a three-member OAS team was sent to offer technical assistance in order to “assess the electoral laws and preparations” (233). The USA and the OAS also made efforts to ensure that elections were mostly free of procedural problems. Slater (1967) argues that an election group including a “UN mission, OAS electoral assistance mission, and a group of 70 American liberals, headed by [Presbyterian minister] Norman Thomas and [civil rights leader] Bayard Rustin” agreed that the election was a free and fair one, despite the fact that “most of these groups were overwhelmingly pro-Bosch or at least liberal in their sentiments” (161). Thus, the USA appeared to successfully ensure that a nominally “free and fair” election took place. However, there are those who dispute that the American role was a neutral one: There is a widespread assumption that only rightist intimidation or rigging could explain the election result. There is a story of Johnson exploding about reading a pre-election poll result with Bosch in the lead and saying he couldn’t handle that. Not what he wanted, and humiliating to his administration. (Ibid., 162)

Slater’s view is that the USA decided on free and fair elections “shortly after the intervention” (ibid., 163). Moreover,



While the assessment that Bosch could be beaten by Balaguer played a role of some importance in that decision, the administration did not waver from it even after a pre-election embassy assessment pointed to a probable Bosch victory. On the contrary, all available evidence indicates that the United States applied persistent and sustained pressures to ensure that the elections would be free and fair and that a Bosch victory would be accepted by the Dominican armed forces. (Ibid., 164)

Slater argues that, given America’s involvement in the Vietnam conflict at the time, the American decision was not likely to have been based on an “abstract commitment” to free and fair elections. However, President Johnson’s “well-known” desire to be viewed by posterity as the president who staved off a dictatorship may have played a strong role. Essentially, the administration had to go to great lengths to ensure that elections were “universally accepted” in world opinion as genuine—even if this meant a possible Bosch victory: With the Dominican Republic swarming with OAS observers, U.S. and Latin American journalists, labor-union missions, and representative of private groups, nearly all of them pro-Bosch, suspicious of US Policy, and assiduously on the lookout for signs of tampering, there was little prospect of U.S. shenanigans, or even a too-obvious preference for Balaguer, going unexposed. In short, for the elections to be seen as free, they had to be free. (Ibid., 165)

The Johnson administration’s desire to appear completely neutral, Slater argues, was so strong that “the worried conservatives were surprised at the [American] embassy’s refusals to exercise even informal influence to try to persuade several splinter right-wing candidates to withdraw from the race in order to avoid splitting the Balaguer vote” (ibid., 166). Gleijeses (1978) paints a different picture of the events surrounding the election. While he concedes that the climate around the 1966 election involved some incidences of violence against right-wing groups, “the great majority of those killed by unknown assassins, or openly by the police and armed forces, were Boschistas or supporters of the far left, as were those who suffered arrest, beating, and persecution.” The author argues that although Balaguer was free to travel around the country “making eloquent speeches,” the Boschistas were “hounded by the police” (280).


The atmosphere surrounding the elections, Gleijeses argues, resulted in a predictable response by the Dominican voters: The Dominican people understood a simple reality. In September 1963, the armed forces had overturned Bosch’s electoral victory. Then in April 1965, the United States had invaded the country to prevent his return to the presidency…The Yankees and their “loyalist” protégés controlled the country, and if Bosch won the elections, they would drown his victory in blood. (Ibid., 281)

Gleijeses accepts that electoral fraud was quite limited if present at all. But he argues that intimidation tactics against the Boschistas and an awareness among American leaders that the “wrong” decision would invite more American military action meant that in reality, the elections “were not free at all,” and that many Dominicans (including Bosch himself) believed that the elections must have been rigged (ibid., 173). Slater adds that most Dominicans realized that Balaguer was the “American” candidate, and perhaps thought that voting for Balaguer would bring more “economic assistance and general support” (1967, 181). Lowenthal (1972) claims that the official American line of impartiality was patently untrue, as the United States had such strong anti-Bosch sentiments that it was incapable of refraining from taking sides. He argues that the perception of bias against Bosch “had the effect of emboldening antiBosch supporters and eliminating moderates in the Bosch camp” (145). Thus, the mere perception of American bias appears to have made a difference, if we are to believe Lowenthal, since voters were subtly conditioned to vote for the pro-American candidate. Crandall (2008) believes that the true effect of American involvement may be difficult to ascertain. On the one hand, he believes that there is evidence to support the argument that Dominican public opinion probably favored Balaguer over Bosch. On the other hand, however, Crandall is convinced that the Americans were manipulating the electoral process: We know that the Dominican people voted enthusiastically for Bosch back in 1962, yet his tenure as president was viewed largely as disappointing. This fact helps explain why opinion polls in pre-crisis 1965 had



Balaguer ahead of Bosch. Amazingly, Balaguer’s margin of victory over Bosch in 1966 closely mirrored the pre-1965 polling numbers. In other words, it is not unreasonable to conclude that Bosch would have lost a free and fair election to Balaguer [emphasis mine] even if the United States had not intervened in 1965 or provided secret funds to the Balaguer campaign in 1966. (91)

The Americans certainly were fully aware of some of the potential factors that might bias the results in “their” candidate’s favor, as the following State Department memo of April 28, 1966, illustrates: The US is almost certainly viewed as anti-Bosch and committed to the Balaguer candidacy. This will give Bosch the benefit of anti-Yankee prejudice at the polls. At the same time, many Dominicans will recognize that, without US economic aid and its steadying influence exercised through the OAS and the IAPF, no solutions to the country’s grave political and economic problems are possible. Many such people will vote for Balaguer despite a possible distaste for the Yankee presence. (Crandall 2008, 91)

Unfortunately, there is not, and likely never will be, a consensus on exactly how free and fair the elections of 1966 were. The election itself appeared to have been run in a relatively straightforward fashion, relatively free of manipulation. However, the nearly century-long involvement of the USA in Dominican affairs and some evidence of American attempts to increase the odds of victory for Balaguer mean that this historical event will likely never emerge from a cloud of suspicion.2

Notes 1. In National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book #513, Edited by David Coleman. edn2, Quoted in Editorial Note, US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–68, 32: doc. 43. 2. US Department of State, formerly classified document: “Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968,” Volume XXXII, Dominican Republic; Cuba; Haiti; Guyana (Document 171). April 12, 1966. Cited in Crandall (2006).


References Allison, Graham T. 1971. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. 1st ed. Boston, MA: Little Brown. Atkins, G. Pope, and Larman C. Wilson. 1998. The Dominican Republic and the United States: From Imperialism to Transnationalism. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. Beigbeder, Yves. 1994. International Monitoring of Plebiscites, Referenda, and National Elections: Self-Determination and Transition to Democracy. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. Chester, Eric T. 2001. Rag-Tags, Scum, Riff-Raff, and Commies: The U.S. Intervention in the Dominican Republic, 1965–1966. New York: Monthly Review Press. Crandall, Russell C. 2008. The United States and Latin America After the Cold War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Freedom House. 2018. Freedom in the World 2018. report/freedom-world/2018/dominican-republic. Gleijeses, Piero. 1978. The Dominican Crisis. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Gomez, Salvador E. 1997. “The US Invasion of the Dominican Republic: 1965.” Sincronia (Online) 1 (2). Hartlyn, Jonathan. 1998. The Struggle for Democratic Politics in the Dominican Republic. Raleigh: University of North Carolina Press. Lowenthal, Abraham. 1972. The Dominican Intervention. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ———. 1991. Exporting Democracy: The United States and Latin America. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Mcpherson, Alan. 2015. “The Dominican Intervention, Fifty Years On.” Passport: The Newsletter of the SHAFR (April): 31–34. Slater, Jerome. 1967. Intervention and Negotiation: The United States and the Dominican Revolution. New York: Harper & Row. Wiarda, Howard J. 1980. “The United States and the Dominican Republic: Intervention, Dependency, and Tyrannicide.” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 22 (2): 247–60.



Abstract  The chapter focuses on the 1983 American invasion of Grenada. The first part of the chapter covers the events leading up to the invasion and details the actions taken by the Americans. The s­econd part attempts to identify the degree to which the intervention was focused on the goal of delivering democracy. It does this by assessing the degree to which the desire to bring democracy to the island played in the Reagan administration’s decision to invade and replace the New Jewel Movement government. Subsequently, the chapter evaluates the degree to which American post-intervention actions in Grenada were genuinely focused on delivering a democratic outcome. Keywords  Grenada

· Reagan · Democracy · Intervention · USA

1   Intervention History Few American officials (not to mention members of the American public) were probably aware of the unstable political situation in the small island nation of Grenada before the early 1980s. However, the emergence of the Marxist-Leninist New Jewel Movement (NJM) puts the country squarely on America’s radar. Led by populist Maurice Bishop, the NJM took power in 1979 in a coup. It subsequently banned other political parties, suspended the constitution, and began to rule by decree.

© The Author(s) 2019 S. Walker, American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II,



Meanwhile, Bishop sought and received aid from Cuba for several infrastructure projects (Schoulz 2009, 347). While the presence of a populist, Cuba-friendly government on the island in the early 1980s may not have been reason enough to provoke an American intervention, the events of 1983 proved much harder for the superpower to ignore. An intraparty dispute based on ideological differences led to Bishop’s kidnapping in October. Although popular pressure led to his release, the NJM ultimately executed Bishop on October 19. A military government, led by hardliner Hudson Austin, ensued. The NJM regime was now clearly much more strident in terms of its MarxistLeninist ideology. According to Sanders and Houghton, the country was widely viewed as being “in a Cuban-Soviet embrace” (1990, 242). A great deal of discussion ensued regarding how the USA should respond politically. While he was certainly concerned by the presence and rhetoric of this leftist regime, Reagan was also faced with the problem of the approximately 1000 American medical students living on the island at the Medical School of St. George’s University. From a geostrategic perspective, there were concerns as well. According to military historian John Whiteclay Chambers (2000), “The [island’s] airstrip was seen as a threat to vital Caribbean sea lanes and the Panama Canal.” Moreover, he points out that the airstrip was a potential site for staging Cuban and Soviet military flights to Africa and Nicaragua. There was a good deal of discussion, both in the Reagan administration and between America and its allies, about what political steps should be taken to deal with the situation in Grenada. The balance of world opinion was undoubtedly against American intervention. UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government, for instance, argued that sanctions would be a better option. Reagan offered the following response to Thatcher: “In our view, relying upon economic and political sanctions would provide time for Cuba and the Soviet Union to consolidate the position of the new regime” (in Williams 2007, 152). Regional leaders were divided on the question of intervention. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an organization consisting (at that time) mostly of English-speaking countries, was concerned primarily with threats to the rule of law presented by the NJM more than it was with the possibility of a Castro-like regime on Grenada. It appears that CARICOM’s leaders appeared to be worried the USA would simply take its citizens and leave (Grow 2008, 140).



On the other hand, another regional group, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), favored intervention (Lewis 1987, 126). Led by Barbados and Jamaica, this organization was made up primarily of conservative governments that feared that a leftist movement on Grenada might spread across the region. According to Grow, conservative elites in the region were “terrified” (2008, 148). A key actor in the lead-up to the invasion was the Prime Minister of Dominica, Eugenia Charles, who urged Reagan to intervene. With wit and charm, she appeared on American television with Ronald Reagan in October 1983 to publicly plead with him to take action. For his part, Reagan may have been hypersensitive to the possibility of a hostage crisis involving the medical students (Williams 2007, 150). With the Sandinista takeover of Nicaragua in 1979 still fresh on his mind, the president believed that action in Grenada could be perceived as part of a “rollback” of the spread of communism. The momentum for action grew, becoming “almost irresistible” according to Grow (2008). On October 22, Reagan’s cabinet reached consensus on what action to take, and the OECS sent a written request for US assistance. Reagan believed that relying upon economic and political sanctions might provide sufficient time for Cuba and the Soviet Union to consolidate the position of the new regime. Many argued for post-intervention elections, but their timing proved to be a problematic issue. There was a concern that early elections might lead to a pro-Castro party coming to power, but that allowing for an interim government and a drawn-out time frame for elections could result in “the purity of the motive” of the intervention coming into question. A compromise was struck, with six months being the agreed upon date (142). On October 25, the combined forces of the USA and the Barbadosbased Regional Security System (RSS) invaded Grenada in a military operation code-named Operation Urgent Fury (Cole 1997, 47). The invading force was a formidable one considering the tiny size of the island, including “the Independence Carrier Battle Group; the helicopter carrier Guam and Amphibious Squadron Four; 1,700 Marines of the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit; two army ranger battalions; a ready brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division; various special operations units; and token forces from the OECS” (Chambers 2000). It turned out that the island was defended by only about 500–600 Grenadian troops; 2000–2500 militiamen; and 750–800 Cubans; mostly military construction workers (ibid.).


The operation met “unexpectedly strong” resistance from the Grenadians and the small number of Cuban troops on the island. However, within a few days, the Americans had the situation well in hand, although they still needed to carry out a few “mopping up” duties such as removing snipers and looking for Bishop’s assassins. On November 2, Operation Urgent Fury officially ended (Carothers 1991, 110). Elections were held 13 months after the invasion on December 3, 1984. The New National Party, a coalition of conservative and centrist parties that was opposed to the Bishop regime, won fourteen out of the fifteen seats. Herbert Blaize, a long-time center-right political figure, was made the new prime minister (Szajkowski 2005, 265). Since that time, Grenada has remained a stable democracy, with general elections that were widely viewed as “free and fair” in 1990, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2008, and 2013.

2  Was It an FD Intervention? 2.1   Democratic Intent In the first chapter, I argued that one cannot prove that an intervening country has democracy as one of its primary objectives. That being said, the Grenada intervention of 1983 not only led to a democratic outcome but also was preceded by clear statements of democratic intent on the part of the Reagan administration. Moreover, after the invasion, the USA took actions to create a stable, democratic polity in Grenada, a country that had not had free elections since 1976. By these standards, it meets this book’s definition of an FD intervention: “An attempt by a liberal government or governments to bring about democracy in an illiberal target state through military force.” Moreover, in line with the argument I made in Chapter 2, it is plausible to argue that democracy was a secondary, if not primary, concern of the Americans in the case of Grenada. On the other hand, it is patently clear that America had other, more compelling motives for the intervention—so much so, that it would seem fruitless to argue that a desire for democracy was the proximate cause of the intervention. Moreover, America’s desire to install a democratic government on the island did not necessarily mean that it would allow a political party hostile to its own interests to win. As with the Dominican case, a party that was strongly opposed to US interests



would almost certainly never been permitted to contest the elections. Moreover, as we shall see, the relatively large amount of assistance that the American government provided to support “friendly” parties reflects a strong bias toward making sure that the “right” party came to power in 1984 elections. However, if democracy was not the most likely proximate cause of the intervention, what was? Security? Anti-communism? The safety of the American medical students on the island? Deflecting public attention from the Reagan administration’s domestic struggles of the time? Moreover, what role did the desire for democracy play amidst these other concerns? In a memo to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Reagan officially justified the intervention as a mission to rescue the medical students and to restore “order and democracy” at the request of the OECS (Lewis 1987, 108). Lewis argues that “the political parameters of any subsequent operation had been set in advance: citizen safety, and the removal of the RMC (Revolutionary Military Council)” (ibid., 108). Regardless of the real reasons for the Grenada intervention, delivering democracy to Grenada was undeniably a clearly stated goal of the Reagan administration. In a letter to Prime Minister Thatcher on October 24, the day before the invasion of Grenada, Reagan made a direct reference to the desire for democracy and the need for a legitimate government on the island: “It is… important that free and fair elections be held as early as possible to re-establish a truly democratic system of government.” The question remains whether the desire for democracy was genuine. Lewis argues that the intervention was a defensive measure taken out of paranoia. For instance, the State Department made no serious diplomatic overtures to the NJM leaders before the invasion, and there was certainly no attempt at a negotiated settlement (Lewis 1987, 97). If democracy on the island had been a primary concern, America would have surely communicated some sort of message regarding its concerns to the NJM leadership before it took the step of invading the country. And what of the fears for the safety of the American medical students? If Reagan truly intervened out of concern for their safety, then he was ignoring both the pleas of the students themselves as well as evidence from two American embassy counselors who both claimed that the NJM presented no credible threats to Americans (ibid., 104). O’Shaughnessy agrees, adding that many of the students even signed a letter urging the president not to intervene (1984, 165).


However, Hall et al. (2013) argue that concern for the students was legitimate. The authors note that several students had expressed concerns for their own safety and point out that that repeated attempts to evacuate them was met with resistance by Austin’s regime. Particularly given the fact that the recent Iranian hostage affair would have been fresh on their minds, Hall et al. conclude that “ultimately, US officials were not optimistic that an effective and peaceful evacuation could happen and were quite concerned with the students’ safety” (39). In short, the authors believe that American officials’ fears for the students’ safety were genuine. It is not easy to determine whether the safety of the students was a serious concern or merely a pretext for intervention. There is not any solid evidence to suggest that they were ever in any actual danger. However, if we consider the delicate state of Reagan’s foreign policy record at that time after the Lebanon failure, combined with the likelihood that a hostage situation would surely sink his popularity much further, it might not be difficult to believe that concern for the hostages was one of the proximate factors that led to the intervention. Another potential explanation for the Grenada invasion is the always tempting “diversionary use of force” argument. One could certainly make a prima facie case that Reagan intervened in Grenada in order to deflect attention from domestic troubles and the recent failure in Lebanon. Several scholars mention this possibility (see, e.g., O’Shaughnessy 1984; Geer 2004; Carothers 2007). Reagan’s popularity ratings were consistently well below fifty percent through his early presidency, although by the Grenada invasion they had begun to rise slightly from their low point in 1982. One can certainly make a post hoc argument that Reagan’s ratings recovered in part due to Grenada. However, can the argument be made that Grenada was a deliberate attempt to “wag the dog”? Most scholarship does not find strong support for the diversionary use of force argument in political science (Meernik and Waterman 1996; Gowa 1998). In one of the most cited political science articles on this phenomenon, Meernik and Waterman (1996) observe: One of the most intriguing claims that has been made about the behavior of American presidents is that they have been motivated from time to time by deteriorating political conditions at home to engage in conflict abroad. (573)



In a recent work in Foreign Policy Analysis, Foster and Keller (2014) conclude that we cannot rule out the diversionary use of force in all cases, although even then its use is highly correlated with certain types of leaders and the particular economic and political situation in the country at the time (220). At best, according to a review of the literature, the evidence is “decidedly mixed” (Baum and Potter 2008, 48). No existing study has successfully linked the Grenada invasion to the desire to divert public attention from Reagan’s perceived economic and political shortcomings, although it is not possible to rule out this motive completely. In a recent study, Hall et al. (2013) conclude that diplomatic options were generally exhausted and that there was little “sustained internal” opposition in the Reagan administration to an intervention. The authors argue that these two findings run contrary to the idea that the intervention was a diversionary action by Reagan (47). Thus, although the diversionary theory of war is a provocative explanation for the Grenada intervention that possesses a good deal of intuitive appeal, there does not appear to be much in the way of hard evidence to support it. At the same time, one might counter, the absence of evidence doesn’t necessarily equate to evidence of absence. What of the role played by anti-communism? Lewis (1987) argues that, at some point, the Reagan administration realized that it was not getting much traction in public or world opinion with the security and stability angle when expressing its concerns about Grenada. Therefore, the Americans began to emphasize the anti-communist (or, more precisely, anti-Soviet) basis of any possible intervention. On October 28, 1983, Reagan claimed that “not only has Moscow assisted and encouraged the violence in both countries [Lebanon and Granada] but it provides direct support through a network of surrogates and terrorists” (cited in Lewis 1987, 108). However, Zunes (2003) claims that despite Reagan’s implication of the Cubans in the coup and killings of October 19, Castro had, in reality, condemned the coup and threatened to cease further aid to Grenada. Although there was little evidence that directly linked Russia or Cuba to the radicalized faction that controlled Grenada, and no evidence at all suggesting that the Russians or Cubans actually had designs to control the island, Reagan found that referring to Grenada as a potential SovietCuban colony had more rhetorical appeal than did humanitarian arguments for intervention. This possibility might lead us to suspect, then,


that the fear of communism was probably more of a justification for the Grenada invasion than a strategic reason for it. A related motive would be the American desire to maintain the upper hand in the broader Cold War struggle. In other words, Reagan’s priority may have been more about of sending a message to the Soviets than it was to rid the island of Marxist influence. No one in the Reagan administration officially declared defending America’s global reputation as a rationale for taking action in Grenada. However, Lewis (1987) argues that the administration hoped that ridding Grenada of its radical leadership would “show American resolve” (104), an attribute that was in question since Reagan’s 1982 “failures” in Lebanon. So, appearing to take a firm stance against communism in the region could have been one of the motivating factors in the intervention. Some academics appear to be sympathetic to this geopolitical argument. Lewis argues that, in the final analysis, “rollback was more important, safety of the students less so” (ibid., 114). Carothers’ (1991) argument is even more direct: It is true that the invasion of Grenada was a sympathetic case for intervention, but…the US invasion of Grenada was not a humanitarian intervention. The invasion was a geostrategic move to reduce the Soviet-Cuban sphere of influence in the Western Hemisphere…[Thus] the invasion must be defended for what it was, a use of force to advance U.S. geostrategic interests. (115)

In the face of a large number of competing motivations for Reagan’s decision to invade Grenada, what role did the desire to install a democratic regime play a role in the decision? One can certainly argue that the Reagan administration was concerned about democracy, if perhaps only indirectly. Reagan mentioned three justifications for the intervention: to save innocent lives, to forestall chaos, and to restore conditions of law and order and government institutions (Zunes 2003). As Grenada had previously had democratic institutions, Reagan was indirectly referring to restoring previous elements of democracy on the island. But which version of democracy did Reagan favor? Carothers (1991) argues that in order to understand the role that democracy played in the Grenada intervention, one must appreciate the specific way in which the Reagan administration viewed the concept of “democracy.” The author claims that the administration did indeed value democracy, albeit a “unique brand” of it in which the definition centered largely on anti-communism. Carothers argues that the administration’s policy in



Latin America was “a balance of rhetoric and substance”: Democratic values may have been important to Reagan, but only up to the point that they did not come into conflict with security concerns. The opposite of “anticommunism,” Carothers argues, was interpreted by Reagan as “fostering elected governments” (238). Reagan’s concept of democracy can thus be summarized as follows, according to Carothers: The Reagan Administration made little attempt to go beyond its institutional view of democracy to consider the degree or kinds of political participation that existed within particular countries. The administration treated voting as the definitive form of political participation and paid little attention to the question of whether a continuous, multidimensional process of political participation—a process involving the uninhibited formation and mobilization of interest groups, the free expression by groups and individuals of their political interests and attitudes, and a process of day-to-day interaction and responsiveness between the government and the citizens of the country—was actually existent or at least developing in countries attempting to make a transition to democracy. (Ibid., 246)

Other scholars take a less forgiving view of American democratic intentions in the Grenada case. Lewis (1987), for instance, takes a very different tack on the Grenada intervention: The whole sorry story, altogether, is one of evasive excuse, half-lies, ex-post facto rationalization, secret agreements secretly arrived at, and, to be most charitable, imperfect communication between all concerned. (227)

In conclusion, one should not forget that few have ever claimed that democracy was at the heart of American concerns in the Caribbean in 1983. At that time, the USA had several client states that were more repressive than the NJM regime in Grenada. Thus, while the desire for democracy may have played some limited role (and was clearly stated in advance of military operations), the best evidence points toward some mix of strategic factors as being the most likely explanations for the intervention. 2.2  Actions On the surface, the steps that the USA took after the intervention appear to focus squarely on restoring a democratic regime on the island.


