An Interpretation to End All Wars? U.S. Public Perceptions of International Organizations and the American Use of Force Beatriz Hayes-Meizoso
The Pursuit of Greatness: American Power and the Opening of Japan Matthew King
Suicide Terror: Context and Evolution from 1982-2015
Volume VI Issue 1 Spring 2016
D PSS Duke Political Science Standard
DUKE POLITICAL SCIENCE STANDARD
VOLUME VI ISSUE 1 Daniel Dorchuck Co-Editor-in-Chief Jay Ruckelshaus Co-Editor-in-Chief Emily Berntsen Editor Aron Rimanyi Editor Eliza Warner Editor
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Special thanks to the Duke Political Science faculty for their generous support and to Vilay Nidiffer for the cover design and layout. Cover photo by Shaun King. The Duke Political Science Standard publishes full-length academic papers related to the study of political science. All essays that appear in this issue will also be available for viewing on the Duke Political Science website: https://polisci.duke.edu/undergraduate/current-students
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VOLUME VI ISSUE 1
Table of Contents
Letter from the Editor 7 An Interpretation to End All Wars? U.S. Public Perceptions of International Organizations and the American Use of Force Beatriz Hayes-Meizoso 9 The Pursuit of Greatness: American Power and the Opening of Japan Matthew King 29 Suicide Terror: Context and Evolution from 1982â&#x20AC;&#x201C;2015 Jenna Hymowitz 39
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Dear Reader, It is our honor to present to you the sixth edition of the Duke Political Science Standard. The Standard provides an excellent showcase of the extraordinary efforts of many of the best and brightest students here at Duke University who have committed themselves to pushing the frontiers of research and scholarship in the many fields of political science. In reviewing all of this year’s submissions, we were greatly impressed with the extent of students’ commitment to research and scholarship, and the process of determining which papers we would print was a difficult one. Ultimately, we feel that the pieces selected illustrate the breadth, quality, and intellectual rigor of the Political Science Department. This edition of The Standard includes papers covering a wide spectrum of engaging topics within the fields of political science, from the effects of international organizations on U.S. public opinion on military engagements, the politics of suicide terrorism, and the international relations theory underpinning the U.S.’s “opening of Japan”. We would like to recognize and thank the countless people who have contributed their time to the continued success of this publication. As always, we must express our sincere gratitude to Ms. Suzanne Pierce. Her unwavering support of this publication since its inception has allowed The Standard to continue to grow in prominence and prestige. Additionally, we would like to thank the Duke University Political Science Department, without which none of this would be possible. The Duke Political Science Standard is one of the few journals of its kind in the entire country, and we are deeply honored and humbled to have served Duke by working for its publication. It is our hope that you will find the collection of works in this edition intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking, and that The Standard will continue to nurture the culture of scholarly engagement in the wider Duke community.
Daniel Dorchuck & Jay Ruckelshaus Co-Editors-in-Chief
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AN INTERPRETATION TO END ALL WARS? U.S. PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND THE AMERICAN USE OF FORCE Beatriz Hayes-Meizoso Duke University, Trinity ‘16 ABSTRACT Do Americans value international organizations (IOs) such as the UNSC and NATO? In this research paper, I find that, all else being equal, Americans are more likely to support a military mission proposed by their president if it has the support of one or more IOs than if it has none. However, I also find that they tend to value practical aid and burden-sharing from institutions like NATO more than normative aid and theoretical authorization from institutions like the UNSC. These findings corroborate those of D. Brooks and S. Brooks (n.d.) which suggest that above all it is the burden-sharing, not the institutional backing that Americans value. I also find support for the hypothesis which proposes that Americans primarily view the support of the UNSC as a “second opinion” * or a sign of legitimacy, rather than as one of legality, in the way that most European countries interpret it. I then conclude by discussing the implications this will have on future peacekeeping efforts and how IOs can use this to their advantage, to help influence the United States, a country which, as the world’s largest military power, has been hard to constrain in the past. *
This terminology is borrowed from Grieco et al. (2011).
n his Nobel Laureate acceptance speech of 1950, the American political scientist Ralph Bunche described the United Nations as “our one great hope for a peaceful and free world”. Today, over seven decades later, even the organization’s former Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has described the U.N. as “increasingly irrelevant on the international stage,” in particular when it comes to the use of force by member states. As a twentieth-century organization, it seems, the United Nations is hopelessly inef-
fective at addressing twenty-first century security threats, and therefore must be reformed or replaced if the world is to become peaceful and stable once again. How, then, can we begin to fix the “broken” international security regime? Prior to answering this complex and important question, we must first ask a much more general question, namely: how do international organizations (IOs), like the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in9
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fluence world politics?1 Understanding the mechanisms of influence that are available to these institutions for the purpose of shaping international outcomes is a necessary first step in the path towards building new principles of global peace and stability. One new but significant line of research to that end, pioneered by Putnam (1988), argues that IOs do indeed influence the actions of state and state actors, but not via the direct channels of influence that have typically been proposed2. Instead, this second vein of literature explores how international institutions might indirectly affect the domestic conditions in which state or regional leaders operate, most notably by constraining their ability to go to war against other countries. Simply put, this theory contends that democratic state leaders are constrained, by their desire to get re-elected, to adopt policy objectives and strategies that are in line with domestic public opinion. In turn, when it comes to going to war, said public opinion tends to be influenced by the positions expressed by international organizations on a particular conflict in a direct manner. To put the same point differently: all else equal, there will be a higher level of public support for a 1 The present study deals exclusively with intergovernmental organizations, specifically with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, since this term has not yet been employed or defined in any major multilateral treaties, such as the 1969 and 1986 Vienna Conventions, I shall instead refer to these types of organizations as “international organizations” or IOs, since this is the terminology that is employed in the aforementioned multilateral treaties and other similar international instruments. 2
For examples of works in the former direct channels of influence theory, see Abbott and Snidal (1998), Keohane (1984); or Stein (1982). An excellent overview of this type of scholarship can also be found in Grieco et al. (2011).
