The affairs of others
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Are there different costs for intervening on behalf of opposition groups than on behalf of government groups in civil conflict? Existing literature has focused on intervening generally, rather than assessing the different motivations and implications for intervening on behalf of government or opposition groups in civil conflict. Intervention on behalf of an opposition group is a clear violation of sovereignty; these kinds of interventions suggest that states are willing to engage in internal political change in a sovereign state. Violating sovereignty, arguably the foundational norm in foreign policy and international relations theory, is especially costly. I find that interventions on behalf of rebel groups to be systematically different than interventions on behalf of rebel groups. The second part of this dissertation divides the decision to intervene into two stages. Work stemming from Most and Starr (1989) suggest that states need the opportunity and the willingness to intervene in civil conflict consists of two stages, the opportunity to intervene and the willingness to intervene. In line with Clark and Regan’s (2003) work on interstate war, I argue that defining opportunities to intervene in civil conflict is a crucial part of research on interventions. Using an estimator developed by Bagozzi (Forthcoming), this analysis aligns theoretical expectations about the opportunities available for intervention and the willingness of states to engage in intervention with quantitative analysis. In line with previous research, I show that power status and distance from the conflict impact the opportunity for states to intervene in civil conflict. Having defined relevant opportunities econometrically, I show that previously employed factors have markedly different impacts on states’ willingness to engage in opposition and government sided interventions.