Nicholas Braithwaite was appointed to establish a new government after the invasion (Nohlen 2005, 307). American troops remained after the intervention to train the Grenadian police force and to provide an “element of stability.” According to von Hippel (2000): With the military victory complete, the U.S. government quickly set up a large, active diplomatic and military presence in Grenada to direct a political transition away from the New Jewel Movement and to a constitutional, elected, and pro-US government. The U.S. military and CIA rooted out all visible traces of the People’s Revolutionary Army, expelled all Soviet bloc personnel, and established an anti-Communist education campaign. An interim government was formed and in conjunction with the United States’ presence on the island oversaw the restoration of a constitutional process. (112)

In December 1984, the country held elections. They were monitored by the Organization for American States as well as the International Human Rights Law Group, which judged the election process to be free and fair. However, both the United Nations and the Commonwealth refused to send observers because the elections were to take place with foreign troops in the country (Beigbeder 1994, 265). Thus, if there was a problem with the electoral process, it was with the recent shadow of the military intervention rather than with any technical or procedural aspects of the way the elections themselves were carried out. Sandford and Vigilante (1984, 174) believe that the American intervention did not primarily focus on democracy. They argue, however, that had the USA followed through with democratic assistance afterward, it could have been seen as much more squarely focused on delivering democracy than it was. Moreover, although the election may have been viewed as free and fair by observers, the USA spent a good deal of money on assistance to candidates that it supported. Pee (2015) argues that the National Endowment for Democracy and the State Department collaborated to ensure that a “safe” government won the elections: Both the State Department and democracy promotion groups then participated in an effort to produce a pre-determined outcome by supporting the campaign of New National Party (NNP) leader Herbert Blaize, a candidate thought to be moderate and pro-US. Two National Endowment for Democracy foundations, the NRI and FTUI, which channelled funding to AIFLD, a programme coordinated by the State Department and the



NSC which included US government agencies, other US private groups and political consultants from other nations, worked successfully to achieve this outcome. (161)

Pee refers to a National Security Council memo written in the run-up to the December 1984 election which notes that “careful coordination and selective polling” was being undertaken to ensure that the best possible NNP candidate was running in each of the fifteen electoral districts. Pee adds that “an NRI-funded civil awareness organization in Grenada even ferried potential NNP voters to the polls in taxis.” The result was an election in which the NED foundations worked to secure victory for Blaize, and by extension, American security objectives in Grenada. All groups did not have an equal chance to compete (ibid., 172). von Hippel (2000) adds that the CIA spent $675,000 on covert political aid in the lead-up to the 1984 election in order to ensure that a pro-American candidate won (112). So it can be argued that while the elections may have been free and fair in the procedural sense, the USA severely limited the scope of who might actually be able to win. In the end, America got its candidate in power. This was not an election that they were about to lose. As Carothers (1991) argues: For the Reagan Administration, democracy in Grenada consisted of little more than elections, and the electoral process was closely monitored and even covertly influenced to ensure it produced an appropriately moderate, pro-US government. (115)

Thus, we can conclude that the Reagan administration did take measures to ensure a democratic outcome, albeit one that equated democracy with anti-communism and the presence of free elections.

References Baum, Matthew A., and Philip B. K. Potter. 2008. “The Relationships Between Mass Media, Public Opinion, and Foreign Policy: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis.” Annual Review of Political Science 11: 39–65. Beigbeder, Yves. 1994. International Monitoring of Plebiscites, Referenda, and National Elections: Self-Determination and Transition to Democracy. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

46  S. WALKER Carothers, Thomas. 1991. In the Name of Democracy: US Policy Toward Latin America in the Reagan Years. Berkeley: University of California Press. ———. 2007. “A Quarter-Century of Promoting Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 18 (4): 112–26. Chambers, John Whiteclay. 2000. “Grenada: USA Intervention In.” The Oxford Companion to American Military History. Oxford University Press. 001.0001/acref-9780195071986-e-0364. Cole, Ronald H. 1997. Operation Urgent Fury: The Planning and Exection of Joint Operations in Grenada, 12 October–2 November 1983. Washington, DC: Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint History Office. y/Monographs/ Urgent_Fury.pdf. Foster, Dennis M., and Jonathan W. Keller. 2014. “Leaders’ Cognitive Complexity, Distrust, and the Diversionary Use of Force.” Foreign Policy Analysis 10 (3): 205–23. Geer, John Gray. 2004. Public Opinion and Polling Around the World: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. Gowa, Joanne. 1998. “Politics at the Water’s Edge: Parties, Voters, and the Use of Force Abroad.” International Organization 52 (2): 307–24. Grow, Michael. 2008. U.S. Presidents and Latin American Interventions : Pursuing Regime Change in the Cold War. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press. Hall, Brett, Ryan C. Hendrickson, and Nathan M. Polak. 2013. “Diversionary American Military Actions?: American Military Strikes on Grenada and Iraq.” Comparative Strategy 32 (1): 35–51. 013.754153. “Letter to Thatcher—1983 24 Oct.” 2018. Margaretthatcher.Org. Accessed August 14. Lewis, Gordon K. 1987. Grenada: The Jewel Despoiled. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Meernik, James, and Peter Waterman. 1996. “The Myth of the Diversionary Use of Force by American President.” Political Research Quarterly 49 (3): 573–90. Nohlen, Dieter, ed. 2005. Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook, Volume I. Oxford: Oxford University Press. O’Shaughnessy, Hugh. 1984. Grenada: Revolution, Invasion, and Aftermath. London: Sphere Books. Pee, Robert. 2015. Democracy Promotion, National Security and Strategy: Foreign Policy Under the Reagan Administration. New York, NY: Routledge. Sanders, David, and David Patrick Houghton. 1990. Losing an Empire, Finding a Role: British Foreign Policy Since 1945. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave.



Sandford, Gregory W., and Richard Vigilante. 1984. Grenada: The Untold Story. Lanham, MD: Madison Books. Schoulz, Lars. 2009. That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and the Cuban Revolution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Szajkowski, Bogdan. 2005. Political Parties of the World. 6th ed. London: John Harper. von Hippel, Karin. 2000. “Democracy by Force: A Renewed Commitment to Nation Building.” Washington Quarterly 23 (1): 95–112. Williams, Gary. 2007. US-Grenada Relations: Revolution and Intervention in the Backyard. New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Zunes, Stephen. 2003. “The US Invasion of Grenada.”



Abstract  The chapter focuses on the 1989 invasion of Panama and replacement of the Noriega government with the presumptive winning candidate of the annulled general election that had been held earlier during that year. The first part of the chapter outlines the events leading up to the intervention and details the actions taken by the Americans. The second part of the chapter attempts to identify the degree to which the desire for democracy was actually at the heart of the American decision to invade. The chapter then evaluates the measures that the Bush administration took to install a new regime in Panama in order to assess whether these actions were actually focused on delivering democracy. Keywords  Panama USA

· Noriega · Bush · Democracy · Intervention ·

The Bush administration had a number of potential motives for the 1989– 1990 Panama intervention: improving President Bush’s tarnished foreign policy reputation, making amends for (or covering up?) its previous associations with President Manuel Noriega, and protecting the Panama Canal are three prominent ones that have been advanced. According to Bush himself, upholding democracy in Panama was one of the primary rationales for the invasion. The USA undoubtedly took numerous steps to ensure that free and fair elections could take place and the democratic institutions already in the process of development could flourish. © The Author(s) 2019 S. Walker, American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II,



However, was the restoration of Panamanian democracy the most critical factor in the decision to invade? Regardless of America’s true motives, Panama is by any measure an electoral democracy today, although in other aspects of governance it appears to be falling short. As America’s first post-Cold War intervention, the Panama invasion set the tone for several subsequent military actions that were guided by a humanitarian rationale. Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan all fit into this category, for instance.

1  History In the years immediately before the intervention, the United States began to experience increasingly bad relations with the regime of Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. The Reagan administration had formed tight links with Noriega, relying on the general to funnel aid to the Nicaraguan Contras during much of the 1980s. Reagan sent funds to the Noriega-controlled Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF), who in turn directed it to the Contras (Chambers 2004). In fact, the relationship with Noriega went back much further: It is generally recognized, indeed common knowledge, that Noriega enjoyed close relations with agencies of the United States government, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, but also the US military. The role of Noriega as a US informant and conduit for information began in the late 1960s, when he began serving as Director of Intelligence for the Panamanian National Guard, and continued uninterrupted [until the late 1980s] despite allegedly strong evidence of his involvement in illegal activities associated with the drug trade. (Weeks and Zimbalist 1989, 8)

Noriega had risen to power as an aide to General Omar Torrijos, who led a military junta in Panama for 14 years before being assassinated in 1981. After Torrijos’ death, Noriega consolidated power in Panama as the de facto leader (despite never taking the title of president for himself). According to the BBC (2011), he was recruited by the CIA for his support against the Communist regime in Cuba: “His connection with the United States dated back to the 1950s when, according to various accounts, he was recruited as a CIA informant while studying at a military academy in Peru.” In addition, the BBC claims that “the US relied



on Panama as a regional listening post and Noriega obliged with unfaltering support for the Contras in Nicaragua, and in the fight against the FMLN guerrillas in El Salvador.” However, as accusations of electoral fraud and drug trafficking mounted against the Panamanian president, the relationship between Noriega and the US administration began to sour (Chambers 2004). As the media began to increasingly focus on allegations that Noriega was involved in drug trafficking and electoral fraud, pressure grew for the USA to “do something” about the Panamanian leader. Indeed, the 1989 invasion was not the first step that the Americans took to try to rein in Noriega. The Reagan administration had taken several diplomatic measures against the Noriega government, including sanctions. However, Millett (1990) argues that the sanctions had a limited effect on Panama outside of its business community, which formed the heart of the opposition to Noriega (3). Weeks and Zimbalist (1989) argue that in 1988, Reagan implemented a strategy of “cash strangulation,” which involved freezing Panamanian assets in American banks in order to create a “liquidity crisis” in Panama. However, enough foreign companies were willing to do cash transactions with Panama that this strategy was short-lived (25). When it became clear that these punitive measures did not have the desired effect, Reagan eliminated the Panamanian sugar quota and closed USAID offices in Panama (Conniff 1992, 85). Millett (1990) argues that these measures actually emboldened Noriega (4). Millett believes that the US government avoided intervention in the hopes of finding a solution to the crisis: Up till mid-1989, there was a general consensus within the government that using military force would boost the cost well above the level of any benefits provided. Instead, the US sought cheap solutions: using economic sanctions, promoting coups within the PDF, and employing threats and bluffs. (ibid, p. 5)

Parliamentary and presidential elections took place on May 7, 1989. Although Noriega was widely accused of vote rigging and voter intimidation, exit polls revealed that opposition leader Guillermo Endara was likely to win the election, and opposition parties were likely to take the majority of seats (Scranton 1991, 161). Surprised and alarmed, Noriega annulled the election before official results were released, and the


Panamanian government announced that the winner of the presidential election was Noriega ally Carlos Duque of the Democratic Revolutionary Party (ibid., 161). Congressional results were also annulled, and the Attorney General announced that new elections would possibly occur in six months’ time (Dunkerly 1994, 35). After the aborted May elections, Bush faced increasing pressure to show that he was a strong leader. Public criticism was high. Conservative Democrats such as David Boren and Sam Nunn accused the president of talking tough but not being willing to take any action against Noriega (Conniff 1992, 92). Pressure was building for the Bush administration to “do something” instead of being pushed around by a tin-pot dictator. However, Bush was taking action. It was just that the actions he was taking were not working. The decisive moment occurred in the wake of a brief coup attempt led by Major General Moises Giroldi. The plotters managed to capture Noriega on October 3, 1989, but Giroldi was captured and executed within 24 hours along with nine of his co-conspirators. Bush faced criticism for not doing anything to help the plotters despite having been alerted to the plot by Giroldi himself (Pitt 1989). Although Defense Secretary Dick Cheney denied allegations that Bush had refused Giroldi’s offer to hand over Noriega, the pressure for Bush to take action intensified (Fritz 1989). Millett (1990) paints a picture of a situation spiraling toward conflict: The unsuccessful attempt at coup (October 1989) gave Noriega an opportunity to arrest, or discharge, most of the officers with whom the United States had any contacts, reducing the chances that any future coup would produce a PDF leadership acceptable either to Washington or to the Panamanian opposition. The administration was left looking weak, indecisive, and ineffective. (6)

While American action on Panama seemed imminent, the case for intervention needed to be supported by a trigger, which ultimately came after the killing of an off-duty American soldier, Robert Paz, during an encounter with Panamanian troops (XVIII Airborne Corps 1990). On December 20, two months after the failed coup, Bush ordered a full-scale invasion of Panama. Operation Just Cause, the largest American military intervention since Vietnam, began with an assault of strategic installations, such as the civilian Punta Paitilla Airport in Panama City and



a PDF garrison and airfield at Rio Hato, where Noriega also maintained a residence. The Americans also attacked several other military command centers throughout the country. American forces seized PDF weapons, vehicles, and supplies during house-to-house searches in the following days and conducted urban combat operations against snipers and Dignity Battalion (Panamanian paramilitary) holdouts for the following week. A few hours after the invasion began, Guillermo Endara was declared the “presumed winner” in the presidential election which had been scheduled earlier that year but was never held (Los Angeles Times 1989). By December 21, the invasion was over except for small pockets of resistance (Head 2011, 94). Noriega himself was cornered in the Vatican diplomatic mission in Panama City, where he received temporary asylum. After the USA applied intense diplomatic pressure on the Vatican, Noriega surrendered on January 3, 1990, after receiving assurances that he would not be harmed. Having been convicted of drug trafficking in absentia, he was quickly sent back to Miami and sentenced to 40 years in prison (ibid., 98). In the years after the invasion, the country showed steady improvement in terms of its democratic performance. Freedom House (2018) classifies the country as “free” in terms of its political rights and civil liberties, although the country still has governance problems related to corruption, judicial independence, and judiciary independence.

2  Was It an FD Intervention? 2.1   Democratic Intent Democracy was a clearly stated objective of the American intervention in Panama. The USA acted to put the presumed winner of the May elections into power and offered an enormous amount of democracy assistance in the aftermath of Operation Just Cause. On the surface, then, it appears that this was a straightforward case of an FD intervention. However, the actual picture is—as is usually the case—more complicated. George H. W. Bush appeared to have other, more pressing, reasons to intervene. Moreover, full elections did not take place for five years—long enough for America to be confident that candidates opposed to its interests were not in the picture. The long gap between elections would also point toward the conclusion that democracy alone was not the primary concern.


In an address from the Oval Office immediately after the start of Operation Just Cause, George H. W. Bush listed four justifications for the invasion: 1. Safeguarding the 35,000 US citizens living in Panama at the time. There had been some reports of intimidation of American citizens, and an off-duty Marine was killed in a skirmish with PDF troops near its headquarters a few days before the invasion. 2. Combating drug trafficking and money laundering. By this time, it was well-known that Noriega was running Colombian drugs into the United States. 3. Defending the Panama Canal and ensuring its neutrality. 4. Defending democracy and human rights (Cole 1997, 30). As America’s first significant post-Cold War intervention, Operation Just Cause was justified primarily by a humanitarian rationale. Democracy was a major part of this rationale, as Noriega had blatantly subverted democratic processes by voiding the election results of 1989. Both Congress and Bush himself had repeatedly invoked the lack of democracy as a reason for why Noriega needed to leave power. Much more than was the case with the Grenada intervention six years earlier, democracy was invoked as a central purpose of the invasion. However, the American track record on Panama would appear to invite a good deal of skepticism about the authenticity of this democratic motive. Conniff (1992) points out: If the democratizing impulse compelled Bush to order the December 1989 invasion, no such dedication to ideological activism had been evident five months earlier when Noriega’s bloody quashing of a Panamanian presidential election elicited little more than verbal protests from the United States. (111)

So, is it possible to divine the real role that democracy played in the Panama intervention? The skepticism expressed by Conniff is shared by many—and American behavior toward Panama offered reasonable justification for that skepticism. However, it is important to remember that since the Carter and Reagan administrations, democracy has become a more central objective of American foreign policy than at any other time



in American history—particularly in the case of Latin America and the Caribbean. While scholars may point to security or economic rationales as the principle drivers behind American strategic decisions, appearing to be a strong proponent of democracy around the world has also become a key goal of American foreign policy. The need to include democracy as a rationale for intervention was especially strong in the Panama case due to the role it played in the development of a hostile relationship between Noriega and the Reagan/ Bush administrations. It would appear that democracy would necessarily have had to play a role in the intervention since Bush had become, as Conniff argues, trapped by his own “constantly escalating rhetoric” regarding Noriega (1992, 109). The cancellation of the May 1989 elections, and the constant pressure applied by the USA regarding the need for democracy in Panama meant that any effort to get rid of Noriega would need to involve a push for democracy as one of its central planks. Aside from a possible desire to re-establish democracy, what were the primary motivations for the Panama intervention? For the first time in the modern era, anti-communism would not be a guiding rationale in the decision-making process. However, scholars have identified several other factors that may have contributed to George H. W. Bush’s decision to invade. I briefly discuss a few of the key motivations that academics have offered for the invasion, and then suggest how the desire for democracy may have played a role. Perhaps the most common reason advanced for the intervention was that the Bush administration sought to shore up or repair its credibility as a strong global actor. Part of this was a historical accident. The Panama situation not only occurred at the critical juncture between the Cold War and post-Cold War eras, but it also came in the wake of events that shook America’s global image in uncertain times. Grow (2008) argues that Panama did not, in and of itself, constitute a security threat. Instead, he argues, the USA had a “fixation with credibility,” and Bush felt a need to avoid the “wimp factor” that had plagued him up to that date (187). The events of Tiananmen Square, in particular, were still on people’s minds, and Bush may have thought that a military action perceived as being supportive of democracy might strengthen his image. Conniff (1992) argues that Bush faced a golden opportunity to “ ­ counter the perception of weak leadership” by showing that he could not be pushed around by a small-time thug:

56  S. WALKER The pressure to invade was enhanced by America’s own rhetoric: Constant rhetorical escalation by both the Reagan administration and the Congress created a popular image of General Noriega as a virtual devil incarnate -poisoning US children with drugs, threatening the security of the Panama Canal, and constantly thumbing his nose at US efforts to remove him from power. The image of a drug kingpin made serious negotiations with the Noriega regime a political impossibility. (109)

Powerful personalities—namely, enemies of Noriega—also appeared to have played an important role in magnifying public pressure for Bush to intervene. Grow (2008) argues that public relations efforts to discredit Noriega contributed to a spotlight effect on Noriega’s bad behavior (162). For instance, journalist and La Prensa editor Roberto Eisenmann was able to capture the attention of the media by “making contacts, giving the media hard leads and verifiable facts” (ibid., 164). Another influential Noriega opponent was Winston Spadafora, a Panamanian attorney who came to Washington to lobby against the Noriega regime. Spadafora allied himself with Republican Senator Jesse Helms, who became the chief agitator for action in the Senate: Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina created the worst trouble for General Noriega by using his position on the Senate Foreign relations committee to investigate and publicize all of the accusations [including Noriega’s alleged murder of Spadafora’s brother in 1985] against the Panamanian strongman. In the United States, this attack seriously damaged Noriega’s image and made it uncomfortable for any government official to defend him. These charges reverberated for months in the world’s press, generating pressure on the Reagan administration to “do something” about Noriega. (Conniff 1992, 113)

Another enemy was Miguel Antonio Bernal, an impassioned opponent of Noriega who tried to mount an opposition movement in Panama City during the summer of 1986 using the radio and opposition press. Forced to leave the country, over the next three years Bernal published an underground weekly, Alternativa, in which he incessantly attacked Noriega (ibid., 113). A third Noriega opponent was former Panamanian Chief of Staff Roberto Diaz Herrera. Apparently, Diaz had attempted to force Noriega to resign in 1987. Instead, “Noriega decided to resign him [Diaz].”



Diaz retaliated by “announcing that all of the allegations of the last year were true” and provided many sordid inside details of the Noriega administration’s dealings. Conniff argues that “the resistance that Diaz sponsored inside Panama, and the retaliation (including imprisonments, intimidation, and beating of protesters) became a nightly feature of U.S. television news” (ibid., 115). Finally, Jose Blandon, a close Noriega aide, was sent into exile in 1988. Blandon testified to several congressional committees, receiving extensive press coverage (Klein 1990, 11). A rather enticing argument claims that as the close nature of the relationship between Noriega and the norteamericanos unraveled over time, the Americans sought to cover their tracks by eliminating him from power. As mentioned above, the USA had relied on Noriega to do its bidding since his days as the leader of the PDF in the Torrijos regime. Moreover, for many years Noriega had been clandestinely funneling money and weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras. In 1986, however, Congress decided to allow the CIA to resume arms supplies to the Contras, and Noriega’s assistance was no longer necessary. Indeed, his activities were now reflecting poorly on the Reagan administration. At this point, the argument goes, Noriega may have become the proverbial “man who knew too much.” Klein suggests that this knowledge made the general a wanted man: Simply put, Noriega knew too much. He acted as a Cold War listening post for the US during turbulent times in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras…He claimed to be an intermediary between then Vicepresident Bush and Fidel Castro in the 1980s. Noriega is also said to have met Bush, a former CIA director, personally on two occasions in 1976 and 1983. (ibid., 111)

The many connections that led from Noriega to Bush, on the one hand, and to the Medellin drug cartel and Fidel Castro, on the other, were particularly embarrassing to the Americans. Indeed, at least one academic, Nikolas Kozloff (2004), argues that “silencing Noriega” may have been a driving motivation for the Panama invasion (25). Thus, while there is no way to prove the author’s contention, neither can one dismiss it out of hand.


Before moving on, it might be useful to very briefly discuss the potential role of two other possible reasons for the Panama intervention: the safety of the Panama Canal and the possibility of the use of force in Panama as a diversion from domestic events. With the handover just a few years away, was it possible that the USA wanted to secure the canal from a possible threat from a Noriegaappointed leader who would threaten American interests there? Weeks and Zimbalist (1989) are skeptical of such a possibility: It is doubtful if any but those on the extreme right and totally ignorant of Panamanian politics could believe that any Panamanian government would not demand the transfer of control of the canal in 2000 as had been agreed by treaty. No government could do so and survive, for it would contradict the central current of Panamanian politics for the last sixty years. Were the US administration seriously to seek an extension of control over the canal, it would require military occupation and a quisling government in the strict sense of that term. (12)

Whatever its true motives for the intervention, it is hard to see interference in the business of the canal as an important factor. At no time had Noriega been hostile to American military and security interests. In fact, he had invited more American involvement: Until the recent breakdown of relations, Noriega had moved the Panamanian government and the Defense Forces away from the progressive foreign policy of Torrijos. He had also cooperated with US ventures in the region, and had risked popular disgruntlement by permitting major US military exercises in the country for three consecutive years. (ibid., 12)

Since the 1989 invasion, America has not once tried to pressure Panama to alter the deal. Thus, there appears to be little evidence that it had concerns about the security of the canal. Finally, Operation Just Cause does not seem to fit a “wag the dog” scenario in which Bush used the intervention to divert attention from domestic issues or his own low popularity. 1988 and 1989 were years in which the USA was experiencing economic growth. Moreover, Bush’s popularity remained high until 1990. Thus, there is not a great deal of support for the diversionary hypothesis.