proposed war within the warring countries if one or more international organizations (for example, the UNSC or NATO), has expressed its agreement with said war than if none has. While this new vein of literature has made significant progress in addressing the question of whether IOs matter in international affairs, hardly any work has been done that addresses the underlying mechanism through which this occurs; that explains how IOs influence world politics by affecting public opinion. In fact, previous works disagree on what aspect of IO endorsement(s)3 leads the public to follow them when forming opinions on proposed military interventions. Scholars in this line of research have presented several distinct (and seemingly conflicting) interpretations of what the public primarily understands an IO endorsement to signify: a formal confirmation regarding the legality of the mission, a “second opinion” agreeing with the prudence or wisdom of the mission, or a promise of material support from other states who will “share the burden” of the mission. Building on these important findings, the present thesis project hopes to make significant contributions to this theoretical trajectory and reconcile the divergent accounts just mentioned by comparing how effective each mechanism is as an instrument for shaping public opinion. In other words, is the capacity of international organizations to influence public opinion, and by exBy “IO endorsements” I am referring to those cases where international organizations such as these express their position of support – whether theoretical or material – towards a proposed military intervention of one state against another. In terms of the U.N., this would be in the form of a UNSC resolution authorizing the proposed intervention, while NATO endorsements are typically more of a material kind. I explain this in more depth later in this paper, but use this term interchangeably with “IO authorization” and “institutional cues” throughout this work.
tension influence state behavior, somewhat constrained by how individuals in a particular state interpret specific IO endorsements for wars? For example, is the influential power of the UNSC on public opinion stronger in a country that takes its Resolutions to mean legal permission (in the way certain European countries do), or rather in a country that takes these same resolutions to be a “second opinion” on whether the use of force is warranted (in the way that certain scholars and members of the public do in the United States)? These are the questions that I aim to shed light on in what follows. Taken as an abstraction, the research puzzle just outlined may seem unnecessarily complex or excessively theoretical. However, the converse is true: the main significance of this question is practical in nature, since, in the past decade, there have been multiple cases of disagreements among countries about what an IO endorsement signifies, and, more generally, about the legal limits on the use of force by sovereign states. From the Kosovo intervention of 1999 to the present disagreement over what is to be done in Syria, one thing is clear: there needs to be a “greater degree of common understanding, particularly among governments, as to what the rules [of international law regarding the use of force] are” (Wood 2013, 367). Even more importantly, as this same passage later remarks, “this is not just a case of reconciling the views of developing countries with the developed, or the countries of the nonaligned movement with […],” but rather, “there are important differences among European countries, and between the United States and others” (Wood 2013, 367). As we can see from the damage done and the resulting situation that currently exists, such dif-
ferences in opinion clearly undermine the stability of the international order and the global security that the UNSC and NATO were devised to safeguard. Short of introducing a completely new system of international law and security, moreover, there is little improvement to be made by drafting new treaties and documents, or professing abstract declarations at the United Nations (Wood 2013; Simma 1999). Instead, the shift towards a greater coherence must come from the bottom-up, so that “greater common understanding will be built case by case, through discussions among governments, and through debate with and within civil society and the academic world,” much like the debate introduced by this very paper (Wood 2013, 367). Five years into the Syrian civil war, and with the recent ISIL bombings in Brussels and Ankara bringing global terrorism death tolls to record-high levels that show no sign of abating soon, answering these questions and paving the way to a more efficient peacekeeping system is more important now than ever before. In this paper, I first review the existing literature on the subject, and explain where my paper fits in to the puzzle, and how it improves on other work. I specify how the main lacunae I hope to fill is the one whereby no one has compared how different interpretations of IO endorsements affect the level of support that these institutions are capable of generating when it comes to going to war. Next, I outline three distinctions between different interpretations of IO support that exist both in the literature and have presented themselves in historical reality in the past. From these, I draw out three important hypotheses and explain how I shall test them using a rigorous data collection method and empirical methodology that both help 11
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me ensure the reliability of my results. To conclude, I highlight the results of my survey experiment and infer the implications of these, which I argue apply not just to researchers but can be of practical help to NATO and the UNSC when it comes to making their peacekeeping efforts more effective.
