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War and Democratic Constraint

Book Description

Why do some democracies reflect their citizens' foreign policy preferences better than others? What roles do the media, political parties, and the electoral system play in a democracy's decision to join or avoid a war? War and Democratic Constraint shows that the key to how a government determines foreign policy rests on the transmission and availability of information. Citizens successfully hold their democratic governments accountable and a distinctive foreign policy emerges when two vital institutions—a diverse and independent political opposition and a robust media—are present to make timely information accessible.

Matthew Baum and Philip Potter demonstrate that there must first be a politically potent opposition that can blow the whistle when a leader missteps. This counteracts leaders' incentives to obscure and misrepresent. Second, healthy media institutions must be in place and widely accessible in order to relay information from whistle-blowers to the public. Baum and Potter explore this communication mechanism during three different phases of international conflicts: when states initiate wars, when they respond to challenges from other states, or when they join preexisting groups of actors engaged in conflicts.

Examining recent wars, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq, War and Democratic Constraint links domestic politics and mass media to international relations in a brand-new way.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication Page
  5. Contents
  6. List of Figures and Tables
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Chapter 1: Introduction: Looking for Democratic Constraint
    1. Why Democratic Institutions Matter
    2. The Role of Political Information within Democracies
    3. The Recipe for Democratic Constraint
    4. Effects on What?
    5. Moving Forward
  9. Chapter 2: Democracies Are Not Created Equal: A Theory of Democratic Constraint
    1. Information, Accountability, and Principal-Agent Problems
    2. An Uninformed, Inattentive Electorate
    3. Political Opposition as Whistleblowers
    4. Media Institutions and the Transmission of Information
    5. Hearing the Whistleblowers—The Importance of the Press
    6. Bringing Together Information Generation and Transmission
    7. Foreign Policy Responsiveness and International Conflict Behavior
    8. Initiation and the Democratic Peace
    9. Reciprocation and Audience Costs
    10. Coalition Formation
    11. Conclusion and Next Steps
  10. Chapter 3: Democratic Constraint, the Democratic Peace, and Conflict Initiation
    1. Period and Structure of Analysis
    2. Measuring Conflict Initiation
    3. Measuring the Extent of Opposition with Political Parties
    4. Measuring Media Access
    5. Measuring Press Freedom
    6. Additional Controls
    7. Results
    8. Democratic Constraint among Democracies
    9. Alternative Measures of Conflict
    10. The Independent Effects of Opposition and Access
    11. Conclusion
    12. Appendix 1: Statistical Tables and Robustness Tests
    13. Appendix 2: The Role of the Internet
  11. Chapter 4: Looking for Audience Costs in All the Wrong Places: Constraint and Reciprocation
    1. Research Design
    2. Results
    3. Unpacking Militarized Disputes
    4. Compellent Threats
    5. The Problem of Perception
    6. Conclusion
    7. Appendix: Statistical Tables and Robustness Tests
  12. Chapter 5: Willing and Politically Able: Democratic Constraint and Coalition Joining
    1. Iraq (2003): Operation Iraqi Freedom
    2. Afghanistan (2001): Operation Enduring Freedom
    3. Conclusion
    4. Appendix: Statistical Tables and Robustness Tests
  13. Chapter 6: Downs Meets the Press: How Party Systems Shape the News
    1. Mapping News Content onto the Downsian Premise
    2. Cases and Data
    3. Results
    4. 2004 and 2009 European Election Studies (EES)
    5. Conclusion
    6. Appendix: Statistical Tables, Robustness Tests, and Content Analysis Codebook
  14. Chapter 7: Coalition Stories: Cases from the Iraq Coalition
    1. Case Selection
    2. The United Kingdom
    3. Spain
    4. Poland
    5. Germany
    6. Conclusion
  15. Chapter 8: Conclusion: Information, Constraint, and Democratic Foreign Policy
    1. Policy Implications
    2. Recipe for a Watchdog Press: Some Prescriptions for Media Ownership
    3. Technological Change, the Internet, and Satellite Television
    4. Moving Forward
  16. References
  17. Index