To review, the Bush administration had several reasons to desire the removal of Noriega, many of which related to its own political wellbeing. Democracy, while probably not the most central concern, played a role both in that it helped to legitimize the intervention and because of Bush’s and Congress’ statements in their dealings with Noriega. As the first major post-Cold War intervention, Panama was a watershed event that set a precedent for future American interventions. Without anti-communism as a trump card that could be used to justify intervention, humanitarian concerns (including democracy in many cases) would now be used to justify any American intervention. 2.2  Actions Taken at face value, the American actions in Panama seemed to be consistent with an attempt to bring a democratic government into power. The sole rationale for putting Guillermo Endara in power was to “restore” democracy by ensuring that the presumed winner of an annulled election was sworn in. While one may argue that Endara legitimately deserved to be the president, the reality was that American actions did not deliver full democracy, at least right away. The country did not have another election (presidential or legislative) for five years after Operation Just Cause. On the surface, the invasion appears to have restored democracy. In some ways, however, the regime that replaced Noriega appeared to be as much an American project as a Panamanian one. America’s kept a strong hand in Panama’s affairs during the first few years after the intervention. Ropp (2000) points out that: Various forms of external economic aid increased dramatically immediately following the invasion. Congress authorized an emergency aid package to deal with critical needs for housing and infrastructure, and it was followed by a larger package of assistance to Panamanian financial institutions and social sectors that vaulted Panama to first place among all regional aid recipients. (108)

A notable fact about the aftermath of the Panama intervention is the enormous amount of democracy assistance given to the country in the early 1990s. According to Scott and Carter (2016), the country received


over $460 billion of aid (in constant 2009 dollars) during the 1990s, but the overwhelming majority of this amount came immediately after the intervention. “For Panama, substantial economic and governmental administration packages were provided immediately after the US military intervention, but negligible attention or support was given to Panama in the form of democracy assistance before or after that brief period” (316). In other words, by the time elections finally took place in 1994, democracy aid to the country had nearly ended, although significant economic aid was still flowing into the country. While the period of large-scale democracy assistance was brief, the amount was enormous by regional standards; in fact, during the 1989–2000 period, only Nicaragua received more democracy assistance among Latin American countries (ibid., 313). According to the Congressional Research Service, “The goal of such aid was to…restore pre-existing constitutional order” (Epstein et al. 2007, 24). It is important to note the significance of the word “restore” here. This aid was only necessary to revive democratic institutions, not to create them for the first time, as would be the case for both Afghanistan and Iraq. A significant part of this aid was for democracy and governance projects, which fell into four categories: (1) elections and political processes; (2) rule of law; (3) civil society; and (4) governance (Finkel et al. 2007, 2). USAID also provided funds to ensure both political and economic recovery: “This assistance should be used to encourage and assist the Government of Panama in taking the necessary steps to enable the proper functioning of a market economy and a political democracy.” America was consciously employing a twin strategy of restoring the economy and economic performance (USAID 1991, 1). Other programs included a $2.1 billion Democratic Initiatives Project (involving legislative, electoral, bureaucratic, and journalistic processes) and a $12 million project to improve the capacity of the country’s judiciary (ibid., 9). Ropp (2000) suggests that American involvement in Panama was so substantial in part because of the need to protect the fragile Endara regime in the crucial early years: Beyond removing some of the personal and institutional impediments that had rendered substantive democracy impossible, the United States also contributed to subsequent democratizing efforts by throwing a protective



military blanket over the fledgling Endara government. Soon after the U.S. invasion, members of the old military regime threatened the government by mounting several coup attempts. The most serious of these came in December 1990 when Colonel Eduardo Herrera Hassan, a former member of the Defense Force, and thirty of his followers seized national police headquarters. The Bush administration’s response to these threats was to grant Panama’s new government de facto protectorate status. When Endara requested military help, four hundred U.S. troops were used to quell the unrest. (125)

To be fair to the USA, one must acknowledge that the intervention and its aftermath transpired at a time before the completion of the Panama Canal transition. So American involvement with Panama would of course by necessity dictate a focus on ensuring a smooth handover. The transition proved to have fewer problems than almost anyone had imagined, and at no time did the USA attempt to interfere with Panama’s sovereignty over the Canal. Whether this is because of American largesse or because the handover coincided with reduced tensions due to the end of the Cold War remains an open question. However, this does not mean that America was not involved in the country’s affairs; in fact, it was extremely active in the economy, and therefore by necessity, the politics of Panama in the first three years after the invasion. However, by 1992, aid started to drop, and along with it America’s high level of influence. Ropp points out that this decline in aid was due both to “increasing budgetary pressures” and “perceptions of success in this democratic effort.” The result was that by 1994, US aid to Panama had become “modest even by regional standards” (ibid., 125). Conniff (1992) also argues that the period immediately following the intervention was one in which the USA decided to manage the political situation carefully. He points out that “the US military had assigned advisors to virtually all top Panamanian officials to monitor affairs and prevent the return of PDF leaders.” He terms this supervision a “shadow government” (120). By 1992, however, such involvement was over. Questions remain regarding the true number of civilian casualties that resulted from Operation Just Cause, and over the degree to which the Panamanians were allowed to control their own economy and sovereignty in the early 1990s. While most Panamanians supported the invasion, opinion polls reveal that they viewed American involvement in the post-intervention period as being heavy-handed (ibid., 121).


Regardless, after the early 1990s, and certainly by the time Panama’s 1994 elections occurred, America’s involvement in shaping Panama’s future was finished. Skeptics questioning American motives will point to the fact that America decided to release its hold on the country because the regime in place was serving its interests adequately. In narrow terms of delivering an electoral democracy, America was successful. However, as Ropp (2000) states: “The U.S. invasion made it clear that any Panamanian government, whether civilian or military, governed at the discretion of decision-makers in Washington” (125).

References BBC. 2011. “Panama’s General Manuel Noriega and His Fall from Grace.” 11 December. Chambers, John Whiteclay. 2004. “Panama, U.S. Military Intervention.” In The Oxford Companion to American Military History. Oxford University Press. 001.0001/acref-9780195071986-e-0674?rskey=czvy2Z&result=672. Cole, Ronald H. 1997. Operation Urgent Fury: The Planning and Exection of Joint Operations in Grenada, 12 October–2 November 1983. Washington, DC: Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint History Office. y/Monographs/ Urgent_Fury.pdf. Conniff, Michael L. 1992. Panama and the United States: The Forced Alliance. Athens: University of Georgia Press. Dunkerly, James. 1994. The Pacification of Central America: Political Change in the Isthmus, 1987–1993. London: Verso. Epstein, Susan B., Nina M. Serafino, and Frances T. Miko. 2007. “Democracy Promotion: Cornerstone of U.S. Foreign Policy?” row/RL34296.pdf. Finkel, Steven E., Anibal Perez-Linan, and Mitchell A. Seligson. 2007. “The Effects of US Foreign Assistance on Democracy Building, 1990–2003.” World Politics 59 (April): 404–39. Freedom House. 2018. Freedom in the World 2018. report/freedom-world/2018/panama. Fritz, Sara. 1989. “Senate Dissatisfied with US Action in Coup.” Los Angeles Times, October 6. Grow, Michael. 2008. U.S. Presidents and Latin American Interventions : Pursuing Regime Change in the Cold War. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.



Head, William P. 2011. “Gunships and ‘Ding-Bats’: U.S. Military Operations During ‘Just Cause.’” Journal of Third World Studies XXVIll (2): 87–105. Klein, Joe. 1990. “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” The National Interest, January. Kozloff, N. 2004. “Book Review: Debating the Panama Invasion.” Latin American Perspectives 31 (6): 118–19. 82x04269917. Los Angeles Times. 1989. “Combat in Panama: Operation Just Cause,” December 21. Millett, Richard L. 1990. “The Aftermath of Intervention: Panama 1990.” Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 32 (1): 1–15. http:// Pitt, David. 1989. “Widow of Panama Coup Leader Says Fellow Plotter Betrayed Him.” New York Times, October 12. Ropp, Steve C. 2000. “Panama: Militarism and Imposed Transition.” In Repression, Resistance, and Democratic Transition in Central America, edited by Thomas W. Walker and Ariel C. Armony. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, Inc. Scott, James M., and Ralph G. Carter. 2016. “Promoting Democracy in Latin America: Foreign Policy Change and US Democracy Assistance, 1975–2010.” Third World Quarterly 37(2): 299–320. Scranton, Margaret E. 1991. The Noriega Years: U.S.-Panamanian Relations, 1981–1990. Boulder: Lynne Rienner. USAID. 1991. “Audit of the Panama Assistance Program Funded by Public Law 101–302.” XVIII Airborne Corps. 1990. “Operation Just Cause: 870-5a Organizational History Files (Corps Historian’s Notes).” Weeks, John, and Andrew Zimbalist. 1989. “The Failure of Intervention in Panama: Humiliation in the Backyard.” Third World Quarterly 11 (1): 1–27.



Abstract  The chapter focuses on the 2001 Invasion of Afghanistan by the USA and its allies. The first part of the chapter outlines the developments that led to the intervention and details the American actions to dislodge the Taliban from power and install a new government. The second part assesses whether the intervention was actually focused on delivering a democratic outcome. It first focuses on American motives for the intervention, with an eye on identifying the role that the desire for democracy played in this action. It subsequently examines American post-intervention actions in order to identify the degree to which they were actually focused on bringing about democratization. Keywords  Afghanistan Democracy · USA

· Intervention · Taliban · Bush ·

In some ways, Afghanistan does not fit the pattern of other Americanled interventions that ostensibly were carried out to bring about democracy. Although still very much American-led, both the military operation known as Operation Enduring Freedom and the subsequent efforts at reconstructing the country were much more multilateral in nature than the other cases explored in this book. To a significantly higher degree than other cases, the American strategy in post-intervention Afghanistan focused on installing a type of regime that would quickly restore local rule while also respecting local processes and institutions. Because of the © The Author(s) 2019 S. Walker, American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II,



plan to quickly hand power over to civilian forces while simultaneously allowing Afghan leaders to decide for themselves what the new state would look like, the Afghanistan intervention was in many ways a more limited one than the other interventions that are covered in this book. The Afghan intervention was one in which the new regime was not as clearly “imposed” from the outside as was the case with the other cases explored here. The Taliban, a group of fundamentalist Sunni political and religious leaders who had been running most of Afghanistan since 2006, was quickly removed from power. Within a matter of months, the coalition had installed an interim government with minimal discussion and planning. The new Afghan government would not be fully democratic (at least in the beginning) in the sense that it would not allow for direct input from citizens into the type of government and leadership that the new Afghanistan would have. Instead, the plan was for key decisions regarding the nature of the new government to be made through local processes by local power brokers. The focus of the intervening powers was on providing security and building a functioning governance apparatus. In the Afghan case, the short-to-medium term post-intervention goal of the victorious powers was not a democratic regime in the liberal, Western sense. Given the challenging economic, social, and historical circumstances, the USA and its allies did not foresee a clear path to liberal democracy. Instead, they focused on transferring the reins of power to local leaders who had some degree of traditional legitimacy among some segments of the population. The focus was squarely on domestic security and ensuring essential state functions. But did the desire for democracy play any role in the victorious powers’ decision to intervene?

1   Intervention History Afghanistan’s history is replete with occupation and conflict. British-, Russian-, and finally American-led forces occupied the country, which has known a great deal of both inter-ethnic and sectarian strife. Throughout its history, Afghanistan has frequently proved to be nearly ungovernable, and the USA and its allies were quite aware of this fact before the intervention as they were drawing up plans to reconstruct the country. The public aims of the intervention in Afghanistan were to dislodge the Taliban, end the civil conflict, and dismantle Al-Qaeda. “Democracy”



might have been a buzzword sometimes associated with the intervention, but the most pressing reasons why America acted appear to be related mainly to the need to stabilize the country. The 2001 invasion of Afghanistan occurred after the USA demanded that the Afghan government hand over Osama bin Laden (the leader of Al-Qaeda) and expel the Taliban. Although intervention in the affairs of a sovereign state by another is illegal under international law, the coalition argued that its actions were justified under the UN Charter as a form of self-defense against terrorist organizations inside the country. This argument was widely accepted in the UN Security Council, although that body never gave official authorization for any action. On October 7, 2001, American and British forces led an international force into Afghanistan under the banner of “Operation Enduring Freedom,” which targeted Taliban training grounds and military installations. On November 10, the strategically important Taliban stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif fell, and by November 12, coalition forces took Kabul as well (Stewart 2002, 10). The Taliban had been defeated throughout most of the country, and its remnants fled to the city of Kandahar in the Southeast. However, Kandahar fell on December 7, and while some remnants of the Taliban survived by hiding in a series of caves near the Pakistan border, the battle for control of the country was effectively over. What would happen next? Would the USA offer to rebuild Afghanistan in a manner similar to how it had done so in Germany and Japan? Indeed, in a speech in April of 2002, Bush suggested in a speech that a Marshall Plan-like strategy to rebuild Afghanistan might be in the works (New York Times 2002). A debate occurred in the National Security Council regarding the best path to take with the country. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pushed for a quick exit strategy, arguing that the coalition should focus on counterterrorism efforts and on rebuilding the Afghan army. Rumsfeld also believed that the NATO-led security mission, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops should not be deployed beyond Kabul. Others, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, argued that the intervention should include a wider footprint across the country and that the country would need more extensive work to build its governance structures (Jones 2009, 14–15). To a significant degree, it was Rumsfeld’s argument that won the day. In the end, the Americans decided not to maintain a security presence in the country outside of Kabul, and to provide very little development


assistance for the rebuilding of the war-torn country although these had been two factors that many believed were essential for a wide-scale reconstruction of the country’s economy and government. The allies endeavored to create “a broadly based and representative regime whose base could be further broadened and whose legitimacy could be enhanced over time, using traditional Afghan political processes (Dobbins et al. 2003, 132).” The framework for carrying out this elaborate plan was a plan known as the Bonn Agreement. In December 2001, twenty-five prominent Afghans met in Bonn, Germany. The attendees agreed in principle to draft a new constitution based on the 1964 one, create a judicial commission to rebuild the justice system according to traditional and Islamic principles, and establish a Supreme Court (United Nations 2001). A notable outcome of the Bonn Agreement was that it mandated the establishment of a framework for the post-Taliban political transition of the country. Those present at the Bonn agreement formed an interim authority that would take office on December 22, 2001, and serve as the government until the convening of an emergency loya jirga (grand assembly) in mid-2002 that would: Decide on a transitional authority, including a broad-based transitional administration, to lead Afghanistan until such time as a fully representative government can be elected through free and fair elections. (ibid.)

The loya jirga process was ostensibly designed to enable the broad and equitable participation of the Afghan people at every level of society. During local and regional meetings during the spring of 2002, representatives were elected to attend the nationwide loya jirga. Over 1500 participants were selected through such grassroots processes to participate in the event, which was to be held in June of 2002. Preparation for the loya jirga began as soon as the Bonn Agreementappointed group, the Afghan Interim Authority, came into office. At the lower local level, meetings of village elders decided on groups of electors. The process was not democratic but was instead intended to be broadly inclusive of the many groups in Afghan society. The electors then met on a region-by-region basis to choose district representatives for the emergency loya jirga, which convened in Kabul from June 10 through 16. A transitional administration was named and Hamid Karzai, a prominent Pashtun leader and one of the commanders of the Northern Alliance,



was elected as its president after the former King, Zahir Shah, withdrew his name from consideration. The new administration was dominated by former Northern Alliance leaders, and the largest group, the Pashtuns, felt underrepresented. However, although all three vice presidents came from the Northern Alliance, Pashtuns were given two of the “power ministries”—defense and foreign affairs (Dobbins et al. 2003, 143). The coalition also decided to give several positions in the administration to intellectuals and loyalist supporters of the king. Despite the efforts toward achieving diversity, many Pashtun leaders remained skeptical about the central government and were reluctant to cooperate fully with Kabul (ibid., 143). Dobbins et al. (2003) argues that the situation the allies faced at the Bonn Agreement was complicated by the fact that the largest group, the Pashtuns, had been closely associated with the Taliban regime: The Bonn agreement created a government that represented the various ethnic groups in Afghanistan and that was designed to help reduce intergroup tension. The Pashtuns were the largest ethnic group in the country, but many had supported the Taliban government and were therefore tainted in the eyes of others at Bonn. The northern alliance, on the other hand, was made up of ethnic Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazara. (ibid., 132)

As per the directions of the Bonn Agreement, a second loya jirga, focused on the creation of a constitution, was held in December of 2003. Participants were instructed to decide on the form of government for the new Afghan state. Ultimately, the loya jirga decided upon a presidential system with a bicameral legislature. On October 9, 2004, presidential elections were held for the first time. Karzai won with around 55% of the vote, amid some claims of voting irregularities. In September 2005, the country held parliamentary elections, and after that the National Assembly was open for business (BBC 2008). Since that time, Karzai won a second five-year term in 2009 and was replaced in 2014 by Ashraf Ghani, who is currently the president. Both the lower and upper houses have had regular elections throughout this period. However, although the new government was in place, the war continued. The defeat of the Taliban was merely the first step in a conflict that never quite ended. In August 2003, NATO formally became involved in operations in Afghanistan to train Afghan security forces and to help


rebuild key government institutions. Politically, the country has never been considered close to being a democracy. Freedom House (2018) classifies Afghanistan as “not free” in terms of both political rights and civil liberties. The country performs poorly in nearly every sub-category. As of late 2018, seventeen years after the invasion, despite the fact that it is on paper a democratic state, Afghanistan is still waiting for any notable democratic developments to occur in practice.

2  Was It an FD Intervention? 2.1   Democratic Intent To what degree was the American-led intervention in Afghanistan focused on delivering democracy? While the desire to bring democratic institutions may have been on the minds of Bush administration officials, that goal appears to be mostly subordinated to more realist ones. I have already mentioned that the inherently challenging nature of reconstructing Afghanistan, along with the short time frame for the scheduled withdrawal, meant that the USA could not aim for a truly democratic outcome, but for some outcome or outcomes that approximated democracy. It appears that there were at least three proxies for democracy. The first was the fact that the new regime was designed to appear to have elements of legitimacy and accountability. The second proxy was that the new regime would be diverse or broadly representative. Finally, the new regime would enjoy a sense of local ownership and would operate with respect to indigenous decision-making processes. Brown (2015) argues that part of the reason why the American leadership could conflate democracy with state-building and security is that its leaders had been conditioned by the international community (and the donor community in particular) in recent years to prioritize “order, stability, and accountability” over democracy itself. The USA’s own recent history had also played a role. The 1990s had been a time of humanitarian interventions in which the Americans’ role was to guarantee the stability and effective administrative oversight of the country (637). Ponzio (2011) argues that prioritizing legitimacy and nation-building made sense to the Bush administration, both as a strategy for addressing security issues as well as a way to deal with the demands of humanitarian agencies. At the creation of the Afghanistan policy and the Bonn agreement, Ponzio claims:



The argument is that while donors and agencies want clients (the reconstruction market in action) and therefore want to deal with de facto leaders, the blueprint was one of administration, not “government”. It wasn’t appointing people who had existing authority, but ones who would manage things into the future. The legitimacy would be based on how well the government provided for human security. Why? Because only accountable and legitimate institutions can protect national security. (107)

Thus, building an effective nation-state was seen as achieving a key milestone country along the road to democracy. Ponzio continues by arguing that international state-building operations occur under conditions where “states lack not only the capacity to provide security and services but also legitimacy” (ibid., 189). Rubin (2013) also agrees that the legitimacy of the Afghanistan government was based in large part on its acceptability to outside actors: Participants in peacebuilding or stabilization operations attempt to use foreign resources of the same types to build acceptable states in areas that pose a perceived threat to powerful actors. Afghanistan became a point of consensus among international actors in part because it united characteristics of a ‘rogue state,’ of concern to the USA, and a ‘failed state,’ of concern to globalist humanitarians. (178)

One can also argue that instituting diversity and traditional governance through the loya jirga process was seen as a close substitute to democracy. The new idea of the “emergency” loya jirga, which was used to create the new Constitution and Assembly, was established in order to create new institutions in a way that appeared to pay attention to traditional Afghan processes. In short, as Ponzio argues, a system of governance with democratic auspices would be introduced by “marrying democratic legal authority with respected traditional governing institutions” (2011, 178). Ponzio adds that the Bonn Agreement focused on bringing together a disparate set of groups, each of whom was supported by some segment of the Afghan population: [The Bonn Agreement was] sensitive to development activities that focused on a transformation in the nation and sources of authority among Afghans—from rule by religious scholars, tribal elders, and ‘warlords’ to a hybrid model of governance involving democratically elected leaders and

72  S. WALKER highly trained technocrats. In other words, the outcome envisioned would focus on establishing Afghan sovereignty from the outset, combine legal authority with traditional institutions, and to accommodate power brokers from across the country in the new government, even suspected war criminals. (ibid., 178)

Of course, such an arrangement could be argued to be problematic in several ways. First, the inclusion of suspected war criminals was likely to alarm many inside and outside of Afghanistan. Second, the agreement did not include the “deposed groups” of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, although “state-building required eliminating or co-opting them.” That task would surely have been expected to be easier said than done. Finally, the exact power-sharing terms of the arrangement were not spelled out, and the coalition and ISAF thus would be expected to apply pressure to Northern Coalition members to obtain their consent to move forward (ibid., 180). Rubin (2013) states that while the United Nations had no clear democratic standards for its intervention in Afghanistan, the Americans did insist on at least some degree of procedural democracy for the new regime right from the beginning: For the type of government legitimate for its members, its operational doctrine requires that the transition leads to adoption of a constitution providing for at least an appearance of liberal democracy, with elections constituting the principal benchmark. The US…explicitly has made “democracy” (defined as a government elected by universal adult suffrage) the goal of such operations. (154)

Regardless of whether America had a democratic outcome in mind for Afghanistan in the months after the invasion, administration o ­ fficials rarely used the word “democracy” in the weeks before October 7, 2001, the date of the initial intervention. However, the name of the operation to invade Afghanistan was “Operation Enduring Freedom,” which would suggest that the Americans hoped to link the invasion with democracy in some way. That being said, America did not list democracy as one of its preconditions demanded of the Taliban in the September 20, 2001 ultimatum. Moreover, Bush made no statements regarding the desire for democracy in Afghanistan prior to the invasion.



The primary evidence for a preexisting commitment to democracy on the part of American officials relates to the Bush Doctrine itself, which involved the use of preemptive war as a means to export democracy in order to win the War on Terror. Democracy and freedom are integral parts of the Doctrine, but this fact alone does not mean that we can assume they were primary goals of this particular intervention. Thus, we must consider the possibility that the need for democracy in Afghanistan was more of a post hoc justification for American action. Fukuyama and McFaul (2008) argue that: Realist policies are often difficult to sell to Congress and the America public, and their legacy of cynicism often leads to bitter domestic recrimination. For this reason, US presidents…have always found it more effective to frame ambitious US engagement in the world not just in strategic terms, but in terms of values such as freedom and democracy. (33)

Santos and Teixeira (2013) also argue that security factors dominated America’s rationale for the military interventions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The authors claim that it was not until 2004, when the Bush administration began to tie the need for democracy to the need for security, that democracy became an essential consideration for America’s foreign policy toward the Middle East: Bush and his team engaged in a crusade to reinforce the idea that the US and the world would only be truly safe when rogue states became democratic. At this point, values and interests merged. Terrorism would only be defeated by democracy. (139)

It will never be possible to convince skeptics that democracy was a concern for the Bush administration, at least in the pre-invasion period. Indeed, given the fact that Bush’s National Security Advisor at the time of the invasion, Condoleezza Rice, claimed in 2017 that Operation Enduring Freedom (as well as Operation Iraqi Freedom), was “strictly concerned with taking out US foes,” a high degree of skepticism is clearly justified (O’Connor 2017). However, if we must apply the strict standard that democracy was a clear goal beforehand, there may be no cases of pure FD interventions. What Rice does claim (to her own dismay) is that the intervention in Afghanistan became conflated with Bush’s Freedom Agenda at some point after the invasion.