LITERATURE REVIEW The topic of IOs and their role in the global order has been one of the primary questions addressed by international relations literature for almost half a century. Given this richness of scholarship, it is important to specify where the present paper fits in, and how it hopes to improve our theoretical understanding of IOs and their capacity to shape global affairs. Broadly speaking, this paper belongs to a wider category of scholarship on the subject of IOs that I will henceforth call the “Indirect Channels of Public Opinion” theory. Emerging in the late 1990s, this theory is centered around the assertion that IOs indirectly affect world affairs, concretely because IOs shape public opinion(s), and public opinion(s) determine – to some extent, at least – the foreign policy strategies adopted by democratic state leaders. For instance, some scholars in this branch of literature have suggested that IOs matter in international politics because they provide information to domestic voters regarding the trade and commerce policies of their leaders (Mansfield and Milner 2012). Similarly, other scholars propose that IOs can influence the domestic legal conditions in which judicial and political leaders frame policy choices (Goldstein et al. 2001). Still others have shown that inter-
national human rights treaties incite citizens of some countries to demand better treatment from their governments (Simmons 2009).4 Within the “Indirect Channels of Public Opinion” theory, there has begun to emerge a more specific account which applies this theory to the subject of military missions to foreign countries. More specifically, it asserts that, when it comes to going to war, all else being equal, the public is more likely to support a proposed military intervention if it has been endorsed by one or more IOs than if it has not. For example, Chapman and Reiter (2004) contend that, when U.S. military action is authorized by a UNSC resolution, Americans will rally more strongly behind the president than when it is not. Using ordinary least squares regression, they analyze data from U.S. military involvement in disputes from 1945 to 2001, finding that “the support of UN Security Council significantly increased rallies ‘round the president by as much as 8 or 9 [percentage] points” (906). Similarly, Chapman (2007) and Fang (2008) present game-theoretic analyses that formalize and generalize this perspective, demonstrating that a rational public could use signals from IOs to determine whether they should reward or punish their leaders for the use of military force. The problem with these works is their use of observational study designs and macro-level5 data, which investigators collected from exist4
This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather is condensed in the interest of space economy. For more complete survey of the works in this vein of literature, see Grieco et al. 2011. 5 Macro-level (or aggregate) data can be defined as a survey or census data in which the unit of observation is compiled summary statistics (such as a mean or proportion). Micro-level data (or individual-level data) in contrast, is census or survey data where the unit of observation is the individual, and information is recorded about each individual (such as their response to a specific prompt), rather than about the population in the sample at large.
ing datasets, without interfering with how the data arose. As Tingley and Tomz (2012) mention, these types of studies can only demonstrate some correlation between two variables, they are not sufficient to show causal connections like the ones the “Indirect Channels of Public Opinion” theory necessitates. Consequently, most of the scholarship within this vein of literature, though insightful and indeed accurate, cannot, on its own, amount to more than mere conjecture, since the correlation between IO endorsements and increased public support for wars could be spurious. To put the same point differently, we cannot infer an independent causal effect from mere historical evidence of this sort. Recognizing these limits of the inferential and explanatory capacity of observational data and historical sources, more recent works in this vein of literature have turned to survey experiments to test their theories. The first work of its kind, Grieco et al. (2011) fielded a survey-based experiment that examined support for a hypothetical American intervention in East Timor, where half the respondents were told that “the UN Security Council and our NATO allies” favored the operation, and the other half were told that these two organizations opposed it. They found that support for the mission was substantially higher when the UNSC and NATO sided with the president than when they did not. Overall, Grieco et al. (2011) conclude that: “international institutions can affect domestic support for military action by providing a valuable ‘second opinion’ on the proposed use of force” (563). Meanwhile, Chapman (2011, 121) employed the same type of methodology by presenting college students with a series of hypothetical situations regarding the American use of force. In each
situation, he told half the sample that the UNSC had voted to allow the US government to use military force, and told the other half that the UNSC had voted against taking the proposed military measures (122). In this scenario and others, Chapman recounts how support for military action was “significantly higher” when the UNSC had voted for the war than when it had voted against it. Highlighting how “each [of these two experiments] has certain limitations,” Tingley and Tomz (2012) designed a new public opinion survey “to shed new light on whether and how the UNSC shapes public opinion” (11). Their paper builds on the findings of Chapman (2011) and Grieco et al. (2011) by testing “the variety of mechanisms by which the UNSC could affect public opinion” (11). More specifically, Tingley and Tomz (2012) identify three different reasons why a UNSC resolution that authorizes military action could influence public opinion: (1) people might “view the resolution as a signal that military force is warranted; as an indication that other nations will foot part of the military bill; or as a public promise that they feel an obligation to uphold.” (1)6 In this sense, their work is the most similar one to this paper, since they focus on testing the different effects of each causal mechanism, rather than simply taking one causal mechanism and testing whether it holds or not. However, unlike this one, they do not compare how each interpretation fares in terms of influencing public opinion, but instead treat them as mutually exclusive options. At the end of their experiment, they conclude that the “signal-of merit theory,” which Grieco et al. (2011) and Chapman (2011) defend, 6
For shorthand, I will use the same abbreviations of these complicated mechanisms that Tingley and Tomz do: the “merit mechanism,” the “burden-sharing mechanism” and the “public commitment mechanism.”