Indeed, in his Address to the Nation of October 7, 2001, when Bush first announced strikes against the Taliban, he claimed that the main reason was to combat terrorism. Neither “democracy” nor “freedom” is mentioned in that speech even once (Bush 2001). If one were to grant the Bush administration a bit more leeway, however, it could be argued that no matter how poorly officials may have articulated the desire for democracy before the invasion, a democratic outcome was always one of the desired outcomes of Operation Enduring Freedom. However, this argument requires a leap of faith, as it must be logically deduced from the Bush Doctrine and the Freedom Agenda rather than from a priori statements. Thus, while one cannot completely rule out the idea that the Afghanistan intervention was in part due to a desire to install a democratic government, the argument that a democratic outcome was at the forefront of American policymakers’ minds before the intervention began does not appear to be a tenable one. It would make more sense to look to the Bonn agreement as the point where America truly began to contemplate the role that democracy would play in the reconstruction of the country. In a 2003 interview with the Baltimore Sun, Joseph Nye argued that in invading Afghanistan, Bush’s behavior was, paradoxically, both pro-democratic and an effort at a cover-up. The invasion was “quite consistent with a long strand of American foreign policy principles but at the same time was very likely ‘a democracy blanket.’” This possible paradox in American strategy suggests that we will never be able to completely sort out the exact role that democracy played in the Afghanistan intervention (Reynolds 2007). If democracy was not the primary reason for the invasion, then what was? The officially stated reason of removing the Taliban as part of a War on Terror, articulated in Bush’s speech on the day the USA began to attack Taliban positions is, of course, a strong candidate. Gaddis (2005) provides an excellent summary of the security-oriented argument for why the invasion occurred: Grand strategy is as much about psychology as it is facts on the ground. The Bush administration intended that a demonstrated capacity for retaliation, pre-emption, and or prevention in Afghanistan and Iraq would convince Al Qaeda that the United States could not be run out of the Middle East. “Shock and awe” would dry up recruiting for the



organization. And it would deter other states in the region and elsewhere from supporting terrorism in the future. (10)

Despite the presence of a number of competing alternative explanations for American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, this explanation seems to carry a good deal of weight. The fight against terrorist forces is obviously one of the key motivations for American actions in Afghanistan (and, of course, Iraq). This statement does not appear to be a particularly controversial one. However, might there be other factors at play beyond the desire for security and anti-terrorism? Many would argue that larger geostrategic concerns also played a significant role in America’s calculations. Mearsheimer (2011) posits that: Global dominance has two broad objectives: maintaining American primacy, which means making sure that the United States remains the most powerful state in the international system; and spreading democracy across the globe, in effect, making the world over in America’s image. The underlying belief is that new liberal democracies will be peacefully inclined and pro-America, so the more the better. Of course, this means that Washington must care a lot about every country’s politics. With global dominance, no serious attempt is made to prioritize US interests, because they are virtually limitless. (19)

Following Mearsheimer’s logic, any attempt to untangle the relationship between democracy, counterterrorism, resource grabs, and other possible motivations for the Afghanistan invasion is a relatively pointless exercise. Rather, all potential motivations play a part and cannot be separated into discrete concepts. They all play a part in spreading America’s global footprint. However, viewing America’s desire to enter Afghanistan as part of a larger geopolitical mission may make more sense if we do not treat the decision to remove the Taliban as a discrete event. Instead, historian Toby Craig Jones (2012) argues, we should view the entire period after the 1979 Iranian Revolution as one “Long War” in terms of America’s perspective of the Middle East, a war in which “pursuing regional security and protecting oil and American friendly oil producers has been the principle strategic rationale” (217). By Jones’ logic, Saddam Hussein’s 1980 invasion of Iran was viewed by the Americans as a potential way to keep two of the regional powerhouses bogged down in a war so that


neither could gain enough power to upset the balance of power in the region. This logic could explain why the USA provided weapons, funding, and intelligence to both sides. The next ten years were spent treating both Iran and Iraq as “rogue states,” and the Gulf War came during that period (ibid., 214). Using “Long War” logic, then, we might see the Afghan intervention as an ongoing attempt to pursue America’s interests not only in Afghanistan but the whole region. In the final analysis, it appears to be clear that whatever role the desire for democracy played in America’s decision to invade Afghanistan, the invasion of 2001 was subsumed into an overarching regional strategy dominated by enhancing its own security and securing its long-term strategic interests. As we shall see in the next section, democracy did become more of a focus of the American occupation after the post-invasion Bonn Agreement negotiations were underway. Even then, however, the limited version of democracy envisioned by the USA was merely one part of a much larger desire to reconstruct the country in ways that enhanced America’s broader interests. 2.2  Actions Given the fact that the imposition of democracy through external intervention almost always proves to be a challenging undertaking, it is easy to see why the coalition decided to hand over power to Afghans at a very early stage after the intervention. However, the evidence suggests that the problematic situation on the ground necessitated a great deal more planning and long-term commitment than the Americans and their coalition partners were willing to offer. The fact that Afghanistan was always going to be an extremely challenging case appears to have led the Americans and their allies to implement a limited form of democracy. A brief review of the evidence suggests that, at best, the Bonn Agreement may have been intended to support the possibility of a democratic regime. Democracy may have been a desirable outcome, but the lack of resourcing, the inability of the regime to extend its effective reach beyond Kabul, and the failure to secure basic order essentially meant that the likelihood of such a regime emerging in the short or medium term was remote. In short, any requirement that the proposed government would have functioning democratic institutions might have been a bridge too far—at



least in the mind-sets of the Bush administration and its allies. Instead, the focus would be, then, on first, establishing stability as well as some degree of legitimacy and second, ensuring a reasonable level of representation among the societal groups. To a great extent, the context for American involvement was determined by what occurred during the process that led to the Bonn Agreement. It seems safe to say that in terms of its perspective regarding the political future for Afghanistan, the Agreement was designed to ensure that the intervention into Afghanistan and its subsequent occupation would not be seen as illegitimate. In my view, the Americans and their allies focused on the following five priorities, each of which they believed would enhance the legitimacy of the newly installed government. First, they placed a premium on securing order. Second, they believed that it was crucial to install an Afghan government that was represented by a wide range of ethnic and religious groups. Third, the coalition focused on leaving a “light footprint” by allowing the blueprint of the country to be determined by the new government rather than by the Americans and their allies. Fourth, the intervention was to be a multilateral affair rather than an American-only one. Finally, the administration believed that a return to quick Afghan control was essential. The intervention and the decision to quickly transfer power to an Afghan government was intended to lead the international community to view it as a comparatively light-handed way of intervening in the affairs of the other country. However, while this type of approach may have gained a good deal of approval from external stakeholders, it is much harder to argue that it brought about a legitimate regime in the eyes of Afghans themselves. As discussed above, legitimacy, broad representation, and self-rule were prioritized in the hope that a fully democratic regime might emerge after the early planned withdrawal of coalition forces. Sherman (2008) argues, however, that using legitimacy as a substitute for democracy was not going to fool anyone inside the country: There was clearly an effort to install a regime that had legitimacy. It may have looked legitimate from the outside—based on the representation of different groups—Islamists, modernizers, monarchists, and republicans— but it didn’t appear that way from the inside. (319)

This internal legitimacy deficit is due to what the then-Senior Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General, Ghassan Salame, terms the “dual


legitimacy problem of state formation” (in Rubin 2013, 183). Salame argues that external actors will only view regimes as being legitimate if they are not seen as “failed states.” Guided by this mind-set, the Americans envisioned a newly formed Afghan government that would have control over its territory and population. This logic makes a great deal of sense, as it is difficult to argue that a state can be a meaningful actor if it cannot provide for stability and security. However, as long as Afghanistan’s citizens did not perceive their government as being run by Afghans for Afghans in pursuit of nationally determined goals, the new regime would not enjoy a high degree of internal legitimacy. By this logic, the lack of focus on creating democratic processes detracted from a sense of internal legitimacy because the Afghan people perceived their leaders as having been selected by external actors. Rubin illustrates the inherent difficulty that the Americans faced in their efforts to secure both internal legitimacy and a high degree of stability: Participants in peacebuilding or stabilization operations attempt to use foreign resources…to build an acceptable state in areas that pose a perceived threat to powerful actors… these operations aim at building states, sometimes after a transitional stage of international administration or occupation. They aim to make such states more effective agents of control over their own territories and population. To what extent [do] states exercise this control as sovereigns, in service of nationally determined goals, and to what extent [are they] agents of externally defined interests? (ibid., 183)

At the risk of oversimplification, I will suggest that there are three important areas in which America failed in its efforts to successfully establish a democratic regime. The first failure was to bypass the Bonn Agreement process, which was squarely focused on “democracy as democracy,” in favor of a more modest “democracy as process” approach to rebuilding Afghanistan. At Bonn, the clear focus was on establishing free and fair elections in twoand-one-half years. However, as international pressure (from donors and NATO) for more stability grew, the goal of democracy in the short term was pushed aside. It may not have been reasonable to establish democracy in such a short time because of the necessity to establish security first. Rubin argues that the short time frame for free and fair elections “could hardly suffice to turn a failed state into a stable democracy”



(ibid., 149). As Sherman (2008) says, “the focus on human rights and democracy so prominent in the early days was eclipsed by security and anti-terrorism (320).” In the final analysis, the Afghan people did not fail to observe that the Americans made promises of democracy and then promptly ignored them. A second way in which the Bush administration failed in its attempts to install democracy was that it did not focus its efforts on returning the country to self-rule. Before the invasion, very few parts of the government bureaucracy were in operation, primarily due to decades of civil conflict. Therefore, while the USA and the international community pledged to support the new Afghan government at the Bonn Agreement, they expressed disdain for the type of direct rule that had been the case in Kosovo a few years earlier (Dobbins et al. 2003, 130). This emphasis on self-rule, although driven by the desire for a quick handover of power, was expected to increase legitimacy for the new regime. However, engendering a high level of early self-governance would have required significant resources to establish and strengthen the new Afghan government. Dobbins et al. claim that the type and amount of aid given did not help to achieve this goal: “Unfortunately, the international resources available to build Afghan institutions for governance were also modest, at least compared to the amounts made available to Bosnia and Kosovo several years earlier” (ibid., 131). Sherman (2008) highlights the inevitable result of this lack of funding: “Many ministries were extremely weak. The ministry of finance was strong, but a weak civil service, with limited authority outside Kabul” (307). Therefore, the strategy of simultaneously keeping a “light footprint” in Afghanistan and allocating so few funds for the country’s postwar reconstruction does not appear to be a realistic one. Thus, even if we do accept the problematic premise that the Americans sought legitimacy in the short term (i.e., a hands-off strategy in which a broadly representative form of government would be established following by a quick handover to Afghans) as a substitute for true democratic institutions, efforts to build a functioning government still appear to fall short. The coalition had created networks for security and governance. However, lack of money and trained personnel, failure to extend the government’s reach beyond Kabul, and the failure to institute even a reasonable degree of security means that the Karzai regime and its


successors were not able to provide for effective rule of law and effective governance. It seems clear that the coalition was not willing to spend the political and economic capital required for the type of long-term involvement in Afghanistan that could prepare the country for effective local governance. In some sense, given the failure to provide adequate resources for state-building meant that this outcome appeared to be largely inevitable, and it is hard to fathom how the Americans could not have foreseen this outcome given the mismatch between the desired outcome and the resources and efforts expended to establish it. The third way in which the project of bringing democracy to Afghanistan fell short is that it suffered from design flaws, or, alternatively, a lack of conscious design. One criticism is that USAID (the primary source of democracy funding in the American government) used a “cookiecutter” approach to Afghanistan’s democratization plan. In an article in Democratization (2010), Matthew Alan Hill argues that USAID’s democracy promotion plan is “the same across different states, and … fails to take into account the unique structural and normative conditions of the state and society” in plans for democratization. He supports his argument by citing a former senior USAID official who argues that although the country was in a “war environment” and there is “no semblance of a national state,” the strategy for democratization is the same as for other states (101). Moreover, Hill argues that the USAID approach to democracybuilding fails to design projects and programs through immediate and constant engagement with the community at a grassroots level. Rather, a top-down strategy is developed in the capital and executed in the same way as in other USAID cases (ibid., 102). As such, the democratization strategy in Afghanistan was the same as it was in Bosnia, despite the fact that one country was being reconstructed whereas the other is essentially being constructed for the first time. According to Hill, this top-down, one-size-fits-all blueprint to democracy in Afghanistan failed because “warlords take over the institutions that are being developed because they have the power” (ibid., 104). The implication is that poorly fitting plans for developing democracy are too easily hijacked by powerful domestic actors. Grimm (2010) points out another potential design problem—that the actors that intervened in Afghanistan focused on delivering democracy-like



features, without necessarily allowing for the type of democratic participation to which Westerners are accustomed. For instance, Grimm argues, individuals received the right to vote, but not the information necessary to know what candidates stand for (11). Another example is that while the Bonn Agreement included de jure political rights such as freedom of expression and press, the government was allowed to limit them when “public morality” could present a danger. In addition, under pressure from Karzai, political parties would not be accepted as a form of aggregate political preference (3). So while certain features of democracy are present, the context is nothing like that one might see in a pluralist, Western democracy. Thus, in the name of expediency, the Bonn Agreement may have delivered a system that has the trappings of democracy but does not allow for the actual direct election of leaders, media criticism, accountability on the part of key actors, and other features that are integral to a functioning democracy. According to Grimm: The US strategy to prioritize the ‘war on terror’ instead of a suitable state-building only worsened the situation…the well-intentioned idea of democratization was followed by a more or less authoritarian implementation not tolerated by local actors. (ibid., 16)

When the plan failed, Grimm argues, the Afghan people made the young democratic institutions “responsible for the inability of external and internal actors to achieve security, for the lack of socioeconomic improvements, and for widespread corruption. This loss of legitimacy only encouraged anti-government radicalism” (ibid., 18). Niland (2014) claims that the desire to design an expedient strategy led to, a “foundational flaw” of: Returning a discredited warlord to power with impunity, marginalizing of certain groups (including remnants of the Taliban), and concentration of power in the executive at the expense of a weak parliament. (5)

The author argues that power was in the hands of people who had been so unpopular in the 1990s that they gave rise to the Taliban. Moreover, power was extremely streamlined, as there was:

82  S. WALKER Almost no separation of powers, so few civil servants were non-partisan. Concentration of power and sidelining of parliament—[Karzai] could use decrees on those few occasions where they stood in his way. (6)

In short, I suggest that there are two ways to view the Afghanistan intervention as a democracy-building exercise: a forgiving perspective and a not-so-forgiving one. On the one hand, it was obviously a tough case, and the Americans and their international colleagues might have struggled to succeed regardless of which strategy that they chose to adopt. On the other hand, it is still fair to ask the question of whether the allies did the best job that they could have reasonably done to create and execute a project designed to lead to democracy. An examination of America’s actions regarding the push for the reconstruction and democratization of the country reveals that democracy was perhaps hindered as much as promoted by the Bonn Process and what followed. As mentioned above, Afghanistan was always going to be a difficult case of democratization, and therefore prospects for success may have not been particularly promising. However, what appeared to creep into the mind-set of the Americans as a result, was the idea that rather than being “good enough,” the occupation only needed to be “Afghan good enough” (Cooper and Shanker 2012). In other words, critics argued that America began to believe that installing democracy-like elements could effectively replace actual elements of democracy: “institutionbuilding,” “accountability,” “good governance” have become the buzz­ words rather than those actions that would lead to a government that is directly accountable to the people. In summary, the American occupation’s modus operandi was to quickly establish order and the first semblances of democracy (e.g., good governance, order, “rule of law”). These did not take hold early, however, as it was quite obvious that the coalition had handed power to a set of local actors who not only were not democratically appointed but had in many cases become powerful through illicit means or by virtue of being warlords. There was also the problem of trying to build a democracy while also attempting to build a “nation” where it was not at all clear what that nation would be like (Muslim or secular; Pashtun or multiethnic). In light of these facts, one wonders whether the real question was not whether America desired democracy in Afghanistan, but whether it thought that it had any real chance of succeeding in successfully installing a democratic regime.



References BBC. 2008. “Afghanistan’s Turbulent History.” November 21. http://news. Brown, Seyom. 2015. Faces of Power: Constancy and Change in United States Foreign Policy from Truman to Obama. New York: Colombia University Press. Bush, George W. 2001. “Presidential Address to the Nation.” October 7. Cooper, Helene, and Thom Shanker. 2012. “U.S. Redefines Afghan Success Before Conference.” New York Times, May 17. https://www.nytimes. com/2012/05/18/world/asia/us-redefines-afghan-success-before-conference.html. Dobbins, James, John G. McGinn, Keith Crane, Seth G. Jones, Rollie Lal, Andrew Rathmell, Rachel Swanger, and Anga Timilsina. 2003. America’s Role in Nation Building: From Germany to Iraq. Washington, DC: RAND. Freedom House. 2018. Freedom in the World 2018. report/freedom-world/2018/afghanistan. Fukuyama, Francis, and Michael McFaul. 2008. “Should Democracy Be Promoted or Demoted?” The Washington Quarterly 31 (1) (Winter): 23–45. Gaddis, John Lewis. 2005. “Grand Strategy in the Second Term.” Foreign Affairs 84 (2): 2–15. Grimm, Sonja. 2010. “Don’t Do It Again. Recalibrating the Agenda of Democracy Promotion After Failed Democracy Imposition in Afghanistan and Iraq.” International Studies Association Annual Conference, New Orleans. Hill, Matthew Alan. 2010. “Exploring USAID’s Democracy Promotion in Bosnia and Afghanistan: A ‘Cookie-Cutter Approach’?” Democratization 1: 98–124. Jones, Seth. 2009. In the Graveyard of Empires. New York: W. W. Norton. Jones, Toby Craig. 2012. “America, Oil, and War in the Middle East.” Journal of American History 99 (June): 208–18. jas045. Mearsheimer, John J. 2011. “Imperial by Design.” The National Interest 111 (January/February): 16–34. New York Times. 2002. “Afghanistan’s Marshall Plan.” April 19. www.nytimes. com/2002/4/19/opinion/afghanistan-s-marshall-plan.html. Niland, Norah. 2014. “Democratic Aspirations and Destabilizing Outcomes in Afghanistan.” Providence, Rhode Island. O’Connor, Tom. 2017. “US Wars in the Middle East Were Not Supposed to Bring Democracy, Condoleezza Rice Says.” Newsweek, May. Ponzio, Richard J. 2011. Democratic Authority and Rule of Law Formation in Afghanistan During and After the Bonn Agreement Period. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Reynolds, Maura. 2007. “Interview with Joseph Nye.” Baltimore Sun, November 1.

84  S. WALKER Rubin, Barnett R. 2013. Afghanistan in the Post-Cold War Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Santos, Maria Helena de Castro, and Ulyses Tavares Teixeira. 2013. “The Essential Role of Democracy in the Bush Doctrine: The Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Revista Brasileira de Poitica Internacional 56 (2): 131–56. Sherman, Jake. 2008. “Afghanistan: Nationally Led Statebuilding.” In Building States to Build Peace, edited by Charles C. Call, 303–34. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. Stewart, Richard W. 2002. The United States Army in Afghanistan: Operation Enduring Freedom. Washington, DC: Operation Enduring Freedom. https:// United Nations. 2001. “Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan Pending the Re-Establishment of Permanent Government Institutions.”



Abstract  The chapter focuses on the American-led coalition’s 2003 invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The first part of the chapter outlines the major developments and American actions before and during the invasion. The second part assesses the degree to which the intervention was truly focused on delivering a democratic outcome. It first focuses on the role that democracy played in the decision to intervene. Subsequently, it examines the actions of the Bush administration in the aftermath of the intervention in order to identify the degree to which these actions were focused on establishing democracy. Keywords  Iraq USA

· Intervention · Saddam Hussein · Democracy · Bush · 1   Intervention History

Few recent events have received more attention from historians and social scientists than the build-up to and subsequent events of the Iraq invasion of 2003. There is not significant space in this section to substantially build on the academic literature on this topic. Instead, I provide a summary of the events leading up to the intervention; much more thorough accounts are available elsewhere.1 The context of the invasion is not particularly difficult to summarize. Dobbins et al. describe the lead-up to the military action in Iraq (2003): © The Author(s) 2019 S. Walker, American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II,


86  S. WALKER In March 2003, a US-led force invaded Iraq with the explicit aim of toppling the regime of Saddam Hussein. The rationale for the operation was that regime change provided the only sure means of disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction. At the same time, the United States Administration argued that the construction of a stable and democratic Iraq would promote reform and, hence, security in the Middle East. Having secured support from the veto-holding members of the UN Security Council, the US and British Governments claimed authority for the operation under UNSCR 1441, which stated that Iraq was “in material breach of resolution 678 of 1990” and therefore was obligated to cooperate with inspections or, after this “final opportunity,” face serious consequences. (167)

The factual details of the account above are not in dispute. However, the precise motivations for the American decision to invade Iraq have very much been a subject of discussion. Numerous motives have been identified as possible key motivating factors in Bush’s decision. In terms of the precise trigger, the official justification of the American and British governments related to the presence (or likely advanced development) of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, which they argued presented an imminent threat to world peace. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair claims that the final straw was Saddam Hussein’s failure to eliminate these categories of weapons (The Guardian 2016). Another contributing factor to the decision to invade may have been the desire to push for regime change in Iraq as a part of the “War on Terror.” The Bush administration maintained that a relationship had existed between Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi leader for more than a decade. While links between Iraq and the September 11 terror attacks were difficult to prove, the Bush administration continued to link Saddam Hussein to biological terrorism. Moreover, although UN efforts to identify weapons of mass destruction found little evidence that Iraq had resumed its chemical and nuclear weapons programs, the country was also slow to cooperate. How did the Bush administration develop the consensus for action? Clearly, the president did not have a politically viable rationale for invading Iraq before the September 11 attacks. According to Kupchan (2003), this critical moment resulted in a convergence of opinion among ­political and military elites surrounding the White House: “The neoconservative agenda and the hawkish, traditional agenda intersected” (35).



The result was a coalescence in the Bush administration around a “National Security Strategy” that the president presented to Congress in September 2002 (ibid., 36). Under pressure, Iraq agreed to undergo inspections in September of 2002. In December of that year, Iraq delivered a “huge cache” of documents to the United Nations (CNN 2018). However, according to Keegan (2004), it quickly became apparent that compliance with inspections could take many years: Given the size of Iraq relative to the inspection teams and the very small compass of any hiding space in which forbidden weapons would be concealed. Saddam appeared to be aware of this fact when handing over the files. On December 19, a frustrated Bush administration declared Iraq to be in material breach of Resolution 1441. (112)

In early 2003, the USA pushed for action in the United Nations, but it became clear that the Americans could not convince key allies such as Denmark, Japan, and Spain to support the authorization of the use of force to ensure Saddam’s compliance (Bush 2003b). The Americans also failed to gain support from France, whose leader, Jacques Chirac, had engaged in dealings with the Iraqi government, or Germany, whose Social Democratic Chancellor was generally hostile to Bush’s foreign policy aims. Although Saudi Arabia and Turkey refused to serve as launching grounds for an invasion, Kuwait agreed to host it at the eleventh hour (Keegan 2004, 100). In March 2003, during the final, frantic moments before the invasion, Saddam’s administration tried frantically to appease the Bush administration by offering measures such as prompt elections and allowing American troops to search for banned weapons (Borger et al. 2003). These offers, delivered through back channels such as the Syrians and the Germans, did not make it to the top level, as the White House appeared to be willing to agree to nothing short of full compliance with UN resolution 1441. Before the invasion, Bush repeatedly claimed that the USA was willing to act in response to Iraq’s failure to fully comply with the demands to comply with this resolution: “Saddam Hussein must understand that if he does not disarm, for the sake of peace, we, along with others, will go disarm Saddam Hussein” (https://www.theguardian. com/world/2002/oct/07/usa.iraq).


The Bush administration offered two primary rationales for the intervention: The supposed fact that Saddam’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction and the claim of a link between Iraq and terrorist activity. Ambrose and Douglas Brinkley (2011) describe how the Bush administration attempted to link Saddam Hussein’s regime to both terrorism and nuclear weapons: The UN report released on January 27th contended that Iraq’s weapons program was inert, if not totally dead. The conclusion, however, did not satisfy the Bush administration. The next day, the president spoke to the nation in his State of the Union address and delivered stunning revelation. “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa,” he said. The evidence that Iraq was indeed in the market for the ingredients of nuclear production changed the minds of many Americans, who had been wavering about whether a war with Iraq made sense. A week later at the United Nations, Powell appeared and “was a convincing witness as he underscored the president’s frightening assertion that Hussein had attempted to buy specialized aluminum tubes suitable for weapons productions. He also reiterated that Iraq was harboring a ‘deadly terrorist network’ headed by bin Laden collaborator Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.” (492)

On March 17, Bush issued a final ultimatum to Hussein demanding his resignation. The invasion of Iraq was preceded by a massive build-up of American forces in Kuwait, where over 170,000 American troops had assembled by early March (Keegan 2004, 116). Two days later, a coalition of troops primarily from the USA and the UK, with support from Australia and Poland, began Operation Iraqi Freedom, designed to depose Saddam’s Ba’athist government. The stated purpose of the intervention, according to President Bush, was “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people” (Bush 2003a). Once the fighting began, CIA Special Activities Division (SAD) officers were able to convince key Iraqi army officials to surrender their units or not to oppose the invasion. While the brunt of the invasion came from the south, SAD and special forces joined with Kurdish Peshmerga troops to launch a second, northern offensive (Woodward 2004, 45). Given the overwhelming technological, and mobility (though not always numerical) advantages of the invading force, it should not be



surprising that the coalition managed to completely defeat Iraq’s military within three weeks. It was clear, Stansfield (2007) argues that Saddam’s military strength was “a shadow of what it had been in 1991” (191). On April 9, the Coalition formally occupied Baghdad (Farrell 2008). However, rather than bringing about calm, the fall of Saddam Hussein led to an outbreak of sectarian violence throughout the country. Clean-up operations commenced, and on April 15, American troops took control of Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit (Spillius 2003). On May 1, President Bush gave a speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln declaring the end of major combat operations. A banner in the background proclaimed, “Mission Accomplished.” Any discussion of the details of the ensuing occupation must be prefaced by an acknowledgment that many in the American government appeared to genuinely believe that a transition to democracy would be short and smooth. Rieff (2005) argues that “the Pentagon’s plan for Iraq seems to have hinged…on the idea that [aforementioned Iraqi expatriate] Chalabi could be dropped into Baghdad and, once there, effect a smooth transition to a new administration” (23). The reality of post-Ba’athist Iraq turned out to be much different, of course. Rather than transitioning smoothly toward a unified, democratic state, “long subdued socio-political forces previously cowed by the combined effects of state patronage and coercion erupted across Iraq” (Stansfield 2007, 166). Initially, the American official put in charge of running the post-invasion Iraq was General Jay Garner, who had previously headed the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (Morgan 2003). Garner was tasked with leading the Organization for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (OCHRA) for Iraq, an intermediary government, until the country could be handed over to local rule (Stansfield 2007, 167). Garner hosted a conference in Nasiriyah on April 15, 2003, that was intended to spell out the future of the country. He subsequently developed a plan to hand over power to a civilian group within ninety days. Garner initially decided that the initial governing group consist of five leaders from different sectors of society. According to Garner himself, his role as director of the OHRA was only meant to be temporary. The reality was, however, that Garner only had a few weeks to develop a postwar plan for the country. He learned almost immediately upon arrival in Baghdad that Paul Bremer would soon replace him: “So that was that.


Essentially, I guess the first day I got to Baghdad, I was a lame duck” (PBS 2006). Thus, rather than proceeding to hold planned elections at the end of 2004, the entire transition process was scrapped, and Garner was replaced by Paul Bremer as head of the OHRA’s replacement, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). The precise reason why the Bush administration removed Garner was never announced, but his relatively forgiving approach toward rank-and-file Ba’athist party members and his desire to push for quick elections surely were not in line with those of some highly influential actors in the Bush administration (Goldschmidt and Davidson 2010, 438). According to Stansfield (2007), Bremer was given “far more power than Garner was allowed” and “used it willingly” (189). Among Bremer’s first and most notable decrees were CPA Order Number 1, which banned the Ba’ath party in all forms, and CPA Order Number 2, which dismantled the Iraqi. With these two orders, Bremer managed to purge 100,000 individuals from the new Iraqi administration and push approximately 350,000 Iraq soldiers into unemployment (Dobbins 2009, 139). Essentially, Bremer succeeded in taking apart the Iraqi state apparatus. Bremer proceeded to form a Leadership Council, which included only token representation for the Sunni majority. The next step was the creation of a 25-member Iraqi Governing Council on July 13, which consisted of thirteen Shi’a, five Kurds, five Sunnis, one Assyrian, and one Turkmen. The fact that representatives were chosen primarily along ethnic rather than ideological lines should make it no surprise that subsequent political events in Iraq mainly revolved around the former rather than the latter (Phillips 2006, 171). In June of 2004, power was officially transferred to the Interim Iraqi Government led by Ayad Allawi, a moderate Shi’a and friend of Bremer known to be friendly to Washington. Bremer believed that Allawi would be capable of clamping down on resistance. This body controlled the country until January 2005, but it was seen very much as mostly subservient to American interests as its leaders were chosen by the CPA (Muttitt 2011, 126). The first major task of the Interim Government was to approve an interim constitution that would come to be known as the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL). Coming into effect on June 28, 2004, the TAL itself had been drafted by a ten-person team appointed by the



USA Government in consultation with the United Nations. It provided for elections in January 2005 and enumerated several rights for Iraqis, including equality under the law, freedom of religion, right to free speech and private property, freedom of the press, and freedom from torture and cruel and unusual punishment. The TAL paved the way for three separate branches of government (with a series of checks and balances), including an elected assembly, a President and Presidency council, and a Supreme Court. In the parliamentary elections held on January 30, 2005, the United Iraqi Alliance, backed by Shi’a leader Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, won a plurality of the votes (48%), followed by the Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan (26%) and Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s Iraqi List (14%). Sunni participation in the elections was very light, and the largest Sunni party received less than 2% of the vote. Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had warned Iraqis not to go to the polls, and numerous armed attacks were directed at polling places. Forty-four people were killed across the country on the day of the election (Anderson and Stansfield 2004, 7). The cabinet that resulted from the January elections had very little representation from the majority Sunni population, instead favoring Shi’a and Kurds. The post of president went to a prominent Kurd, Jalal Talabani, while the leader of the Da’wa Shiite movement, Ibrahim al-Ja’afari, was given the powerful prime minister position (New York Times 2005a). The parliament spent the next several months deliberating on a constitution that would be voted on in a referendum. Despite a promise to develop a constitution based on consensus, the Shi’a and Kurds ultimately approved a referendum to be held on October 15, 2005. The referendum passed, despite its overwhelming rejection in Sunni areas and a dispute over the vote count in Ninevah governorate, where rejection by a two-thirds majority would potentially have defeated the referendum (Stansfield 2007, 186). The constitution reaffirmed much of what had been outlined in the TAL the previous year. Iraq was to be a democratic and officially Muslim country that would allow for freedom of religion. The document also outlined a substantial number of freedoms and rights, from universal health care and a minimum wage to private property and the right to free association (New York Times 2005b).


Another nationwide vote ensued in December to elect a full set of 275 parliamentarians. The polling ended in with a similar vote pattern to the January round. After a four-month period of instability and uncertainty, Nouri Al-Maliki, a Shi’a leader, was appointed as Prime Minister. However, while an Iraqi government was now in place, American involvement had by no means ended. Like Afghanistan, Iraq’s political situation is, at best, a work in progress. It is classified as “not free” in terms of both political rights and civil liberties according to the most recent Freedom House report. It does perform slightly better than Afghanistan in the narrow category of electoral process (in particular, elections for the 328-member Council of Representatives are “competitive and relatively well-administered” and people are generally free to join parties and participate in politics). However, broadly speaking, the country is not performing well most Freedom House measures, with the rule of law being a particularly egregious area of concern (2018).

2  Was It an FD Intervention? 2.1   Democratic Intent There is no shortage of discussion of America’s motives behind the Iraq War and subsequent occupation of the country. Beyond the official reasons—supposed presence of weapons of mass destruction and the Iraqi regime’s alleged connections to terrorism—are a significant number of other supposed factors that have been linked to the American decision to invade. These include, but are not limited to: enhancing American military and economic primacy in the Middle East, personal antagonism between the Bush family and Saddam Hussein, securing oil fields (and in the process succeeding in freezing out countries on better terms with Saddam, such as the French), and, of course, invading the country as part of a “neoconservative” agenda to spread democracy in a hostile region of the world. The primary purpose of this section is to identify the role that democracy played in dictating American foreign policy actions in Iraq. However, this is a difficult task, as there is a very crowded field of competing motivating factors that were potentially at the heart of the decision. In addition, the role of democracy in the decision is one that the



Bush administration discussed a great deal after the invasion, but not before it. The first official reason for initiating the Iraq War was the ostensible presence, or advanced development of, weapons of mass destruction in the country. In October 2002, Bush explicitly obtained carte blanche for the Iraq invasion by securing a joint resolution of Congress known as the Iraq Resolution. Despite the misgivings of many actors in the American government, both Bush and Blair continued to insist that Iraq was not in compliance with various UN Security Council Resolutions relating to its weapons programs (including Resolutions 678 and 687). On January 31, 2003, George Bush said. “Saddam Hussein must understand that if he does not disarm, for the sake of peace, we, along with others, will go disarm Saddam Hussein” (New York Times 2002). A week later, Secretary of State Colin Powell presented evidence of Saddam’s supposed concealment of “efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction” to the United Nations Security Council. So, what was the actual role of the WMDs? One might be tempted to argue that since evidence of an advanced weapons program was never found, the need to disarm Saddam could not have been a motivation for the intervention. Possibly the best face one might put on this argument is to stick to the uncertainty argument. Saddam had indeed been pursuing an active WMD program before the 1991 invasion, and therefore one might argue that the Americans could never be 100% certain of that he was not repeating the program he had in place before the 1991 Gulf War unless they intervened. Thus, the Bush administration admitted after the war that Saddam Hussein did not possess the WMDs that it claims to have believed it did. Likewise, the second officially stated reason for the invasion, the relationship of Saddam’s regime to terrorist movements—Al-Qaeda in particular—also quickly fell apart soon after the war started (Smith 2007). Several government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), reported in the months after the invasion that they had found no evidence that Iraq had been offering safe haven to terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. These findings contradicted pre-war reports generated by Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith that had been used as justifications for the war (Central Intelligence Agency 2002). With the acknowledgment that the American government was not acting upon clear evidence for either the presence of WMDs or a link to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in March of 2003, one


should perhaps decide for oneself what precise mix of poor intelligence, paranoia, or public relations accounted for all the Bush administration’s bluster about WMD before the Iraq War. In a mid-2003 interview, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz appeared to side with the latter position: “For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue— weapons of mass destruction—because it was the one reason everyone could agree on” (CNN 2003). Another commonly suggested rationale for the war relates to oil. It has almost become commonplace to claim that the Iraq War was, at its heart, about securing Iraq’s vast oil wealth for American oil companies. For their parts, Both Bush and Blair have denied that the Iraq War was related to oil in any way. In fact, on February 6, 2003, Blair went as far as to label such claims as part of a “conspiracy theory” (BBC 2003). Conspiracy or not, it cannot be denied that the Bush administration had close ties to the oil industry. While there is no smoking gun, there will nonetheless always be speculation about such links. Oil is a central part of Iraq’s economy and its political landscape. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq was closed to oil exploration and development. If one adds those two facts together, it is difficult to ignore the role of oil completely. Several influential American Iraq War-era figures also claim that oil was a primary factor for the invasion. CNN points out that Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan claimed that “the Iraq war is largely about oil” and Former Senator and Secretary Chuck Hagel said “People say we’re not fighting for oil. Of course we are” (Juhasz 2013). However, despite a good deal of lobbying by American and British oil companies, it can never be proven that oil was the decisive factor in the invasion. What is certain is that after the invasion, many American firms ultimately benefited when it was time to divide up the oil fields. On the other hand, many Russian, French, and other non-American oil companies benefited well as well (Kramer 2011). While America’s desire to secure oil for itself has never been proven via a smoking gun, it nonetheless seems reasonably likely that America did plan to take oil away from Saddam to reduce his capacity to develop WMD’s. Prior to the war, the CIA saw Iraqi oil production and illicit oil sales as Iraq’s primary source of financing for developing its WMD capability. The CIA’s October 2002 unclassified white paper on “Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs,” states that “Iraq’s growing ability to sell oil illicitly increases Baghdad’s capabilities to finance WMD programs” (Central Intelligence Agency 2002).



While a narrow focus on the role of oil might not be the best single explanatory factor behind the Iraq invasion, it might be better to look at oil as being merely part of a larger picture. Several authors have focused on the fact that America was attempting to secure an economic and political base or beachhead in the region. Zunes (2003) argues that while sanctions might have helped to limit Iraq’s weapons development program, the country remained resistant to America’s neoliberal “Washington Consensus”-related policy directives, due in part to its large size, oil reserves, and adequate water supplies (103). Thus, a direct intervention was necessary to destroy Iraq’s foreign policy, incorporating it into Washington’s “strategic and economic agenda.” Zunes concludes that Washington was “determined to impose a new order whereby this important Middle Eastern county would have no choice but to play by US rules (ibid., 105).” The neoconservative movement had long pressed for American action in the region. As early as 1997 a group of prominent neoconservatives known collectively as the Project for the New American Century wrote: American forces, along with British and French units…represent the longterm commitment of the United States and its major allies to a region of vital importance. Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein. (Project for the New American Century 2000)

Beyond the well-publicized role of the neoconservatives, however, were other forces. Fallows (2006) also includes among the most ardent advocates of invasion several “liberal hawks,” who saw liberating the country as America’s responsibility, although they may not have shared the neoconservative belief that it was America’s mission to spread its ideology around the world. Thus, while geostrategic goals may have been paramount in the Iraq invasion, it could be helpful to look at what Masters (2014, 7) terms the Bush administration’s “liberal grand strategy” and the possible role that democracy might have played in that vision. Indeed, if the invasion were indeed part of a broader plan to establish a liberal beachhead in the region, the argument for the desire for democracy (if not necessarily the degree to which this desire was realistic) may seem a bit less far-fetched.


At least one principal figure in the Iraq War-era Bush administration lends support to the strategic argument. In an interview in Vanity Fair magazine, Paul Wolfowitz (the Undersecretary of Defense during the Iraq War) claims that Saddam’s supposed quest for WMDs was never the real cause for the invasion. Instead, it was that the Bush administration viewed itself as a protagonist in an epic struggle of good versus evil to reorder the Middle East (in Zunes 2003, 27). Bush’s statements in the months after the invasion of Iraq might lead one to believe that this was the case: Our mission in Iraq and Afghanistan is clear to our service members—and clear to our enemies. Our men and women are fighting to secure the freedom of more than 50 million people who recently lived under two of the cruelest dictatorships on earth. Our men and women are fighting to help democracy and peace and justice rise in a troubled and violent region. Our men and women are fighting terrorist enemies thousands of miles away in the heart and center of their power so that we do not face those enemies in the heart of America. (Bush 2003a)

Cramer and Duggan (2012) conclude, however, after an extensive review of archived Iraq War material, that there is no evidence of any discussion of democracy in pre-invasion Bush administration documents. Rather, the focus seemed to be on precluding “the possibility of an authoritarian regime starting a WMD program,” while “visions of actually spreading democracy are notably absent” (213). Although they admit that absence of evidence is not the same thing as evidence of absence, Cramer and Duggan argue that the sheer amount of archival material the authors found relating to selling the war to Congress and the public demonstrates that the desire to intervene long preceded the actual invasion. They point to evidence that Donald Rumsfeld, one of the architects of the intervention, had favored regime change as far back as 1998 as a member of the neoconservative group Project for the New American Century. Furthermore, they add, “It is clear that Rumsfeld was committed to an invasion but there is no significant evidence he was interested in a Wilsonian vision for the Middle East after 9/11. Rather, he favored a project to build ‘American primacy’” (ibid., 217). Likewise, Pelletiere (2004) argues that democracy only came into focus after the invasion:



The idea of diminishing the threat to America from ideologies originating in the Middle East by moving the politics of the region toward democracy, beginning in Iraq, had occurred to the Bush Administration before the weapons turned out not to exist. Some officials had been thinking and writing about it for years, and the president had sketched it out in a speech at the AEI a month before the invasion. But this was not the casus belli that the American people signed on for… so, the way the administration shifted the argument later on without ever admitting it had every appearance of a bait and switch. (395)

Fallows argues that the Bush administration sought to deflect criticism for the decision to invade by developing a concern for democracy in Iraq. As evidence, Fallows cites prominent Bush administration neoconservative Richard Perle, who argued that instead of a negative reaction to an American invasion, “it seems at least as likely…that Saddam’s replacement by a decent Iraqi regime would open the way to a far more stable and peaceful region. A democratic Iraq would be a powerful refutation of the patronizing view that Arabs are incapable of democracy” (in Fallows 2006, 9). One cannot deny that, at some level, democracy may have been one of the goals envisioned for Iraq by Bush or his inner circle. However, the type of democracy envisioned, and the steps that the administration believed were necessary to achieve that, were never spelled out. Democracy was something that would hopefully flower if other, more immediate goals fell into place. Thus, it appears that the two main sets of arguments suggest that the Iraq invasion was either a security-minded intervention or an attempt to establish American economic as well as ideological dominance to the region. Either way, the Bush administration did not appear to have a well thought out plan for how, if at all, democracy would evolve. To put the Iraq intervention into perspective, one needs to compare it to the American approach in Afghanistan. In the case of the former, the intervening powers appeared to rule out the possibility of a long-term occupation, ostensibly based on an acknowledgment of the factors hostile to the establishment of democracy. In Iraq, however, despite the presence of many of the same difficult challenges that it faced in the Afghan case, the Bush administration appeared to favor a long-term intervention without a realistic plan that acknowledged the significant obstacles involved. Democracy may indeed


have been, at a somewhat abstract level, a goal of the Iraq intervention. However, its successful establishment in Iraq was dependent upon several factors that the administration never incorporated into its reconstruction plans. It is possible to set up elections and establish political parties and rudimentary elements of civil society for a few million dollars in a couple of years. But it appears that after more than thirteen years, the Americans never were prepared to take the difficult road to establishing a fully functional democracy in Iraq. 2.2  Actions As I have already argued, scholars will probably never sort out exactly what the plan for democracy in Iraq actually looked like. This is made more difficult by the fact that it is not clear that there was ever a coherent plan for the invasion and occupation of the country. Despite a great amount of research and discussion before the invasion, in the case of Iraq, the Bush administration appeared to make decisions on a relatively ad hoc basis. What can be safely said is that from very early on in the occupation, the Americans and their allies appeared to have arrived at a consensus that focused on a long-term attempt to restructure the country. Exactly which elements took precedence over others within this strategy may still be unclear. Moreover, to my knowledge, no one has argued that democracy was an overriding concern. However, to the degree that it did play a part in this long-term approach to the country, the Bush administration hoped that a “new” Iraq would not only be secure and American-friendly but would fit into the global economy as well. While it may seem relatively non-controversial that enhancing America’s strategic goals was the paramount consideration, the exact mechanism by which the Americans wished to achieve them is unclear. Fallows (2006) argues that “Almost everything, good and bad, that has happened in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime was the subject of extensive pre-war discussion and analysis,” suggesting that planning an invasion is not the same thing as carrying one out. Thus, the exact place where democracy fit into this strategy is also, therefore, unclear. At first glance, the initial moments of the American occupation, led by Jay Garner, appeared to be focused on delivering a democratic government to the people of Iraq as soon as possible. However, even during the brief time (only a few days) Garner was in power, he already discovered that this would not be an easy task. Garner did, at least to some degree, prioritize the establishment a democratic regime controlled by Iraqis



as soon as practically possible. The “get out quick” approach favored by Garner bore many similarities to the strategy America had used in Afghanistan. Given the difficulties on the ground, the degree of realism in Garner’s strategy is debatable, but his vision was at least intended to quickly restore democracy and self-rule to the Iraqi people. The reality, however, as confirmed by Garner himself, is that he appears to have been an “interim” leader of the occupation. Although he was a long-time close associate of Donald Rumsfeld, Garner’s tenure as head of the occupation was doomed from the start, as he opposed both de-Ba’athification and dismantling of the Iraqi military. Allawi (2007) argues that Garner was never the real force in charge: Jay Garner was named the head of the OHRA before the war, and it was he who was appointed the task of setting up the new government. But, in practice, it was [Secretary of Defense] Donald Rumsfeld, [Deputy Secretary of Defense] Paul Wolfowitz and [Under Secretary of Defense] Douglas Feith who were given most of the authority to staff his command on the ground. (98)

While Garner had favored a large, trained security force on the ground to secure the country completely before dismantling the Iraqi army, Bremer believed that Iraq would stabilize when the remnants of the previous state were eliminated, and the Iraqi government had been recreated from scratch. While we will never know if Garner’s sensibilities were correct, Bremer’s approach was quite obviously one much less geared toward delivering democracy, at least in the short or medium term. American involvement would be a long process, and Iraq’s leaders would not be chosen directly by the people, at least at the beginning. In any case, when he took control of Iraq and was granted the power and status of a “viceroy,” Bremer must have been aware of the many obstacles to the development of a healthy democracy in the country. At the same time, there was a strong need to push for the appearance of democracy. Thus, the CPA painstakingly put together a plan to make sure that the new Iraqi regime would contain all of the trappings of a democratic polity; this meant not only the presence of elections, but civil society NGOs, independent media, and representation of a large number of groups in the government. Thus, the fact that Iraq, on paper, was going to have elements of democracy is not in question. What is in question is how significant those elements would turn out to be.

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Allawi argues that while the United States may have wanted to demonstrate that it was attempting to rebuild rather than to occupy Iraq and that in principle the Americans may have desired some sort of transition to a self-sufficient democracy, the Bush administration had no plan as to how to actually administer the country through this transitional process: The reality was that the Iraqi exiles had been concerned with the political arrangements and structure through which they would assume or inherit power, not with the actual task of running the country on a day-to-day basis. The detailed requirements for the transfer of control from centralized, dictatorial and perverse Ba’athist-led Iraq to an effective governing body had been left to the USA to consider. This, however, the superpower totally failed to address. (ibid., 97)

Bremer feared quick elections, it may be argued, based on a series of CPA memos that warned that elections could challenge its authority and would “largely sacrifice Coalition control over the outcome” (Pelletiere 2004, 95). However, he failed to anticipate the possible political reaction to delaying elections. So rather than allow for direct elections, the CPA appointed an advisory body of Iraqis carefully matched to represent various ethnic groups and to be friendly to American interests (ibid., 94). For any polity to effectively channel and articulate the diverse set of social interests, it is necessary to have effective representation through political parties. In the case of Iraq, the decision was made to focus representation on identity (religious, ethnic, gender) and creates a governing council that would represent the country based on the ascriptive (religious, regional, gender) characteristics of the council members rather than on other potential societal characteristics such as economic interests or political ideology. When the Iraqi Governing Council was unveiled on July 13, 2003, Bremer made the following statement on Iraqi television: It will represent the diversity of Iraq: whether you are Shiite or Sunni, Arab or Kurd, Baghdadi or Basrawi, man or woman, you will see yourself represented in this council. (Muttitt 2011, 77)

There were indeed all of those categories among the council’s members. It consisted of thirteen Shi’a Arabs, five Sunni Arabs, five Kurds, one Turkoman, and one Assyrian Christian. Three were also women. However, most of those chosen had little connection to their own



communities inside Iraq; instead, they were chosen because they were not hostile to American interests. Muttitt argues that this ethnic approach to representation (and, it appears, the American approach in general), did not go over well with the majority of Iraqis: In reality, notions of a pro-US Iraq, democratically governed by identity-based parties with a liberalized economy were explicitly opposed by most Iraqis. They also oppose the pro-Iraqi force of the use and its partners. A CPA poll in March 2004, for instance, found 81 percent of Iraqis wanted coalition forces to leave. (ibid., 121)

Thus, the constitutional process delivered a result that was nearly universally rejected by the Sunni majority. The exiles favored by the process relied almost exclusively on expatriates whose power bases were based on their favorable relationship with the American government rather than on any domestic constituency. Moreover, the document was more of an aspirational one than it was a tool that would empower the government to govern. Few exclusive powers were given to the proposed Iraqi government. For instance, a UN report decried the fact that the agreement did not include provisions for taxation, policing, or environmental regulation (ibid., 187). Contentious issues about the future of the country were merely “bracketed” rather than discussed. The result was a hollow document created without any real democratic input. On paper, the commitment to democracy was clear. Bremer announced at his first meeting as head of the CPA that “democracies don’t work unless the political structure rests on a solid civil society to protect the individual from the state’s raw power” (Early 2012). The problem, however, was that Bremer immediately set about to destroy all vestiges of any organization that had had previous ties to the regime. Civil society, rather than being something built from existing societal elements, would be built from scratch. Instead of relying on domestic forces to create non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Americans proceeded to directly manufacture their own organizations. NGO creation became a huge business in the first few years of the occupation of Iraq. In the first three years alone, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) distributed grants worth more than 300 million dollars for civil society organizations. Other programs were created, including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, partisan organizations

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that received funding from USAID and the US Department of State (NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq 2012). The failure to create a representative government or NGOs with indigenous origins or connections were not the only shortcomings of the constitutional process. Packer (2006) points to the fact that while the political developments were far-reaching and democratic on paper (including, a liberal bill of rights and a declaration that while Islam would be a state religion, the government would respect freedom of worship for all religions), they were developed almost entirely behind closed doors with almost no impact from anyone outside of the CPA (321). The Iraqi Governing had “no real authority,” and the interim law by which the country would be ruled was wholly a creation of the CPA. This meant that Iraqis viewed it as a foreign document: After the signing ceremony, the document was taken outside the Green zone and presented as a fait accompli to the Iraqi people, who knew nothing about any of it…not surprisingly, the sessions at which American and Iraqi officials tried to explain the law’s content and invited comment turned into angry denunciations. (ibid., 321)

Meanwhile, the insurgency grew, and predictions by Richard Perle, Chalabi, the Kurds, and others that Iraqis would embrace democracy did not come to pass. The Abu Ghraib scandal a few years later caused the Americans’ task to be much more difficult, both at home and abroad. Finally, rather than approach Iraq as a rebuilding situation, American forces “belatedly adopted a counterinsurgency strategy of protecting civilians while ruthless targeting jihadist leaders” (Ambrose and Brinkley 2011, 494).