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“received surprisingly little support” in their data (25). Meanwhile, the burden sharing theory “was consistent with some aspects of the data, but ultimately failed several crucial tests,” leaving public commitment theory as the one which “accorded most closely” with their data (25). In short, their final conclusion is that “UNSC authorizations signal collective commitments, which citizens want to fulfill independent of any beliefs about the cost of the mission and the likelihood of success” (25). Although all three pieces of scholarship are important first strides in the new theoretical perspective mentioned, none of these actually compares how the existing different interpretations of IO endorsements affect public support for wars. For example, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 consistently had more public support among American citizens than among French ones, and consequently was opposed by French leaders yet supported by U.S. ones. It is no coincidence that the populations and governments of these two countries also showed conflicting views on whether the Iraq war of 2003 was legal or not: members of the French public took it to be illegal because of how they understand IO endorsements and their meaning, therefore opposing the mission, while members of the US public did not understand the lack of a UNSC endorsement as signaling illegality of the mission, and therefore were more in favor of it.7 Finally, a more recent work that is of relevance to this project is that of D. Brooks and S. Brooks (n.d.), which “punctures the conventional wisdom among scholars and pollsters that the American public places a strong positive value on To be sure, the argument here is not that this was the only reason for the Franco-American leadership split on views regarding the Iraq war, but rather that it might be one of several factors that contribute in determining the actions of states when it comes to going to war.
receiving institutional endorsements for military actions.” Opposing the orthodox view that it is the ‘brand name’ or reputation of the institutions that Americans value when it comes to military interventions, they find that previous works have conflated institutional endorsements and burden sharing when considering public support for war. To support their theory, they use an experiment with a large-N, geographically representative sample of U.S. adults, in which they simultaneously vary both the degree of institutional endorsement and the presence or absence of material support from other states. Their findings are striking: while burden sharing does significantly increase public approval for war, it is the “material contribution of other states” that the American people value, and not the “institutional backing” itself. This last finding is particularly important, not just because it challenges the reigning paradigm here outlined, but also because, methodologically speaking, it is the most sound among the existing works. This adds credibility and strength to the argument that D. Brooks and S. Brooks (n.d.) are putting forward. To summarize, then, only the works of Grieco et al. (2011), Chapman (2011), Tingley and Tomz (2012) and D. Brooks and S. Brooks (n.d.) use an empirical methodology that is sufficiently rigorous to infer causality from their results. While the first two works find that the public views IO endorsements as a “second opinion” regarding the prudence of the military mission, the third one by Tingley and Tomz (2012) finds that the public views these as a “public commitment” that they feel obliged to uphold. However, none of these three works clearly distinguish the UNSC, which offers theoretical support in the form of Resolutions, from NATO which offers material
support in the form of allied troops, money, and other similar resources to help “share the burden” of the mission. Furthermore, D. Brooks and S. Brooks find that it is this “sharing of burden,” not the institutional backing, that the public values, which makes answering the question of how IOs generate public support all the more worthwhile. It is this question which I investigate in the next section.
THEORY At the broadest level, the aforementioned sources, as well as many others, all agree that the United States has a preference for multilateralism (Grieco et al. 2011, Chapman 2011, Tingley and Tomz 2012, D. Brooks and S. Brooks n.d.). This theory is supported by data from public opinion polls, according to an extensive investigation carried out by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in 2009. Whether it is the institutional backing, as some of the scholarship argues, or the material support, as other scholars contend, that Americans value, we would expect this preference for multilateralism to translate to a preference for institutional support for wars. Therefore, a first hypothesis of this investigation is that the findings of previous works are correct, or, to put the same point differently: H1: All else being equal, US citizens will be more favorable to an invasion if there is international institutional support for the mission than if there is none. What kind of institutional support, then, do Americans prefer? Increasingly, there is more and more both scholarly and policy evidence to
suggest that the U.S. has a preference for practical forms of support, like the allied troops or monetary aid that is typically supplied by NATO when one of its member states is involved in a military dispute. In other words, citizens expect to pay less if coalition partners have pledged to share the human and military costs of defeating an adversary. Since this type of support is typically offered by NATO, which has its own armed forces and resources to supply, rather than by the UNSC, which depends on ad hoc provision of these by member states, we would expect the US to prefer having NATO material aid than UNSC resolutions in its war efforts. To be sure, however, the point to be made here is not about which of the two institutions (NATO or the UNSC) yields more public support (though this could be interesting for future researchers to pursue), but rather about seeing whether troops, money, and other physical resources are a bigger consideration for Americans than the existence of UNSC resolution(s) that authorize the mission. This last point brings us to the second hypothesis that the present investigation hopes to prove: H2: All else being equal, the US public will support a war effort more strongly if there is practical support (such as weapons, troops, and similar resources) from other countries for the mission than if there is only normative support (such as symbolic statements or resolutions). In light of the second hypothesis, a third question worth examining is how Americans value UNSC resolutions, which only offer normative support for military missions. According to international law, such resolutions should be sought after, and, save in exceptional circumstances, ob15
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tained, before entering in armed combat. Interestingly, said law, which is stipulated by the United Nations Charter, has not been interpreted in the same manner by all countries. For example, a 2011 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that “when asked whether their country should have UN approval before using military force to deal with international threats, American opinion differs considerably from that of Western Europeans” (3). Americans were almost perfectly divided on the matter, with 44% of respondents answering that getting or obtaining “UN approval would make it too difficult to deal with threats,” while 45% of respondents said that their country “should have UN approval” before engaging in these conflicts (3). This paints a starkly different picture compared to the responses recorded in Western European countries, where solid majorities said their country should have UN approval before it takes military action, including 74% of respondents in Spain and 76% of those in Germany (3). In other words, the U.S. was the only country polled where more than one third of responses were negative, which corresponds to the factual reality, in which U.S. and European leaders and policymakers have often argued over whether a military operation would be legal or not without UNSC authorization. Instead of this legality interpretation, members of the U.S. public, when it comes to interpreting a UNSC resolution, have typically conceived that it is a question of legitimacy or prudence: something that is helpful to have, when possible, but not strictly necessary. From this, we might derive a third hypothesis worth investigating, namely: H3: All else being equal, if the UNSC
passes a resolution in favor of a particular U.S.-led war effort, the US public will be more supportive of said war effort if it interprets resolutions as a credible sign of legitimacy or a “second opinion” than if it interprets resolutions as legal authorizations for going to war. Tying the various points in this discussion together, there are three distinct interpretations that Americans might hold of IO support for wars. First, what I will henceforth call the material burden-sharing interpretation, which corresponds to support from NATO; second, what I will henceforth call the legality interpretation, which corresponds to resolutions from the UNSC member states; and third, the legitimacy interpretation, which also corresponds to resolutions from the UNSC. In this regard, the research question specified in the previous section becomes twofold. First, is there a significant difference in US public opinion of wars among individuals who hold the material burden-sharing interpretation and those who hold the normative interpretation of legality or legitimacy? We would expect that there would be, and, in light of the findings by D. Brooks and S. Brooks (n.d.), that those individuals holding the burden-sharing interpretation would be more responsive to IO cues for wars than those holding the two normative interpretations of legality and legitimacy. Second, is there a significant difference in US public opinion of wars among individuals who hold the legality interpretation and those who espouse the legitimacy interpretation? Once again, we would expect that there would be, and that those of the legitimacy interpretation would be more supportive of wars than those of the le-
gality interpretation. These are the two questions that are investigated by the research design and corresponding methods outlined in the next two sections.
DATA AND SOURCES The overall research approach devised to adequately answer this question was an original survey based experiment that asked a simple random sample of 1000 adults (18+) their opinion on a hypothetical US foreign military intervention abroad. There were four slightly different versions of the survey, titled A, B, C and D, each of which was randomly administered to 250 respondents, or one quarter of the total respondents, thereby dividing them into one control group, who received survey A, and three treatment groups, T1, T2 and T3, who received surveys B, C, and D, respectively. It is worth highlighting that the study was blind, to ensure that none of the respondents was aware that there were multiple variants of the survey, much less did they know whether theirs was the control or one of the three treatments. The survey was conducted through a research firm called GfK, specifically through their web-enabled KnowledgePanel Omnibus service, a probability-based panel that is designed to be representative of the US population. Initially, participants are chosen scientifically by a random selector of telephone numbers and residential addresses. Then, persons in selected households are then invited by telephone or mail to participate in the web-enabled Knowledge Panel. GfK goes to extra lengths to ensure that that the sample is representative of the US population at large, a condition which they guarantee as part of
their service contract. For those individuals who agree to participate but do not have internet access, for instance, GfK provides a laptop and ISP connection at no cost, so that the study will not be biased towards those who have internet access at home (which probably correlates with those who are wealthier). People who already have computers and Internet service, meanwhile, are permitted to participate using their own equipment. The surveys all prompted respondents with the same initial scenario, which read as follows: Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot of talk these days about American military and economic policies abroad. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to get your thoughts on these issues by exploring an imaginary situation. Suppose you hear on the news that the President of the United States (who is not Barack Obama anymore) has decided to intervene militarily in a foreign country. However, the imminent intervention is in an obscure country, country X, and you are not familiar with any aspect of its geopolitical situation.
Once this scene was set, however, the surveys then prompted each group of respondents with a different cue (or lack thereof) for the proposed military mission. The control group was not given any further information, and members in this group were instead told that: You only know that the President has decided to intervene because he deems it necessary to follow this path of action. You do not know anything beyond this about the motive for the intervention â&#x20AC;&#x201C; official or otherwise.
The three treatment groups, on the other hand,
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were prompted with one of two IO cues (either a UNSC Resolution endorsing the intervention or NATO declarations of support for it). Survey B (group T1), for example, told respondents that there was a UNSC resolution in favor of the intervention, and instructed them to adopt the legality interpretation of this cue, saying: A few days later, you learn that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved the President’s proposed use of force against country X with a formal Resolution. For the purposes of this survey, interpret this authorization as a certification that the intervention is legal under the existing principles of international law (and as nothing further).
Similarly, Survey C (group T2) also contained a positive cue in the form of a UNSC Resolution in favor of the mission. This time, however, participants were instructed to adopt the prudence interpretation, expressed as follows: For the purposes of this survey, interpret this authorization as a credible signal that the UNSC members believe the intervention is likely to succeed, and is therefore wise or prudent (and as nothing further).
Last but not least, Survey D (group T3) told respondents that there was NATO support for the mission, and instructed them to interpret this message as the material burden-sharing interpretation. More specifically, this third treatment said that: A few days later, you discover that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has agreed to support the US mission in country X. For the purposes of this survey, interpret this support as being material aid (such as soldiers, weapons, etc.)
for the mission from other NATO countries (and as nothing further).
Once these four scenes were set, each respondent was asked whether he or she would support the intervention or not, with the following five answers to choose from: I would strongly support the President’s decision. I would somewhat support the President’s decision. I would somewhat oppose the President’s decision. I would strongly oppose the President’s decision. I am unsure and/or I decline to answer.