Note 1. See, e.g., Dobbins et al. (2003), Clarke (2004), Keegan (2004), Fallows (2006), Dobbins (2009), and Muttitt (2011).

References Allawi, Ali A. 2007. The Occupation of Iraq: Winning the War, Losing the Peace. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Ambrose, Stephen E., and Douglas G. Brinkley. 2011. Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938. New York: Penguin Books.



Anderson, Liam, and Gareth Stansfield. 2004. The Future of Iraq: Dictatorship, Democracy or Division, 2nd ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. BBC. 2003. “Transcript of Blair’s Iraq Interview.” February 6. Borger, Julian, Brian Whitaker, and Vikram Dodd. 2003. “Saddam’s Desperate Efforts to Stave off War.” The Guardian, November 7. Bush, George W. 2003a. “President Discusses Beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.” 2003/03/20030322.html. ———. 2003b. “President Says Saddam Hussein Must Leave Iraq Within 48 Hours: Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation.” https:// Central Intelligence Agency. 2002. Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. Central Intelligence Agency. Clarke, Michael. 2004. “The Diplomacy That Led to War in Iraq.” In The Conflict in Iraq, 2003, edited by Paul Cornish. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. CNN. 2003. [Transcript] “Wolfowitz: WMD Chosen as Reason for Iraq War for ‘Bureaucratic Reasons.’” May 30. TRANSCRIPTS/0305/30/se.08.html. ———. 2018. “Iraq Weapons Inspections Fast Facts.” https://edition.cnn. com/2013/10/30/world/meast/iraq-weapons-inspections-fast-facts/index. html. Cramer, Jane K., and Edward C. Duggan. 2012. “In Pursuit of Primacy: Why the United States Invaded Iraq.” In Why Did the United States Invade Iraq?, edited by Jane K. Cramer and A. Trevor Thrall, 201–38. Abington, Oxon: Routledge. Dobbins, James. 2009. “Occupying Iraq: A Short History of the CPA.” Survival 51 (3): 131–62. Dobbins, James, John G. McGinn, Keith Crane, Seth G. Jones, Rollie Lal, Andrew Rathmell, Rachel Swanger, and Anga Timilsina. 2003. America’s Role in Nation Building: From Germany to Iraq. Santa Monica: RAND. Early, Steve. 2012. “Iraqi Labor Unions Still Struggling with U.S. Occupation’s Yoke.” Labornotes, August 21. iraqi-labor-unions-still-struggling-us-occupation%E2%80%99s-yoke. Fallows, James. 2006. Blind into Baghdad: America’s War in Iraq. New York: Vintage. Farrell, Stephen. 2008. “At War at War Notes from the Front Lines Baghdad, April 9, 2003: Fear, Euphoria and Hints of Things to Come.” March 18.

104  S. WALKER Freedom House. 2018. Freedom in the World 2018. report/freedom-world/2018/iraq. Goldschmidt, Arthur Jr., and Lawrence Davidson. 2010. A Concise History of the Middle East, 9th ed. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Harding, Luke. 2016. “Tony Blair Unrepentant as Chilcot Gives Crushing Iraq War Verdict.” The Guardian, July 6. uk-news/2016/jul/06/chilcot-report-crushing-verdict-tony-blair-iraq-war. Juhasz, Antonia. 2013. “Why the War in Iraq Was Fought for Big Oil.” CNN, March 19. Keegan, John. 2004. The Iraq War. London: Hutchinson. Kramer, Andrew E. 2011. “U.S. Companies Get Slice of Iraq’s Oil Pie.” New York Times, June 15. energy-environment/15iht-srerussia15.html. Kupchan, Charles A. 2003. The End of the America Era: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the Twenty-First Century. New York: Vintage. Masters. Daniel. 2014. “Rival Military Intervention: Prospects for Regime Change and Democracy in Target States.” In Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Seattle, WA. Morgan, Oliver. 2003. “US Arms Trader to Run Iraq.” The Guardian, March 30. Muttitt, Greg. 2011. Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq. London: The Bodley Head. New York Times. 2002. “President Bush’s Speech on the Use of Force.” October 8. New York Times. 2005a. “Iraq’s New President Names Shiite Leader as Prime Minister.” April 7. middleeast/iraqs-new-president-names-shiite-leader-as-prime.html. ———. 2005b. “Text of the Draft Iraqi Constitution.” August 24. https:// NGO Coordination Committee for Iraq. 2012. “Local NGOs Funding Dilemma.” Packer, George. 2006. The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. PBS. 2006. “Interview with Lt. General Jay Garner.” wgbh/pages/frontline/yeariniraq/interviews/garner.html. Pelletiere, Stephen. 2004. America’s Oil Wars. Westport, CT: Praeger. Phillips, David L. 2006. Losing Iraq: Inside the Postwar Reconstruction Fiasco. New York: Basic Books.



Project for the New American Century. 2000. “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.” AmericasDefenses/page/n0. Rieff, David. 2005. At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention. New York: Simon & Schuster. Smith, R. Jeffrey. 2007. “Hussein’s Pre-War Ties to Al Qaeda Discounted: Pentagon Reports Say Contacts Were Limited.” New York Times, April 6. AR2007040502263.html. Spillius, Alex. 2003. “The Fall of Tikrit Ends the War.” The Telegraph, April 15. Fall-of-Tikrit-ends-the-war.html. Stansfield, Gareth. 2007. Iraq. Cambridge: Polity Press. The Guardian. 2002. “Transcript: George Bush’s Speech on Iraq.” October 7. Woodward, Bob. 2004. No Title. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. Zunes, Stephen. 2003. “The U.S. Invasion of Iraq: The Military Side of Globalization.” Globalizations 6 (1): 99–105.


Understanding the Rationale for FD Interventions

Abstract  The final chapter focuses on the future of the FD strategy. The first part suggests that America will continue to intervene in the future in cases where it both possesses the physical capability (opportunity) and has the requisite desire (willingness) to force regime change in an autocratic state. The second part discusses whether normative or instrumental factors (or a mixture of both) are the primary drivers of the desire for America to engage in the FD strategy. The third part discusses the most prominent alternative options to the FD strategy that America can pursue to bring about regime change in an illiberal state, and concludes that the weakness of each of these strategies may make the FD option an attractive one in the future. Part four discusses the conditions under we might expect FD interventions to occur in the future. Finally, part five concludes that we cannot write off the possibility of future FD interventions, particularly during times when political conditions may make them more attractive. Keywords  Democracy Democracy assistance

· Intervention · USA · Sanctions · Foreign aid ·

© The Author(s) 2019 S. Walker, American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II,


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1   Introduction: Reconciling FD’s Poor Track Record with Its Continued Viability as a Strategy In this chapter, I argue that, despite the rather low likelihood of success of FD interventions, American leaders may nonetheless be tempted to use this strategy in certain instances. There are two reasons why this is likely to be true. First, both normative and instrumental factors can increase the appeal of FD as a means of promoting democracy in countries with recalcitrant autocratic regimes. Second, each of the principal alternative strategies that the USA can resort to when attempting to push for change in autocratic states has its own notable shortcomings. In other words, the ineffectiveness of competing democracy promotion strategies may help to make the FD strategy an appealing alternative. Despite its patchy track record, the FD option is likely to continue to be a viable one for American decision makers. While leaders are no doubt aware of the risky and often very costly nature of a military-backed push for democratic change, they may nonetheless find it to be an attractive choice in certain situations. In this chapter, I outline why I believe FD will persist as a policy option. The concepts of opportunity and willingness, outlined by Benjamin Most and Harvey Starr in their influential book, Inquiry, Logic, and International Politics (1989), can be useful to help identify key reasons why American leaders may consider employing the FD strategy in the future. The authors argue that states will decide to take a given action when their leaders have both sufficient opportunity and motivation to do so (19). So what do opportunity and willingness mean in the context of the decision to intervene militarily? According to the authors, opportunity is related to what they term the “objective environment” in which the state considering military intervention exists (ibid., 27). The international environment constrains most states from going to war with most other countries in the system because of “spatial and geographical factors,” the most powerful of which is geographic proximity. As the possibility of conflictual interaction between countries that are not close to one another is limited, there are few “opportunities for interaction” between most dyads (separate pairs of countries) in the world system (ibid., 30). Technology can play a critical role in expanding a country’s capability for war, as it can enable countries to “modify distance and other aspects of the physical opportunities presented by geography” (ibid., 31).



Unlike other countries, the USA possesses the technological capacity to initiate a war virtually anywhere in the world on short notice. With global interests and a military presence around the world, the “world’s only superpower” could conceivably encounter the possibility of conflict almost anywhere. This unique capability sets the USA apart from other countries in the world system. Most and Starr suggest that the ability to order food at a restaurant is a useful analogy for states considering the opportunity to go to war. It is not possible for an individual to order food if there is no restaurant available or if the individual is not allowed in the door. Just as some people would not be able to order food at a restaurant, the authors argue, so would many countries not be able to engage in a war. However, according to this logic, the USA would almost always find itself in a setting that would allow it to order from a conflict menu (ibid., 32). Using Most and Starr’s logic, could we say that the USA has the opportunity to intervene for the purpose of regime change in any country in the world? That is a more difficult proposition. While in many cases it would undoubtedly succeed over the short term, there are many practical challenges—financial, domestic public opinion, international public opinion, and logistical, for instance. These constraints make the actual decision to intervene, even for a superpower, much more complicated than merely calculating whether it could defeat and overthrow an existing regime. Willingness, the second concept discussed by Most and Starr, is a cognitive concept that signifies the degree to which a country possesses the desire to engage in warfare. The level of willingness depends upon the: Decision-maker’s image of the world, or definition of the situation. Willingness is intimately related to a decision maker’s calculations of advantage and disadvantage, of cost and benefit, that decision makers consider on both conscious and unconscious levels. Hence, willingness is related to…the idiosyncratic prism through which individuals process information about their environments. (ibid., 34)

Decision making thus incorporates not only a country’s own set of beliefs and values, but also how its leaders believe other actors will relate to the situation, and how these other actors “see their own behavior constrained within a broader environment” (ibid., 34). Most and Starr argue that countries are more willing to engage in war when other alternatives

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are “severely limited” or eliminated from the decision maker’s image of the situation or choice calculus. Willingness is thus more related to a leader’s perception of the situation than to an objective understanding of it. In short, opportunity describes the material, or objective, side of the decision-making equation, while willingness relates to the perceptual side, involving processes such as “displacement, defensiveness, prejudice, conformity, or obedience” (ibid., 34). Werner (1996) conceptualizes opportunity as a situation in which a potential imposer possesses enough power to defeat its rival in war. However, while the presence of opportunity alone is a necessary condition for the decision to impose, it is not a sufficient one. The potential intervener must also possess sufficient willingness to act. Although a country may be technically capable of invading a rival country and installing a new polity, it may not possess sufficient desire or motivation to engage in state-building (71). In general, one might argue, a state is willing to externally impose a polity in a rival country when it believes that the rival poses a significant threat to its security and that the best means of neutralizing the threat is polity imposition. However, states may be less willing to take action in cases where the threat from the rival is less potent. Russett (2005) argues that it is this combination of feasibility and sufficient interest that leads powerful liberal states to intervene in world affairs on a regular basis: One certain qualification is that major power democracies, by virtue of their widespread interests and intervention capabilities, are more likely than smaller ones to exhibit higher frequencies of international conflict. Moreover, if democracies are more successful in war than autocracies, by better mobilization of resources or soldierly initiative, then their success may prime them for further efforts to exert their military power. (397)

In the rest of this chapter, I present two suggestions for why we may expect a continued willingness on the part of American policymakers to engage in FD interventions in certain situations. First, both normative and instrumental factors may make this an attractive policy option. Second, the weakness of alternative policy options may make FD interventions appear to be relatively attractive in the eyes of American decision makers.



2  Motivations for FD Interventions Why would a country be motivated to use force to promote democracy? Wolff and Wurm (2011) outline two primary sets of motivations, instrumentalist and normative. One might argue that both sets of factors are influential in the decision-making calculus of American leaders. The first set of factors, termed instrumentalist (or rationalist), centers around the idea that: Democracy is promoted as long as it is seen, by decision-makers, as improving a country’s geostrategic situation in the long term, without having immediate negative effects on national security and the relative power position. (83)

The second set of motivations for democracy promotion is normative ones. According to Wolff and Wurm, the normative argument proposes that “democratic governments and societies have a ‘natural’ normative affinity to democratic (opposition) forces and movements in other countries – a moral impetus that suggests supporting them against oppressive governments” (ibid., 81). The authors also propose that “hybrid” models of foreign policy behavior, which combine normative and instrumental approaches, can also hold some explanatory power regarding democracy promotion decisions. I now discuss each of the three types of explanations: normative, instrumental and a mixture of normative and instrumental approaches. 2.1   Normative Concerns Normative rationales for foreign policy behavior assume that foreign policy behavior in international politics cannot be properly understood to be independent from their social context. Wolff and Wurm (2011) argue that states develop “national role conceptions” in which conceptualization of decision making fits “an actor-centered constructivism that emphasizes national self-images, roles and identities, and foreign policy cultures.” The norms that emerge are determined both by the “domestic cultural setting” and by the “international normative order” (82). A fundamental motivating factor for American democracy promotion arises, the normative perspective suggests, because the national role perception of the USA centers on its mission is to aid the global spread of

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democracy. Such a vision is closely tied to the liberal values that are at the heart of American political culture: Obviously, established democracies should be interested in enlarging the community of democratic states. On the other hand, democracy promotion is about spreading universally conceived values. Democracy promotion is then embedded in the democratic culture as the morally right thing to do, a liberal mission… In addition, this implies that democratic governments and societies have a ‘natural’ normative affinity to democratic (opposition) forces and movements in other countries – a moral impetus that suggests supporting them against oppressive governments. (ibid., 81)

This faith in the pacific nature of democracy is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. There are two primary pillars of this belief. The first pillar is the idea of the democratic peace; that is, countries that are democratic do not fight one another: Trade and globalization have reinforced the trend toward democracy, and democracies tend not to pick fights with each other. Thanks in part to globalization, almost two-thirds of the world’s countries today are democracies—a record high. Some studies have cast doubt on the idea that democracies are less likely to fight wars. While it’s true that democracies rarely if ever war with each other, it is not such a rare occurrence for democracies to engage in wars with non-democracies. We can still hope that as more countries turn to democracy, there will be fewer provocations for war by non-democracies. (Griswold 2007)

The second pillar is the deeply held belief that along with the establishment of democracy comes a series of beneficial effects such as economic prosperity and peace, and that each of these effects supports the others: Liberals see democratization in a mutually reinforcing relationship with other liberal values, such as economic interdependence and international law and organization. All of these, independently and together, strengthen international and domestic peace, in the liberal view. (Gleditsch et al. 2007, 8)

Peceny (1999) argues that liberal ideas are well established in American foreign policy since a robust subset of actors within the Congress is focused on achieving democratic and humanitarian goals abroad:



First, some actors in the policy process are motivated by their commitment to liberal ideals. These “liberal internationalists” have supported interventions that successfully promoted democracy and human rights. They have also launched principled challenges to U.S. military interventions when they believed these interventions undermined democracy, both at home and abroad. (383)

While expanding the community of democracies is generally considered to be a highly desirable goal in mainstream American (and Western) thought, it is also true that an inherent desire to promote liberal values can manifest itself in both aggressive and non-aggressive ways. Doyle (1986) suggests that one strain of liberalism is what he terms “liberal pacifism,” as outlined by Austrian political economist Joseph Schumpeter. According to Doyle, Schumpeter’s argument is predicated on the idea that the confluence of capitalism and democracy leads to public opposition to “war, expansion, [and] cabinet diplomacy.” Thus, by the logic of liberal pacifism, modern liberal democracies have developed strong anti-imperialistic tendencies (1153). Doyle contrasts liberal pacifism with liberal imperialism, a much more belligerent strain of liberalism based on the arguments of Machiavelli: Strength, and then imperial expansion, results from the way liberty encourages increased population and property, which grows when the citizens know their lives and goods are secure from arbitrary seizure. Free citizens equip large armies and provide soldiers who fight for public glory and the common good because they are, in fact, their own. (ibid., 1155)

Doyle also suggests the possibility that at least some democratic republics may currently possess liberal imperialist characteristics. He argues that the balance between the Machiavellian and Schumpeterian views of liberalism may depend on the degree to which democratic publics can restrain the aggressive or reckless aggressive tendencies of elites (ibid., 1155). According to Russett (2005), the aggressive tendencies of democracies periodically manifest themselves in the actions of American leaders. Russett argues that the script for such leaders is to “fight them, beat them, make them democratic,” and that the idea of forcing democracy through military intervention was undoubtedly one of the motivations behind the American decision to initiate the Iraq War (396).

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Gleditsch et al. (2007) note the inherent contradiction in forcing countries to become “democratic” against their own will: Democratic interventionism is, understandably, a deeply troubling ideology for many liberals. There is something inherently contradictory about forcing people to be free and fighting war to end war. (40)

However, the authors do not think that this apparent contradiction will dissuade democratic actors from pushing for democracy through military means: Apart from its other virtues, the continued spread of democracy is likely to reduce violence within and between nations. If a careful use of targeted violence against autocratic regimes could reduce genocide and politicide, decrease the risk of civil war, and promote international peace, it might be justified as a form of just war. (ibid., 40)

In recent years, a debate has emerged over the degree to which a consensus is emerging around whether the international community should take more direct action to enforce human rights norms in cases where states are seen as failing to fulfill their obligations in this area. Kegley and Hermann (1997) argue that many in the human rights community and the international legal community are increasingly issuing “demands for humanitarian intervention” (361). In short, Wolff and Wurm argue, while liberal states have long valued international norms of democracy and human rights in an abstract sense, they are facing increasing pressure to actively work to promote them (2011, 85). Scholarly research suggests that recent changes in what is seen as constituting a legitimate intervention may affect a leader’s attitude toward initiating regime change in an autocratic state. Peceny (1995) argues that since the Clinton administration, the push for “democratic enlargement” has intensified: “US policymakers adopt pro-liberalization policies because they are compelled to do so by a universally shared cultural bias in favour of democracy” (398). Talentino (2005) suggests that international norms are developed by a combination of “collectively shared expectations” and moral missions that become “embedded in a foreign policy culture” of a democratic state. They can thus contribute to what the author terms a “logic of



appropriateness.” The author further argues that norms surrounding the promotion of democracy have become so embedded over time that they are practically viewed as “binding” expectations by international actors (49). While normative factors may play a key role in determining the predispositions of policymakers toward aggressive democracy promotion, it is unlikely such factors alone will sway American leaders to intervene in an attempt to force democracy. To many, however, there is no inherent incompatibility between liberalism and military intervention if the latter can promote the values of the former. While much of America’s actual behavior depends upon geopolitical or domestic political realities unrelated to a concern for democracy, there is a strong underlying sense of a democratizing mission that runs strongly in American politics. At times, this feeling appears to make it favorably predisposed toward action. I now turn to the other set of factors that may contribute to a willingness to force democracy—instrumental or utilitarian factors. 2.2   Instrumental Factors The desire to promote democracy may also be driven by realist or geopolitical concerns. Bueno de Mesquita and Downs (2006) use the term “instrumental” to describe this set of motivations (631), while Wolff and Wurm (2011) use the word “utilitarian” to describe actions based on a desire to support “either security/power interests…or economic benefits” (79). According to the logic of an instrumental framework, leaders are rational and only wish to be reelected. Thus, their calculations regarding the political decision of whether to intervene are based almost exclusively on expectations of tangible benefits and costs (Ray 1995). At the heart of the instrumental perspective of foreign policy is a concern for security. Several scholars have focused on the link between security and democracy promotion. Meernik (1996), for instance, asserts that America’s use of force to promote democratic goals stems primarily from security interests (392). Similarly, Williams and Masters identify democracy promotion as a central security interest for the USA (2011, 21). To what degree might FD interventions be based on instrumentalist rationales? To begin with, it seems logical to assert that leaders are more likely to impose a polity in a state if the target regime poses a threat to their country’s interests.

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Owen (2002), for instance, argues that rational self-interest may motivate a country’s leaders to militarily intervene with the goal of regime change. During times of tension, the need for leaders to expand their state’s power interacts with their desire to keep or put ideological allies in power in the target state. Once a state decides to impose a polity, Owen argues, it is likely to impose institutions similar to its own in the target state. This may be an attractive possibility partly due to the fact that the imposer has extensive, first-hand knowledge of the imposed state’s institutional design (2002, 396). Bueno de Mesquita and Downs (2006) offer a similar rationale for American military intervention, but they infer that it is domestic political factors in the intervening country that determine which foreign policy goals are desirable. Democracy will be a desirable outcome in the target country when it provides sufficient benefits to the domestic political “winning coalition” in the intervening state. The authors suggest that in the case of a democratic intervener, these benefits usually involve public goods such as “security, trade, and access to resources.” Although the intervening country is itself democratic, the resulting government will take a democratic form only when that particular outcome is likely to increase the likelihood of survival of the intervening country’s leader (630). Likewise, Enterline and Greig (2008) suggest that intervening countries may choose to impose institutions that are compatible with their desired geopolitical outcomes, as doing so may eliminate the necessity of repeated interventions to maintain the newly imposed regime. If the USA is able to create a polity that will deliver consistent and desired outcomes, the short-term costs of intervention may be surpassed by the long-term benefits of dealing with a regime with similar interests (884). In short, all things being equal, it seems reasonable to argue that a democratic state would prefer that countries in which it intervenes should also have democratic institutions. That is not to say that the desire for democracy is a sufficient cause for the decision to intervene, but it makes sense to argue that one highly desirable outcome from such an action would be secure and stable democratic institutions in the target country. 2.3   A Mixture of Both Types of Factors Another possibility is that both normative and instrumental factors can play an important role in the decision to aggressively promote



democracy. Wolff and Wurm (2011) describe democracy promotion as being guided by both types of motivations: The normative explanation, on the one hand, simply reinforces the utilitarian argument in favor of democracy promotion: Obviously, established democracies should be interested in enlarging the community of democratic states. On the other hand, democracy promotion is about spreading uni-versally conceived values. Democracy promotion is then embedded in the democratic culture as the morally right thing to do, a liberal mission. In addition, this implies that democratic governments and societies have a ‘natural’ normative affinity to democratic (opposition) forces and movements in other countries – a moral impetus that suggests supporting them against oppressive governments. (81)

The reality is, of course, that it will never be possible to precisely establish the cases of intervention in which the USA was primarily motivated by normative concerns such as democracy and when it was primarily guided by utilitarian concerns. Gleditsch et al. (2007) argue: In any intervention carried out by a major power, it is difficult to distinguish between universalistic motivations like ‘promote democracy’ and self-interested motivations like saving US citizens, protecting United Fruit, or ensuring continued oil supplies. To some extent, the democratic peace blurs this distinction between universalism and self-interest. A leader of a democratic nation may argue that an autocratic state presents a danger, whereas a democracy would be able to live peacefully with other democratic states. Thus, the successful imposition of democracy is beneficial to national security. (15)

Wolff and Wurm (2011) argue that normative concerns are not likely to be subverted by utilitarian ones as long as there is not a direct clash between the two: The fact that the positive impact on national security is long-term only implies that in particular situations where the goal of democracy promotion clashes with directly tangible security interests, the latter prevails. If democ-racy promotion is conceived of as an instrument, such ‘opportunistic’ behavior is perfectly in line with a modified realist perspective on democracy promotion. Democracy is promoted as long as it is seen, by decision makers, as improving a country’s geostrategic situation in the

118  S. WALKER long term, without having immediate negative effects on national security and the relative power position. (83)

In the case of the USA, Peceny (1995) argues, the domestic political institutions distribute the liberal (normative) and realist (instrumental) elements of American political thought in different branches of government. Decisions such as whether and how to intervene are not made by a monolithic force. To a significant degree, they depend upon which branch has the upper hand. Presidents frequently favor realist approaches to politics, while Congress is often more likely to prefer policies that are guided by liberal values. Thus, in times when Congress is the more influential branch (such as during times of divided government), more idealistic policies may be put into place. At such times, presidents may need to appeal to the adoption of pro-liberalization policies in order to gain congressional support for the intervention (387). Thus, while any decision to intervene will very likely have an underlying security-based rationale, it is possible that in some instances the goal of democracy promotion can also be a prominent goal. As I argue below, the lack of attractive options available to American leaders dealing with illiberal states may be an important reason that FD interventions are attractive to policymakers.

3  The Absence of Attractive Alternatives While normative and instrumental concerns may motivate leaders to favor the aggressive democracy promotion option, another reason that the FD strategy will probably remain a viable policy option is the fact that other strategies have not been particularly effective, especially in the cases of recalcitrant or entrenched autocratic regimes. Most and Starr argue that actors choose actions based upon their perceptions of the world and constraints, but also based on the available set of alternatives. When other options do not appear to be viable, an FD intervention may become significantly more attractive. There is little question that the FD option is not only a drastic one but also usually a costly, highly coercive option that also puts American prestige on the line. Downes and Monten (2013) conclude that because FD attempts are frequently unsuccessful, “Democracies may be better off employing non-military means—such as foreign aid, development assistance, and attempts to build civil society—to bring about a more



democratic world.” They argue that FD attempts will fail in places where desirable “preconditions” are not present (131). While it is difficult to ignore the argument that FD interventions may be risky in many cases, he fails to note that the alternatives to FD interventions also have weaknesses. Policy options do not exist in isolation; they exist alongside alternative policies, and their utility is judged based upon how attractive they are relative to competing options. In this section, I present three primary strategies—sanctions, foreign aid, and democracy assistance—that the USA and similarly minded countries have historically used to promote democracy when diplomacy fails. An appreciation of the weaknesses of each of these approaches may help to explain why the FD strategy may under certain conditions represent an appealing option even though its likelihood of success is often low. 3.1  Sanctions The use of sanctions might appear to be a logical starting point for leaders who are considering how best to push a country toward democracy. Sanctions are a venerable tool of diplomacy, and their use is well established under international law. Moreover, they can send a clear message to the intended target state. However, while in some instances sanctions have arguably influenced a state’s behavior (e.g., South Africa during the apartheid era), their effectiveness is questionable, and their imposition may lead to unintended side effects. Although the track record of sanctions is a contentious topic, recent research suggests that they frequently do not deliver the intended result. Peksen and Drury (2010) evaluate the effects of economic sanctions on democratic outcomes and conclude that “economic coercion has a significant and relatively strong negative impact on democracy.” The authors find that extensive sanctions are even more likely to result in lower democratic scores than limited sanctions and that a reduced level of democracy persists for the duration of the sanctions (254). In another study, Peksen and Drury (2009) perform a time series analysis of data on sanctions and political outcomes in the 1980–2000 period. The authors find that economic sanctions often increase the coercive power of the target state. Controlling for endogeneity (i.e., the possibility that state power increases may determine the level of sanctions) and a number of demographic and economic variables, their research suggests not only that states targeted by sanctions are likely to become

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less democratic, but also that respect for personal integrity rights (i.e., rights of the person such as freedom from torture, political imprisonment, and extrajudicial killings) is also likely to decline. For instance, the imposition of partial economic sanctions leads, on average, to a 50% increase in “disappearances,” while the imposition of full sanctions is associated with a 115% increase. The commensurate increases (after partial and full sanctions) for extrajudicial killings are 29% and 64%, respectively (69). Moreover, Peksen and Drury argue, sanctions often create perverse incentives for leaders since they not only fail to reduce the coercive capacity of the regime but also generate “new incentives” for the state to restrict democratic freedoms. How is this possible? First, economic sanctions make states more likely to intervene in the economy in ways that will “redirect wealth toward its ruling coalition and away from its opponents to minimize the cost of sanctions on its capacity to rule.” Sanctions thus strengthen the dependency of the regime’s political allies while they weaken resource-deprived opposition groups (2010, 244). In addition, the authors posit that sanctions increase the costs of the regime to comply with the sanctioning country’s demands because “it [the regime] would see acquiescence as leading to a decrease in legitimacy and domestic support” (ibid., 246). Sanctions may actually lead to reductions in democratic liberties because the target regime is likely to sense that these policies are a message in support of opposition groups, and may thus move to limit their political activities. The authors give the example of American policy toward Manuel Noriega in Panama in the late 1980s. As sanctions intensified, Noriega cracked down on opposition groups with paramilitary battalions that “spied on, repressed, and intimidated the population through fear and physical coercion” (ibid., 247). One notable problem with sanctions is that because they are inherently coercive, and thus inherently hostile, they may have the unintended effect of galvanizing support for the ruling regime in the targeted country. Hendrickson (1995) suggests that economic sanctions are an inappropriate tool for promoting democracy because they are modeled on the first step to war: The principal forerunner of today’s trade embargo is the naval blockade. In strategic thought, economic sanctions exemplify the strategy of attrition, that is, the attempt to wear down the enemy by striking down at the whole of its economic life, which is ultimately the basis of its military power. (22)



Furthermore, Hendrickson argues that sanctions are wrong-headed in light of the diversity we have always seen in governments. The fact that the United Nations and (it goes without saying) the USA do not have the authority in UN charter to do this aside, sanctions lead to “unintended consequences” and harm “innocent bystanders.” They thus harm those factions most likely to work with the sanctioning country, and because they are based on a strategy of attrition, they are perceived as being warlike whether they actually are or not (ibid., 22). Levitsky and Way (2005) discuss another problematic aspect of sanctions: They often fail to result in democratic reform because while they frequently isolate target regimes, they are most effective (they possess the most “leverage,” in the authors’ terminology) when there are a great number of economic, political, and cultural linkages between the sanctioning state and the target state. In other words, sanctions place limits on the very factors that make applying pressure on regimes successful. The authors offer the examples of failed attempts to apply sanctions to Cuba, North Korea, Burma, and Zimbabwe—states where very little linkage and leverage existed due to isolation (31). But what of diplomatic sanctions? They certainly have the advantage of not appearing to be as coercive as economic sanctions are. However, even this less threatening variety of sanctions can be problematic. Maller (2010) offers three reasons why diplomatic sanctions may generate “blowback.” First, they hamper in-country intelligence. Second, they undermine communication between the two nations and are likely to increase misperceptions between them. Finally, they reduce the influence of the country imposing the sanctions, as embassies are meant to be a conduit for aid and assisting in bilateral relations. As such, embassies might be able to influence matters on the ground. In short, sanctions cut off constructive dialogue between the target state and the imposing state (64). Those who defend the use of sanctions often choose to de-emphasize their track record. Instead, they focus on the idea that sanctions are not necessarily designed to deliver measurable results in the short term. Oskarsson (2012) argues that sanctions do not frequently lead to political change in the target state. Instead, they are often used in order to contain target regimes: Sanctions have proven to be an effective means of coercion, proving critical in containing both the Iraqi and Libyan regimes militarily. Weapons sales

122  S. WALKER to Libya virtually ended under the period of multilateral sanctions. In Iraq, the sanctions prevented the rebuilding of the military after the first Gulf war and eroded Iraq’s WMD program by blocking the import of necessary technologies. There have been rumors of a similar situation’s occurring in Iran. (997)

Ironically, Oskarsson claims, economic sanctions (and sanctions in general) are more likely to work against states that are already democratic than they are against autocracies (ibid., 99). Diamond (2008) argues that sanctions may be better suited as carrots than as sticks (i.e., through offering the possibility of lifting sanctions). While their imposition is not likely to lead to regime change in and of itself, the value of sanctions may lie in their ability to change the behavior of the existing regime (24). In short, the real potential of sanctions may be found in the ways that they can lead to change in the behavior of leaders in target states— not in their potential to replace existing regimes. Sanctions are easy to implement, are not very costly (at least initially), and are far less drastic measures than military action. Unfortunately, however, they do not frequently lead to a significant level of democratization in the short term. Moreover, their imposition is often ultimately costly both to the target country and to the sanctioning one. The difficult, complicated, and drawn-out nature of sanctions only serves to make more direct approaches, such as military intervention, more appealing—particularly in states where economic leverage is weak. 3.2   Foreign Aid Encouraging countries to democratize by offering foreign aid is a second potential way to encourage authoritarian countries to develop without direct interference. If autocratic leaders desire foreign aid, the logic goes, receipt of continued aid should be conditional upon improved behavior: “Donors often condition grants or loans intended for general budget support on performance in the areas of civil liberties, the conduct of elections, and respect for the rule of law” (Knack 2004, 202). Knack argues that in addition to directly modifying the behavior of target regimes, foreign aid may also increase the likelihood of democratization via “modernizing” effects of such as increased education levels and per capita incomes. These beneficial effects may in turn “increase the demand for democratic government” (ibid., 202).



Much recent research on the topic points to modest increases in democratic practices of countries due to foreign aid flows. For example, Bermeo (2013) finds that during the post-Cold War period development assistance was associated with small but positive levels of democratic change. While this finding may appear to be encouraging, the author argues that conditional aid is often useful because it is scarce. Thus, its positive effects may be nearly non-existent when given to oil-producing nations or others that are well endowed with natural resources (33). Likewise, Goldsmith (2001) finds “small but real effects on economic and political liberalism. Aid is just that, aid—it gives a bit of a lift.” He argues that there is indeed an “integral link” between aid and democratic change but cautions against a narrow focus on electoral elements of the democratic process at the expense of other aspects of governance (44). Another group of scholars finds that foreign aid has no direct effect on the level of democracy. Knack (2004) argues that the data suggest that “little if any” of the gains in democracy are attributable to foreign aid. His World Bank study extends from the years 1975–2000 and evaluates the effects of aid dependence on levels of democracy as measured by Freedom House and Polity IV (262). Likewise, a recent study by economists Dutta et al. (2013) finds that while aid does have an effect on democracy, that effect is to stabilize whatever type of regime is in place, via what they term the “amplification effect”: Foreign aid neither causes democracies to become more dictatorial nor causes dictatorships to become more democratic. It only amplifies recipients’ existing political-institutional orientations. Aid makes dictatorships more dictatorial and democracies more democratic. (66)

The fact that social scientists have not found a clear relationship between foreign aid and democratization is probably partly because the relationship between a recipient country and its donors is a complex one: Aid is a crucial component in a feedback loop between donor and recipient countries. Bermeo (2011) argues that offering scarce resources to encourage countries to cooperate may indeed work. However, it is difficult to determine whether the improvements occur as a direct result of the aid itself or because donor countries are likely to give more aid to recipients that they believe are more likely to improve. In other words, the aid-democracy relationship involves a complex process that has selection effects and a feedback loop. The author suggests that states

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do indeed respond to positive incentives, but that this is partly because donor states factor the likelihood of a positive reaction into their aid calculations (2029). Likewise, Kersting and Kilby (2013) suggest that countries are selected for aid based on how much potential they have for improving their democratic performance. He argues that aid has a significant effect when recipients expect future aid to be conditional.1 In conclusion, there is much uncertainty regarding the effects of foreign aid on democratic development. Moreover, the value of foreign aid as a tool for building intangible benefits such as social capital is still met with skepticism. Nonetheless, some research suggests that aid can have at least some effect on democratization, at least for certain recipients, aid conditions, and specific types of aid. Understanding the success rates of development assistance, however, is complicated by the fact that countries give aid for many reasons, and donor countries often focus more on the geopolitical significance of recipient countries than on the need for democratization. In short, economic aid may help to condition the behavior of autocrats, gradually pushing them toward democracy. However, foreign aid is a tool best suited for long-term change, and its success appears to be highly dependent upon the type of interaction that exists between the donor and recipient countries. Thus, there is little reason to expect that this form of assistance will change the political landscape of a recipient country in the short term, which is often the one that decision makers prioritize. 3.3   Democracy Assistance Another common tool for democracy promotion is democracy assistance. Many studies have shown that these programs have a positive, although not necessarily large, effect on the level of democracy in the target country. Carothers (2009) argues that such effects are “modest, negligible, and occasionally negative,” and can lead to reform:

1 However, the power of conditionality may be undermined if the recipient country is also receiving significant amounts of unconditional aid from autocratic countries or is of high geopolitical importance (Collins 2013, 16).



The political approach has two principal strengths. It leads democracy promoters to give direct attention to the domain of political competition— the institutional framework for competition, the degree of actual political freedom in practice, the capacities and actions of the key political actors involved, and so forth. This domain is key to democratic progress in many settings. It is a domain from which power holders may seek to deflect outside attention by offering up reforms in other arenas, such as the social and economic. In addition, by encouraging democracy promoters to look for and respond to key political junctures, the political approach sometimes helps democracy-aid providers to find a catalytic role, such as helping to support the organizational base for large-scale civic resistance to the manipulation of an election. (2009, 9)

Finkel et al. (2007) conducted a detailed longitudinal study of USAID democracy promotion funding in Latin America and concluded that while such programs do indeed have a significant impact, they also can take many years to work (436). Thus, while such aid may be effective, a president would be unlikely to be able to reap the credit for improvement during his or her term in office, which would limit the attractiveness of this option. It is important to note here that merely because democracy assistance has a positive effect does not mean that one would expect similar gains to scale if it were given in massive quantities. In addition, democracy assistance may not be the best option for highly repressive countries. Dutta et al. (2013) find that while democracy assistance may help to steer newly democratizing countries in the direction of independence, it leads to no improvement in firmly established autocracies (223). Diamond (2008) highlights the powerful potential of democracy assistance: “No other form of international aid has had a more dramatic and immediate effect” (125). He argues that the key to success is the availability of financial support for groups to educate and mobilize voters and to help international election observation teams to help scrutinize the conduct of elections. However, it is difficult to trace the exact effects of democracy assistance, Diamond argues, and even generous democracy aid is often not sufficient to generate democratic development. Democracy aid can work when it helps groups to network, disseminate information, gain experience, and learn new technologies. However, the problem is knowing which groups to give money to. Thus, while democracy assistance was highly successful in South Africa during the 1994 elections, it failed in places such as Cambodia, East Timor, and Azerbaijan (ibid., 125).

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Moreover, Scott et al. (2011) argue that, as is the case with foreign aid, there is a powerful selection process in place: “Allocations are strategic decisions informed by cues for donors about the prospects for the impact of democracy aid, of which democracy itself may be among the most important.” In other words, democracy assistance works in part because it is targeted at places where the USA believes that it will most likely be effective (65). Thus, it does not appear that the relationship between donor and recipient is as simple as: (1) a country donates aid and (2) the aid improves democracy in the recipient country. Rather, the USA and other donors are prospecting for promising recipients, and they are much more likely to give aid to those states that they deem to be “good” prospects. In other words, donors hedge bets when it comes to democracy assistance. Indeed, the fact that the USA has greater linkage and leverage to certain regimes than to others would appear to dictate much of the bias in how aid is distributed. Thus, most scholars researching the topic of democracy assistance would agree that it is effective under certain conditions. Diamond (2008) argues that democracy assistance is not only good value for the money but also serves the essential function of keeping hope alive in countries where authoritarianism seems to be firmly entrenched (125). However, democracy assistance appears to be a strategy best suited for prodding recalcitrant regimes in the right direction or for encouraging newly democratizing countries to continue on the path toward consolidation. It appears to be less successful in engineering short- or medium-term regime change. Schmidt (2008) argues: Outsiders find it difficult to intervene directly in authoritarian societies where there is no ongoing conflict or where the political leadership is strongly resistant to change. In such cases, outsiders who wish to promote democracy have to resort to more indirect methods. In the United States, the Agency for International Development (AID), the State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fund organizations, such as International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute. (113)

Azpuru and Shaw (2010) suggest that despite its problems, democracy promotion does have a great deal of potential. In reality, targeted democracy aid has only been offered to Latin American countries for



a couple of decades. The USA has only genuinely been pursuing this goal since the end of the Cold War (267). Likewise, Carothers (2007) points out that during the short time that democracy promotion efforts have been tried, there has been a great deal of learning, and the quality of assistance has improved dramatically (113). However, the strength of democracy promotion as a strategy may also be its weakness. Small, targeted programmes can work, but it is hard to imagine that massive amounts of aid will bring a commensurate degree of additional gains. In short, democracy promotion works. However, the limited gains that it delivers are expensive and not likely to be repeated on a larger scale. Democracy assistance would thus have only a limited appeal to American decision makers who seek significant democratic change in autocracies in the short term or medium-term, particularly in those “hard to crack” places where democracy assistance is not likely to have significant leverage. Despite its promise, recent scholarship does not point toward the idea that this strategy is a viable short- or medium-term substitute for regime change. The failure of each of these alternatives to result in meaningful change means, if anything, that liberal states may under certain conditions prefer to directly intervene instead of waiting for slower, less coercive democracy promotion measures to work.

4  Windows of Opportunity? In this chapter, I have suggested that policymakers may be more likely to consider FD interventions to be an attractive option at certain times and under certain conditions. In this section, I describe why I believe that this is the case. Having studied this question for many years, and having reviewed countless observations by academics and non-academics alike, I have noticed that the following argument has become extremely popular: Intervention does not lead to democracy under most conditions, and the success rate is generally low. Moreover, heavy-handed forms of American (often unilateral) interventionism are likely to lead to a great deal of negative diplomatic blowback. Therefore, it would make more sense for American leaders to try other means (diplomatic pressure, economic carrots and sticks, the application of American soft power, reward domestic actors such as civil society

128  S. WALKER groups, etc.). Democracy is not easy to achieve, and often takes many years to develop. Policymakers should give it time, be patient, and hope for the best.

Russett (2005) exemplifies this practical mind-set, arguing that rather than using direct force, the USA would do better to lead by example, use multilateral initiatives, and offer assistance where necessary: Military interventions have sometimes installed democracies by force, but they have more often failed, and the successes have been immensely expensive in lives and treasure. Sometimes there may be no choice but to defeat a dangerous attacker, and then try to impose a democratic government… but the need to root out and destroy an attacker is quite different from going to war in order to impose democracy…As a general principle, democratization by force is full of practical and moral dangers, depending on many highly unpredictable contingencies, and not to be undertaken as the purpose in a war of choice.” (405)

Russett continues: The better alternative to regime change by force is democracy by example and peaceful incentives…Georgia and the Ukraine showed how semi-authoritarian systems, when the government feels it needs to conduct and then steal an election, can be defeated by a combination of technical assistance to the challenging parties, support of independent media, and support for civil society…In those peaceful processes international organizations, and particularly those intergovernmental organizations composed primarily of democratic countries, have learned to play a major role… Continued forward movement requires understanding and continued support by international organizations’ member governments and peoples. (ibid., 406)

I do not discount the inherent warnings in what might be termed the “academic consensus” argument. There is a notable lack of evidence that FD interventions are likely to be successful in most cases, and trusting democratic processes to develop over time may often be excellent advice. Moreover, the inherent risk and cost of such interventions are an unavoidable factor. Despite this strong consensus on the part of international relations experts and democracy scholars, however, I believe that American leaders have sufficient incentive to consider the FD intervention strategy in the future.



Leaders, like other political actors, are generally rational and will pursue policies that will help them to achieve their long-term objectives of staying in power and being viewed by the public as effective leaders. It is quite likely that any future American leader will be fully aware of the pitfalls and poor track record of the FD strategy. However, during certain political junctures, I believe the FD option will continue to be an attractive one, mainly due to the underlying reasons that I have already offered: the presence of normative and instrumental motivating factors, as well as the paucity of attractive short- and medium-term alternatives to democracy promotion. To paraphrase Most and Starr, the presence of motivating factors and the lack of alternatives certainly may enhance the willingness of actors under certain conditions. I offer three scenarios or situations within the open opportunity structure that may increase the likelihood of action by American policymakers. 4.1   Periods of International Crisis One might expect that leaders would be more likely to consider a drastic foreign policy action in times of domestic instability or crisis. This might be true for two reasons. First, the leader may be willing to take greater risks during times of insecurity. Second, constraints on leaders are often lower during such times. Third, the leader may be more willing to deflect attention away from domestic issues by undertaking a major military action abroad. In “normal” (as if there is such a thing) times, leaders may be comfortable waiting for democratic processes, economic linkage and leverage, domestic NGOs, and other “common sense” factors to push countries toward greater democratization. However, these leaders may be much less patient during times of political turmoil. Owen (2002) argues that polity imposition is more likely to occur during times of ideological tension and international insecurity and concludes that it is not a rare event in the international system. In a review of polity impositions in the international system between 1555 and 1999, he finds that powerful international actors are more likely to impose democratic institutions at certain times: (a) When the target is unstable (b) when security is scarce, (c) during times of “ideological ferment” (394). Meernik (1996) finds that American presidents are more likely to intervene militarily during times of crisis due to changes in what he

130  S. WALKER

terms the “crisis generation process.” In short, many more crises emerge at certain times, and it is at this time that the opportunity for military action is highest (559). Thus, there appears to be a strong linkage between international events/crises and the likelihood of presidents deciding to engage in drastic foreign policy measures such as FD interventions. 4.2   Attempting to Install an Ideologically Friendly Regime in an Unfriendly Region Wolff and Wurm (2011) suggest that, according to the critical perspective of democracy promotion, countries may use coercive force to further the “ideational hegemony” of the dominant country. Democratization of the target country is not the primary goal of an FD intervention under this scenario. Instead, its purpose is to create a form of “consensual domination.” This involves the creation of a new regime which appeals to the universal sense of democracy through the “incorporation of popular majorities” that would make the new regime appear to be seriously focused on the democratic project. At the same time, however, it would be willing to comply with America’s overarching vision for a capitalist world system (86). Meernik (1996) argues that the USA may wish to intervene to set up or prop up a democratic regime by helping to bring about regional stability or to make it easier to influence the target nation (392). It is here that Enterline and Greig’s (2005) concept of democratic “beacons” may become useful, as it can help to explain the attempt to install regimes in hostile areas of the world even though the odds of success of democracy are rather low. The author argues that the USA may attempt to install democratic regimes in areas of the world that are hostile to democracy in order to generate “further democratic change and…levels of economic prosperity” in the region. The authors do not find that such “beacons” are likely to spread democracy through the region. Instead, their primary value appears to be the potential to deliver greater regional stability and peace. While the specific mechanism isn’t clearly spelled out, Enterline and Greig point out that attempts to impose democracy can lead to peace in at least two possible ways. First, such an attempt shows that the international community is serious about stability in the region and that it is willing to use force to bring about that stability. Second, the fact that democracies are more peaceful and inclusive may lead the imposed polity to be less conflictual (1077).



In any case, the desire to establish friendly regional allies could be argued to reflect America’s desire for stable allies with similar ideological goals. Some degree of stability, even in light of the fact that a deepened form of democracy is not likely to be the end result, means that hostile democracy promotion may be a strategy that American leaders may strongly consider when the opportunity arises. 4.3   The Domestic Political Landscape as a Driver of Interventionist Policies One should not forget that a principal driver of American foreign policy has always been domestic conditions. Peceny (1999) points out that since the 1970s, congressional influence over foreign policy has increased dramatically (287). This may change the way that interventions play themselves out. Peceny focuses more on what happens after the decision to intervene: Presidents may decide to intervene militarily, but they may find themselves open to congressional criticism that they are behaving in an illiberal fashion—particularly during periods when congressional influence is rising vis a vis the president’s influence. While congressional pressure might conceivably mean a reversal of the decision to intervene, it might also mean that the nature of the intervention itself is more likely to include a push for pro-liberalization policies. While leaders are more likely to impose democracies during times of international crisis, there is not enough evidence to suggest that American presidents will use acts of force such as FD interventions to divert attention from the domestic political situation. Meernik (2001) finds that presidents are more likely to intervene militarily during bad economic times, but that this is because more crises arise in the international system during these “down” periods—not because the president is trying to “wag the dog” (559). Presidents are therefore unlikely to unilaterally order military action during times of domestic crisis. Instead, they are “forced to bargain with members of the Congress and the bureaucracy to enact their policies” (Meernik and Waterman 1996, 587). Moreover, given the high costs of state-building and the extremely high levels of risk, it is hard to accept the argument that the mere presence of domestic insecurity would provide sufficient motivation for an FD intervention. Therefore, the primary intent of a military intervention is not likely to be to bring about democracy in the target state. Instead, congressional pressure may force the president to include pro-democracy measures as a

132  S. WALKER

way to make the intervention more palatable. Thus, we might argue that FD interventions might to some degree be a result of the policy process. Thus, domestic factors alone are not likely to lead to an intervention, but they may be more likely to make the intervention one that focuses on the democratization of the target state.