The number of respondents who selected each answer was then tallied for each interpretation, and GfK also recorded the following demographic characteristics of each respondent: sex, age, income, region, marital status, race/ethnicity, employment status, education level, home ownership, housing type, head of household, and family size/composition. There are several advantages to the data that this study will use. The most evident advantage is posed by the specific variations of the survey (in other words, the concrete treatments) that were devised and included in this experiment. For example, by including a control group survey which did not mention anything about authorization or support from any IOs, the survey becomes experimental in nature as opposed to observational. The fact that it is an experimental study design rather than observational, in turn, as most of the first works in this line of research were, enables us to make causal inferences from the results that we collect. Therefore, although many previous works in the theory have found there to be a “strong association” or a “very large correlation” between IO cues and public opinion regarding wars, there
is nonetheless a chance that the former could be spurious and the latter could be due to chance or random error. It is not until we examine all these prior theories with the appropriate empirical tests and literature that they can be confirmed. Having a representative sample in an experiment like this one is particularly advantageous, because it is easy for convenience samples to be biased. For example, according to a public opinion poll by the Pew Research Center, those with higher education levels are more likely to demand UN approval before agreeing to support the president in a military mission. It is perhaps for this reason that Chapman (2011), who only interviewed college students, obtained such robust results in support of his hypothesis that Americans value the UNSC’s approval of missions as a “second opinion” confirming the prudence of the mission. When Americans of all educational levels are included, we would expect NATO support to be more valuable than UNSC authorization. On a more practical level, the inclusion of a third treatment with NATO support and purely material aid is also beneficial, in that it will reveal whether the US public has a tendency towards the material aspect of IO support (as Brooks and Brooks Forthcoming argue), or rather towards the normative aspect of IO endorsement highlighted by treatment 1 and treatment 2 with the UNSC. As the world’s largest military power, the United States has proven hard for IOs to restrict in the past: a particularly salient example of this is the Iraq war of 2003, when the US carried out a military intervention in Iraq without having UNSC authorization for the mission, and with opposition from many countries. Since the purpose of NATO is collective security, and as a regional IO it is nominally sub-
ject to the authority of the UN (a global IO and the highest authority when it comes to the use of force), the instances when the UNSC, whose very purpose is peacekeeping, fails to prevent international conflicts in this way, are all the more harmful for its legitimacy and efficiency in its operations. Hence, understanding the respective effectiveness of theoretical and practical cues, and of the US public opinion of NATO versus that of the UNSC, will illuminate a new potential pathway for the UN to improve its efficiency and be more successful in containing US use of military force, namely by providing a specific definition in the UN Charter that equates UNSC endorsements for military interventions as being those that sway public opinion the most. On a more technical level, the method incorporates the three principles of experimental design, namely randomization (random assignment of subjects to treatment groups), replication (collecting a sample sufficiently large to accurately estimate the effect of the explanatory variable on the study variable), and controlling (controlling of differences between groups that could affect the results). Randomization, on one hand, was fulfilled by assigning respondents to treatment groups based on the survey they received, since the administration of surveys was also entirely random. This helped “even out” differences among the groups that could not be controlled for, and also helped prevent accidental bias from entering the study. The fact that the study was blind, moreover, further prevented bias from affecting the experiment results in this way. The sample size of 1000 respondents fulfilled the replication principle, since said size decreased the margin of error for the proportions corre19
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sponding to each group to approximately 3.1%, under simple random sampling and a 95% confidence level. In other words, using this sample size, if the sample proportion of support for the war was of 40%, there would be a 95% chance that the proportion of support for the war among all Americans was between 36.9% and 43.1%, allowing for a very accurate prediction. In addition, GfK guaranteed that the sample pool is representative of the US population at large, and thus the conclusions of the study can accurately be generalized to apply to all Americans. The control principle, meanwhile, was fulfilled by several attributes of the initial survey content, which was the same for all four versions. Firstly, specifying that Barack Obama is no longer the President of the United States helped control for any pre-conceived opinions that respondents might have had regarding President Obama and that might have affected whether they chose to support the President in the hypothetical scenario. Secondly, the surveys omitted the name of the other state by referring to it as “country X,” which also prevented pre-conceived views from influencing the subject’s answer, as might have occurred if a real country had been named. Thirdly, by instructing the respondent to assume that (s) he knows nothing about the President’s motive for using force in this scenario, the survey controlled for ethical considerations regarding the ends of the intervention. All three of these factors of course do affect public opinion on wars in reality, but in the context of this experiment they would have acted as extraneous variables that were not of interest and might have influenced the outcome(s) of the study. As Keohane, King, and Verba (1996) put it, there is no such thing as the perfect study design, 20
thus implying certain inevitable flaws for this one, too. For example, one important limitation it exhibits is that that it was impossible to know the extent to which the surveyed individuals adopted the interpretation specified in their survey or treatment. For example, suppose an individual received survey C (which said that there was a UNSC resolution authorizing the proposed intervention, and instructed the respondents to adopt the prudence interpretation) and reported that (s) he would not support the President in the hypothetical intervention. In this case, the present study assumes that the respondent indeed did adopt this interpretation and, based on that, decided not to support the mission. However, it could also be the case that the respondent had some preconceived interpretation(s) of what UNSC resolutions mean, on which (s)he based his or her decision. In other words, there is a chance that this study exaggerated or overrepresented how much the capacity of international organizations to influence public opinion was constrained by interpretations of IO endorsements. A second challenge to this study is that the sample size was largely reduced by the number of people who chose not to respond, which amounted to around half the respondents in each group. This decreased the confidence level expressed above and increased the margin of error of the study significantly. However, following instructions, GfK weighted the results so that this margin was reduced back to 3 percentage points, thus maintaining the core reliability of the study. Indeed, these two shortcomings are not meaningless, but were largely inevitable because of the time and resource constraints imposed on this study, since it was an undergraduate thesis and
therefore had limited opportunities for improvement and extension available. Thus, given these limits, the shortcomings of the study are relatively small, and could easily be amended by future researchers. All in all, then, it is reasonable to assert that this study is an effective first attempt at examining the effect of different interpretations on the capacity of IOs to constrain public opinion when it comes to going to war. As we will now see upon highlighting the results of this study, our predictions were met on every occasion, which only strengthens the case to be made for this research question and analysis type.
METHODS The specific methodology used in this study was a statistical hypothesis test of the difference between two proportions. It is thus worthwhile to break down the three testable hypotheses made and outline the null and alternate hypotheses for each test. It is important to specify that, in order to compare the average levels of support to those of opposition for each group, we pooled the number of respondents who said “strongly support” and “somewhat support” into a single group called “support,” and recorded the percentage of all respondents constituted by these two cohorts. Likewise, the respondents in the “strongly oppose” and “somewhat oppose” cohorts were pooled into a single group called “oppose,” and the corresponding percentage of all respondents was recorded. Moreover, we carried out both one-tailed tests in both directions and a two-tailed test for all three hypotheses, totaling nine statistical tests in total. To recapitulate, our first hypothesis (H1) was
that all else being equal, US citizens will be more favorable to an invasion if there is institutional support for the mission than if there is none. Since there were three treatment groups in our experiment that were told that there was institutional support for the mission, and one control group that was not told this, we found the average amount of support for all three groups (T1, T2 and T3), and compared this to the amount of support in the control group. In this case then, we are working with two proportions P1 and P2, where P1 is the average proportion of respondents across the three treatment groups (T1, T2 and T3) that said they would support the hypothetical mission, whereas P2 can be defined as the proportion
of people who chose this answer in the control group. Our null hypothesis (H01) and alternate hypothesis (HA1), then, were as follows: H01: P1 = P2 HA1: P1 > P2 On a deeper level, the second hypothesis that
this investigation proposed was that: all else being equal, the US public will support a war effort more strongly if there is practical support (such as weapons, troops, and similar resources) from other countries for the mission than if there is only normative support (such as symbolic statements or resolutions). Correspondingly, in our study, there was one group (T3) which received a cue containing practical support (from NATO), compared to two groups (T1 and T2) which received cues containing theoretical support (from the UNSC). Once again, in order to compare the two groups, we found the average support levels of T1 and T2, and compared these to the average support levels in T3. In this case then, we are working with two proportions P1 and P2, where 21
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P1 is the proportion of respondents in T3 that said
they would support the hypothetical mission, whereas P2 can be defined as the average proportion of people who chose this answer in the remaining two treatment groups, T1 and T2. Our null (H02) and alternate hypothesis (HA2) for the second hypothesis test were therefore as follows: H02: P1 = P2 HA2: P1 > P2
Last but not least, the third hypothesis that this investigation proposed was that: all else being equal, if the UNSC passes a Resolution in favor of a particular U.S.-led military effort, the US public will be more supportive of said military effort if it interprets resolutions as a credible sign of legitimacy or a â&#x20AC;&#x153;second opinionâ&#x20AC;? than if it interprets resolutions as legal authorizations for military action. Since we had specific treatment groups that probed the levels of support for the legality and legitimacy interpretations already (T1 and T2, respectively), it was not necessary to do any averaging in this case. Rather, the levels of support in T1 were merely compared with the levels of support in T2. In this case then, we are working with two proportions P1 and P2, where P1 is
the proportion of respondents in T2 that said they would support the hypothetical mission, whereas P2 can be defined as the proportion of people who chose this answer in T1. We thus tested this hypothesis using the following null (H03) and alternate (HA3) hypotheses: H03: P1 = P2 HA3: P1 > P2 Before moving on to report the results of this investigation and discuss their implications, it is imperative to specify the strengths and limitations
of the methodological strategy just described, which contains nine hypothesis tests, or three for each prediction. This will enable us to place the results in a more accurate context. The most evident advantage of this methodology is its rigor, since we carried out three different tests for each prediction. This ensures that the results obtained are not due to the type of test selected, but rather that their significance is robust across the different tests. One disadvantage of the methods used here is that they do not take full advantage of all the demographic data collected, which might have revealed interesting traits beyond the predictions and specific tests desired. Unfortunately, the number of tests we were able to execute was limited by the time and resource constraints imposed on this study, and thus had to be limited to three regular hypothesis tests per prediction. However, since the data was collected and coded in an electronic format, and will be made available, this is something that future investigations can study. Again, as was the case with the data collection methodology, these methods, albeit not perfect, are arguably the most complete and most appropriate option available for testing the data, given the limitations of this study. While they may not be perfect, they nonetheless enable us to make important first strides in identifying what the best interpretation of IO support is, in such a way that might effectively constrain US foreign policy.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION In this section, I outline the results of both the survey experiment and the hypothesis tests, and then interpret their implications. Overall, I find
that there is support for all three of my hypotheses, though the support for some is stronger and more robust than that of others. First, the table below illustrates the proportions of respondents who answered that they would “somewhat support” or “strongly support” the president in the hypothetical military mission described (pooled into a single category of “support”), and the proportions of respondents who answered that they would “somewhat oppose” or “strongly oppose” the president in this same mission (pooled into a single category of “oppose”). In addition, we included the average of groups T1, T2 and T3 that we used to compare to the control group in the first hypothesis test, as well as the average of groups T1 and T2, that we compared T3 in the second hypothesis test. Each percentage is recorded as a decimal smaller than one (1), and binned by treatment. In terms of the first hypothesis test, our results