5  Conclusion Each approach to democracy promotion has its drawbacks, and each is risky in some way. American leaders must weigh the odds of success or failure against the costs of doing nothing. The decision to engage in an FD intervention is not one that a leader would ever make without carefully weighing the costs and benefits of such an action: The high failure rate and the substantial cost, along with the risk of international criticism, would ensure that this would always be the case. Imposing sanctions, engaging in economic diplomacy, or relying on “traditional” democracy promotion strategies such as engagement with civil society groups may appear on the surface to be the most sensible strategies to democracy promotion. However, I would argue that in practice, the more drastic FD intervention option will at times be attractive to American policymakers. “Drastic times require drastic measures,” the old adage goes. While normal times may not lend themselves toward such a risky strategy, the ability of American leaders to directly dictate events rather than rely upon Congress or international institutions may at times be too strong a temptation. Evidence from the international relations literature appears to suggest that military intervention is more likely during times of global instability. Whether it is wise for leaders to do so is another question; I am merely pointing out that the temptation to act is likely to exist well into the future.

References Azpuru, Dinorah, and Carolyn M. Shaw. 2010. “The United States and the Promotion of Democracy in Latin America: Then, Now and Tomorrow.” Orbis 54 (2): 252–67. Bermeo, Sarah Blodgett. 2011. “Foreign Aid and Regime Change: A Role for Donor Intent.” World Development 39 (11): 2021–31. ———. 2013. “Aid Is Not Oil: Donor Preferences, Heterogeneous Aid, and the Aid-Democratization Relationship.” Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy Working Paper.



Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, and George W. Downs. 2006. “Intervention and Democracy.” International Organization 60 (3): 627–49. Carothers, Thomas. 2007. “A Quarter-Century of Promoting Democracy.” Journal of Democracy 18 (4): 112–26. ———. 2009. “Democracy Assistance: Political vs. Developmental.” Journal of Democracy 20 (1): 5–19. Diamond, Larry. 2008. The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World. New York: Times Books. Downes, Alexander B., and Jonathan Monten. 2013. “Forced to Be Free?: Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Rarely Leads to Democratization.” International Security 37 (4): 90–131. Doyle, Michael W. 1986. “Liberalism and World Politics.” American Political Science Review 80 (4): 1151–69. Dutta, Nabamita, Peter T. Leeson, and Claudia R. Williamson. 2013. “The Amplification Effect: Foreign Aid’s Impact on Political Institutions.” Kyklos 66 (2): 208–28. Enterline, Andrew J., and J. Michael Greig. 2005. “Beacons of Hope? The Impact of Imposed Democracy on Regional Peace, Democracy, and Prosperity.” Journal of Politics 67 (4): 1075–98. ———. 2008. “Against All Odds? The History of Imposed Democracy and the Future of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Foreign Policy Analysis 4: 247–321. Finkel, Steven E., Anibal Perez-Linan, and Mitchell A. Seligson. 2007. “The Effects of US Foreign Assistance on Democracy Building, 1990–2003.” World Politics 59 (April): 404–39. Gleditsch, Nils Petter, Lene Siljeholm Christiansen, and Harvard Hegre. 2007. “Democratic Jihad? Military Intervention and Democracy.” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper. Goldsmith, Arthur A. 2001. “Foreign Aid and Statehood in Africa.” International Organization 55 (1): 123–48. Griswold, Daniel. 2007. “Trade, Democracy, and Peace: The Virtuous Cycle.” In Peace Through Trade Conference. Oslo: Cato Institute. https://www.cato. org/publications/speeches/trade-democracy-peace-virtuous-cycle. Hendrickson, David C. 1995. “The Democratist Crusade: Intervention, Economic Sanctions, and Engagement.” World Policy Journal 11 (4): 18–30. Kegley Jr., Charles W., and Margaret G. Hermann. 1997. “A Peace Dividend? Democracies’ Military Interventions and Their External Political Consequences.” Cooperation and Conflict 32 (4): 339–368. Kersting, Erasmus, and Christopher Kilby. 2013. “Aid and Democracy Redux.” European Economic Review 67: 125–43. Knack, Stephen. 2004. “Does Foreign Aid Promote Democracy?” International Studies Quarterly 48 (1): 251–66.

134  S. WALKER Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan A. Way. 2005. “International Linkage and Democratization.” Journal of Democracy 16 (3): 20–33. Maller, Tara. 2010. “Diplomacy Derailed: The Consequences of Diplomatic Sanctions.” Washington Quarterly 33 (3): 61–79. Meernik, James. 1996. “United States Military Intervention and the Promotion of Democracy.” Journal of Peace Research 33 (4): 391–401. Meernik, James. 2001. “Domestic Politics and the Political Use of Military Force by the United States.” Political Research Quarterly 54 (4): 889–904. Meernik, James, and Peter Waterman. 1996. “The Myth of the Diversionary Use of Force by American Presidents.” Political Research Quarterly 49 (3): 573–90. Most, Benjamin A., and Harvey Starr. 1989. Inquiry, Logic, and International Politics. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. Oskarsson, Katerina. 2012. “Economic Sanctions on Authoritarian States: Lessons Learned.” Middle East Policy XIX (4): 88–102. Owen, John M. 2002. “The Foreign Imposition of Domestic Institutions.” International Organization 56 (2): 375–409. Peceny, Mark. 1995. “Two Paths to the Promotion of Democracy During U.S. Military Interventions.” International Studies Quarterly 39 (3): 371–401. ———. 1999. Democracy at the Point of Bayonets. University Park: Penn State University Press. Peksen, Dursun, and A. Cooper Drury. 2009. “Economic Sanctions and Political Repression: Assessing the Impact of Coercive Diplomacy on Political Freedoms.” Human Rights Review 10 (3): 393–411. ———. 2010. “Coercive or Corrosive: The Negative Impact of Economic Sanctions on Democracy.” International Interactions 36 (3): 240–64. Ray, James Lee. 1995. Democracy and International Conflict. Colombia, SC: University of South Carolina Press. Russett, Bruce. 2005. “Bushwhacking the Democratic Peace.” International Studies Perspectives 6: 395–408. Schmidt, John R. 2008. “Can Outsiders Bring Democracy to Post-Conflict States?” Orbis (Winter). Scott, James M., and Carie A. Steele. 2011. “Sponsoring Democracy: The United States and Democracy Aid to the Developing World, 1988–2011.” International Studies Quarterly 55 (1): 47–69. Talentino, Andrea K. 2005. Military Intervention After the Cold War. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. Werner, Suzanne. 1996. “Absolute and Limited War: The Possibility of ForeignImposed Regime Change.” International Interactions 22 (1): 67–88.



Williams, Lethia, and Daniel Masters. 2011. “Promoting Democracy Through Intervention: An Analysis of the Post World War II Era.” Democracy and Security 7: 18–37. Wolff, J., and I. Wurm. 2011. “Towards a Theory of External Democracy Promotion: A Proposal for Theoretical Classification.” Security Dialogue 42 (1): 77–96.


A Afghanistan, 66–82, 92 critique of interventions, 76–82 elections, 68, 70 intervention aftermath, 70 motives for intervention, 66, 70–76 Operation Enduring Freedom, 65–66, 72, 73 situation prompting intervention, 65–66 Afghan Interim Authority, 68 Allawi, Ali A., 99–100 Allawi, Ayad, 90–91 Allison, Graham (Essence of Decision), 27 Al-Qaeda, 72, 86, 93 Alternativa, 56 American supremacy, 7, 42, 57, 75, 85–89 Anti-Communism Dominican Republic, 25, 27–29 during Cold War, 9–10 Grenada, 41–42, 43, 44 Panama, 55, 59 Antiterrorism

Afghanistan, 67, 74–76 Iraq, 88–89, 93, 95 shift from anti-Communism, 10 Austin, Hudson, 36, 40 Autocrats, removal from power, 6, 8 Axis nations, 6–7, 8, 16 B Balaguer, Joaquin, 24, 26, 30–33 Beigbeder, Yves, 30, 44 Bermeo, Nancy, 15 Bernal, Miguel Antonio, 56 Bias, of America in elections, 31–33, 39, 44–45 bin Laden, Osama, 67 Bishop, Maurice, 35 Blair, Tony, 86, 93, 94 Blaize, Herbert, 38, 44 Blandon, Jose, 57 Bonn Agreement, 68–69, 70, 71, 74, 77–81 Boschistas, 31–32 Bosch, Juan, 24, 26, 29–33 Boudreau, Vincent, 10

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG, part of Springer Nature 2019 S. Walker, American Foreign Policy and Forced Regime Change Since World War II,


138  Index Braithwaite, Nicholas, 44 Bremer, Paul, 89, 90, 99–101 Brown, Seyom, 70 Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, 116 Bush, George H.W., 49, 52–53, 54, 55, 59 Bush, George H.W., administration, 49, 52, 59, 61 Bush, George W. Afghanistan, 67, 73 Iraq, 87, 88, 93, 94, 96, 88 Bush, George W., administration Afghanistan, 70–71, 73–74, 75 Iraq, 86–88, 90, 92–94, 95–100 neoconservative approach, 8 Bush Doctrine, 73, 74 C Caamaño, Francisco, 25 Caribbean Community (CARICOM), 36 Carothers, Thomas, 42–43, 45, 124 Cash strangulation strategy, 51 Castro, Fidel, 26, 29, 41, 57 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covert political aid, 45 “Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs”, 94 Noreiga, as CIA informant, 50 report on Iraq, 93 Central Intelligence Agency, Special Activities Division (SAD), 88 Charles, Eugenia, 37 Cheney, Dick, 52 Chester, Eric Thomas, 29 China, 18 Chirac, Jacques, 87 CIA. See Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Citizen safety (U.S.), 25–26, 36, 37, 38–40, 54

Clinton administration, 7–8 Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), 90, 99, 100, 101–102 Cold War anti-communist focus, 9–10 democracy promotion during, 7 effect on Grenada, 41–42 influence on U.S. actions, 26 See also Post-Cold War era Conniff, Michael L., 54, 55, 61 Constitutions Afghanistan, 69, 72 Iraq, 91, 100–102 Contras, 50–51, 57 Council of State, 24 Counterterrorism. See Antiterrorism Coups Dominican Republic, 24 Grenada, 35 Panama, 52–53, 60–62 Cramer, Jane K., 96 Crusading mentality, 11–12 Cuba influence on U.S. actions, 25, 26, 28 providing aid to Grenada, 36, 38, 41 D Decision making processes, 109, 132 Democracy Afghanistan interventions, 69–74, 76 challenges to establishing, 77, 99 Dominican Republic interventions, 26–29 Grenada interventions, 38–39, 42–45 illiberal democracies, 18 pacific nature, 6, 112–113


Panama interventions, 49, 53–55, 59 Reagan’s concept (antiCommunism), 42–43 as a result of war, 15 time frame to establish, 78, 79, 97–98 Democracy assistance, 59, 124–127 Democracy by Force (Von Hippel), 17, 44, 45 Democracy promotion instrumentalist motivations, 111, 115–118 liberal roots, 6–8 as moral imperative, 5, 8, 11–12, 111 normative motivations, 111–115, 116–118 realist (realpolitik) roots, 9–11 Wolff & Wurm typology, 3–4 See also Forced democratization (FD) Democracy proxies, 70 Democracy restoration Grenada interventions, 42, 44 Panama interventions, 59 Democratic beacons, 8, 130 Democratic Initiatives Project, 60 Democratic regimes, failure to establish, 78–82 Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), 24, 25, 28 Diamond, Larry, 125–127 Diaz Herrera, Roberto, 56 Diversionary use of force, 40–42, 58, 131 Diversity, efforts toward achieving, 68–69, 71 Dobbins, James, 68–69, 79, 85 Dominican Republic, 23–33 critique of intervention, 30–33 elections, 24, 26


intervention aftermath, 26 military invasion, 25 motives for intervention, 26–29 situation prompting intervention, 23–25 Downes, Alexander B., 8, 16 Downs, George W., 116 Doyle, Michael W., 113 Drug trafficking, 51, 53, 54 Drury, A. Cooper, 119–121 Duggan, Edward C., 96 Duque, Carlos, 52 E Economic aid, 14, 59–60 Eisenmann, Roberto, 56 Elections Afghanistan, 68, 69, 78, 80 Dominican Republic, 23–24, 25, 30–33 free and fair, 18 Grenada, 37–39, 44–45 Iraq, 90–92, 99–100 Panama, 49, 52–53, 59 strategic timing, 37 U.S. influence on, 32–33, 45 Endara, Guillermo, 51, 53, 59, 60–61 End of History (Fukuyama), 13, 16 Enterline, Andrew J., 116, 130 Essence of Decision (Allison), 27 F Fallows, James, 97 Feith, Douglas, 93, 99 Forced democratization (FD) covert political aid, 45 definition, 2, 38 inherent contradictions, 14, 114 intervention aftermath, 26, 38 liberal roots, 8

140  Index need for committed resources, 17 optimism during post-Cold War era, 16–18, 127 outcomes to interventions, 15 purpose, 1–2 realist (realpolitik) roots, 9–11 as research area, 13–20 restoring democratic regimes, 42, 43 role in foreign policy decision making, 2–5, 118 skepticism during post-Cold War era, 17–18 success rate, 2, 17–18, 108, 127–129 weaknesses of alternatives, 118–127 See also Democracy promotion Foreign aid, 122–124 Foster, Dennis, 41 Freedom Agenda, 74 Freedom House classifications, 26, 53, 92 Fukuyama, Francis (End of History), 13, 16, 73 G Gaddis, John Lewis, 74 Garcia-Godoy, Héctor, 26 Garner, Jay, 89–90, 98–99 Geographic proximity, 108 Geopolitical positioning, 9 Geostrategic considerations, 35–37, 42 Germany, 6–7, 8, 87 Ghani, Ashraf, 69 Giroldi, Moises, 52 Gleditsch, Nils Petter, 112, 114, 117 Gleijeses, Piero, 29, 31–32 Gomez, Salvador, 28 Grassroots processes, 69, 80 Greenspan, Alan, 94 Greig, J. Michael, 116, 130

Grenada, 35–45 critique of intervention, 43–45 elections, 37–39, 44–45 intervention aftermath, 38 motives for intervention, 38–44 Operation Urgent Fury, 37–38 situation prompting intervention, 35–37 Grimm, Sonja, 81–82 Griswold, Daniel, 112 Grow, Michael, 37, 56 H Hagel, Chuck, 94 Hall, Brett, 40 Helms, Jesse, 56 Hendrickson, David C., 120 Hermann, Margaret, 15, 17 Herrera Hassan, Eduardo, 61 Hill, Matthew Alan, 80–81 Hook, Steven W., 11 Humanitarian interventions, 7, 54, 59 Human rights, defending, 8, 54, 114 Huntington, Samuel, 16 Hussein, Saddam, 76, 86, 87, 94 I Ikenberry, G. John, 9 Inquiry, Logic, and International Politics (Most and Starr), 108–110 Instrumentalist motivations, 111, 115–118 Interim Iraqi Government, 90 International crises, 129–130, 131–132 International Human Rights Law Group, 44 International norms, 114–115


International Republican Institute, 101 International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), 67, 72 Interventions aftermath, 26, 38, 43–45, 53, 59–62 external, 6, 16–19 global support for, 36–37 opposition to, 36, 101 recommendations, 127–132 requests for non-intervention, 39 Intimidation tactics, in elections, 31–32 Iraq, 85–102 critique of interventions, 98–102 elections, 90–92, 99–100 intervention aftermath, 92 motives for intervention, 92–98 Operation Iraqi Freedom, 73, 86, 88 situation prompting intervention, 85–88 Iraqi Governing Council, 90, 100 Iraqi List, 91 Iraq Resolution, 93 “Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs” (Central Intelligence Agency), 94 J al-Ja’afari, Ibrahim, 91 Japan, 6–7, 8 Johnson, Lyndon B., 28, 31 Johnson administration, 28–29, 31 Jones, Toby Craig, 75 K Kabul (Afghanistan), 66, 68 Kandahar (Afghanistan), 67


Kant, Immanuel, 6 Karzai, Hamid, 68, 69, 79, 81–82 Keegan, John, 87 Kegley, Charles, 15, 17 Keller, Jonathan, 41 Keohane, Robert O., 7 Krauthammer, Charles, 10 Kupchan, Charles A., 86 Kuwait, 87, 88 L Leadership Council, 90 Legitimacy external, 78 internal, 78, 81 as motive, 71–72, 76–78 Levitsky, Steven, 121 Lewis, Gordon K., 39, 41, 43 Liberal internationalism, 7–8 Liberalism, 6–8, 113 “Long War” Middle Eastern, 76 Lowenthal, Abraham, 27 Loya jirga (grand assembly), 68–69, 71 M Machiavelli, 113 Al-Maliki, Nouri, 92 Maller, Tara, 121 Mann, Thomas, 29 Martin, Lisa L., 7 Masters, Daniel, 19 Mazar-i-Sharif (Afghanistan), 67 McFaul, Michael, 73 Mearsheimer, John J., 75 Medellin drug cartel, 57 Media, role in interventions, 51, 56 Medical students (U.S.), 36, 37, 39–40 Middle Eastern “Long War”, 76

142  Index Military coups, 24 Military invasions Dominican Republic, 25 Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), 65, 66–68, 72, 74 Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), 73, 86, 88 Operation Just Cause (Panama), 52, 53, 58, 61 Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), 37–38 Military rebellions, 25 Millett, Richard L., 51, 52 Milosevic, Slobodan, 8 Misinformation, effect on interventions, 27 Money laundering, 54 Monroe Doctrine, 11 Monten, Jonathan, 8, 16 Most, Benjamin A. (Inquiry, Logic, and International Politics), 108–110 Muttitt, Greg, 90 N Nasiriyah (Iraq), 89 National Assembly, 69 National Civil Union (UCN), 24 National Democratic Institute, 101 National Endowment for Democracy (NED), 44 National Security Council (NSC), 45, 67 National Security Strategy, 87 Nation-building, 70–72, 78, 82 Neoconservatism, 8 Neoconservative agenda, 86, 95 Neoliberal institutionalism, 7–8 New Jewel Movement (NJM), 35 New National Party, 38, 44

Niland, Norah, 82 Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), 101 Noriega, Manuel, 7, 49–54, 56–59 Normative motivations, 111–115, 116–118 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 68, 70 Northern Alliance, 69 Nye, Joseph, 74 O Oil, as motive for intervention, 75, 92, 94–95 Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), 65, 67, 72, 73 Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq), 73, 86, 88 Operation Just Cause (Panama), 52, 53, 58, 61 Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), 37–38 Opportunity, as motive for intervention, 108–110 Organization for American States (OAS), 24, 30, 44 Organization for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (OCHRA), 89 Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), 37 Oskarsson, Katerina, 121–122 Owen, John M., 116, 129 P Packer, George, 102 Panama, 15, 49–62 critique of interventions, 60–62 elections, 49, 52–53, 59, 62 intervention aftermath, 53, 59–62


motives for intervention, 53–59 Operation Just Cause, 52, 53, 58, 61 situation prompting intervention, 49–52 Panama Canal, 54, 58, 61 Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF), 50 Pashtuns, 69 Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan, 91 Paz, Robert, 52 Peace, as result of democracy promotion, 6, 111–113, 117, 131 Peaceful incentives, 128 Peceny, Mark, 112, 114, 118 Pee, Robert, 44 Peksen, Dursun, 119–121 Pelletiere, Stephen, 96 People’s Revolutionary Army, 44 Perle, Richard, 97 Personal freedoms, 13, 81, 91 Peshmerga troops, 88 Plattner, Marc F., 14 Political aid, 61 Political representation identity-based, 90, 91, 100–101 local, 68–69, 77 Political science scholarship, 13–20 Ponzio, Richard J., 71–72 Post-Cold War era antiterrorist focus, 10 optimism toward Forced Democratization, 18 Panama invasion, 50, 57 skepticism toward Forced Democratization, 17–18 Powell, Colin, 67, 88, 93 Project for the New American Century, 95 Public relations, discrediting Noriega, 56–57


R Reagan administration Grenada, 36–38, 41–43, 45 Panama, 50–51, 56, 58 Reagan, Ronald, 36, 37, 39–43 Realist (realpolitik) tradition, 9–11, 73 Regional Security System (RSS), 37 Reid Cabral, Donald, 25, 27 Resistance to directives, 95 Revolutionary Military Council (RMC), 39 Rice, Condoleezza, 73 Rights of individuals, 91, 120 Ropp, Steve C., 59–62 Rubin, Barnett R., 71, 72, 78 Rumsfeld, Donald, 67–68, 96, 99 Russett, Bruce, 110, 113, 128 Russia, 18, 36–37, 41 S Salame, Ghassan, 77 Sanctions, 36, 37, 51, 119–122 Santos, Maria Helena de Castro, 73 Schmidt, John R., 126 Schumpeter, Joseph, 113 Security Afghanistan, 70, 73, 76, 79 domestic, 66 Iraq, 86, 97 motive for intervention, 115, 117, 129–130 national, 71 Self-interest, 9, 116 Self-rule, 66, 77, 79–80, 99 September 11th attacks, 86 “Shadow government” supervision, 61 Shah, Zahir, 69 Sherman, Jake, 77, 78–79 Singapore, 18 Al-Sistani, Ali, 91 Slater, Jerome, 27, 30–32

144  Index Smith, Tony, 17 Soviet Union, 36–37, 42 Spadafora, Winston, 56 Spanier, John, 12 Starr, Harvey (Inquiry, Logic, and International Politics), 108–110 State of the Union address (2003), 88 Stoessinger, John, 12 Surrenders, 53, 88 T Talabani, Jalal, 91 Talentino, Andrea K., 114–115 Taliban, 11, 65, 66, 69, 72, 81 Technology, effects on global conflict, 108 Teixeira, Ulysses Tavares, 73 Thatcher, Margaret, 36, 39 Tikrit (Iraq), 89 Torrijos, Omar, 50 Traditional governance (Afghanistan), 68, 69–70, 71 Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), 90 Trujillo, Rafael, 24 U United Iraqi Alliance, 91 United Nations, 44, 68, 72 United Nations Security Council, 67, 86, 93 United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1441, 86, 87 United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 60, 101 United States Embassy, 28 USS Abraham Lincoln, 89

V Vatican diplomatic mission (Panama City), 53 Vietnam War, influence on U.S. actions, 12, 31 Violence election-related, 31, 91 reduced by democracy, 114 sanctions-related, 119 sectarian, 89 Von Hippel, Karin (Democracy by Force), 17, 44, 45 W Wagging the dog. See Diversionary use of force War, pre-emptive, 73, 75 War on Terror, 73, 74, 81, 86 Way, Lucan A., 121 Weapons of mass destruction, 85–88, 93–96 Weeks, John, 50, 51, 58 Whitehead, Laurence, 6, 17 Wiarda, Howard, 25, 29 Williams, Lethia, 19 Willingness, as motive for intervention, 108, 109–110 Wolff, J., 3–5, 111, 114, 116–118, 130 Wolff & Wurm typology, 3–5 Wolfowitz, Paul, 94, 96, 99 World War II, 1, 6–7 Wurm, I., 3–5, 111, 114, 116–118, 130 Z al-Zarqawi, Abu Musab, 88, 91, 93 Zimbalist, Andrew, 50, 51, 58 Zunes, Stephen, 95