strongly corroborated the findings of previous works that find that the U.S. public prefers to have the support of one or more IOs than not to have it. Simply by looking at the results table, we can see that the difference in support levels between those respondents in the control group and the average value of those in the three treatment groups is of nearly 16 percentage points (0.159). This is a substantial difference in proportions that, if it
occurred in reality, could indeed be the deciding factor when it comes to the president’s final decision regarding whether or not to go to war. Furthermore, our hypothesis test indicated that at a 5% significance level, we have sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternate hypothesis. In other words, there is substantial evidence to suggest that, all else being equal, Americans are more likely to support a proposed military intervention if one or more IOs has backed it than if this is not the case. That being said, is it the institutional backing in itself, as most scholars have argued, or the material sharing of burden, as D. Brooks and S. Brooks (n.d.) have proven, which leads the American people to follow IOs when making decisions about international wars? Our results corroborate the latter explanation, and find that all else being equal, U.S. citizens prefer practical support (such as the material aid typically offered by NATO), over normative support (such as the Resolutions issued by the UNSC authorizing a particular mission or intervention). We can see this from the mere survey data, which indicates a difference of nearly 8 percentage points (0.077) in terms of the number of people who supported the military mission when it was NATO who was backing the operation, as opposed to when it was the UNSC who was backing it. Another point worth mentioning is that group T3, the one that was probed with a treatment containing NATO institutional backing, had by far the biggest percentage of support for the military mission among all the treatment groups (62.6%), with the next highest group being the one that was probed with a treatment containing UNSC support and the legitimacy interpretation, which exhibited 55.3% support for the mission in total. 23
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Similarly, in this hypothesis test too, we found that, at a 5% significance level, there is sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis in favor of the alternate one. Finally, in terms of the “legality versus legitimacy” third hypothesis test, our results supported the hypothesis that the U.S. public values the UNSC more as a “second opinion” source than as a source of permission. This might be due to the historical doctrine of American exceptionalism which, certain polls have shown, is an ideology which continues to exist among citizens, though granted it is less common among younger age cohorts (Pew Research Center 2011). Again, this is visible in the results table, where there is a difference of nearly 9 percentage points (0.088) in the amount of support received for the mission in one treatment group compared to that which was received in the other. What is more, our hypothesis tests also corroborated our predictions, indicating that, at a 5% significance level, there is sufficient evidence to reject the null in favor of the alternate. What do these three findings mean for the United Nations Security Council and for NATO moving forward? How can we make them more efficient? These are two questions that I will address in the following section.
CONCLUSIONS These findings challenge the traditional realist perspective argued by thinkers such as Mearsheimer (2001), which stipulates that international institutions have no impact on world politics. Even if it is because they value the material sharing of burdens, rather than the institutional backing in itself, the case in point is that Americans do 24
indeed care about what IOs have to say about the proposed military missions of their leaders. To be sure, however, this study should not be interpreted as proving that US citizens see no value to international institutions, or that they are merely after the material support and sharing of burden that these can offer. The point to be made here is that the material sharing of burdens is the most effective or influential interpretation of IO authorization when it comes to going to war. In other words, all else being equal, the American people are more likely to “rally ‘round the flag,” as Chapman and Reiter (2004) put it, if the institutional support is interpreted as material support rather than as normative authorization for the war. To a certain extent, this is to be expected, since the American public is only rational and, just like citizens in any country, will take into account the human and resource costs that a war will impose on its people. However, the finding just described has important implications for the future of the UNSC and NATO as security IOs, at least when it comes to constraining the United States. From what we can see, it appears as though Bernie Sanders’ call for “a new organization like NATO to confront the security threats of the 21st century – an organization that emphasizes cooperation and collaboration to defeat the rise of violent extremism and importantly to address the root causes underlying these brutal acts” might be wise when it comes to paving the way forward (Sanders 2015). One final qualification to be made is that, as D. Brooks and S. Brooks (n.d.) mention in the concluding remarks of their excellent paper, this study should not be interpreted to mean that “the American people see no value to international institutions” (21). Indeed, it may well be the case
that â&#x20AC;&#x153;the U.S. public is significantly influenced by international institutions regarding other types of security issues than the use of force (such as the treatment of those suspected of terrorism) or with respect to non-security issues (such as trade or the environment)â&#x20AC;? (21). Moving forward, there are many opportunities for future researchers to build on the findings of this investigation, and thereby improve our understanding of IOs and how they influence world politics, at a time when few questions are more crucial than this one. One possible venue of interest might be replicating this study on a sample from another UNSC permanent member state, such as the UK or France, and compare how their responses differ from those of Americans. Only when we have a complete picture of the international security regime and how individuals perceive it will we be able to successfully address the biggest challenges of today. â&#x2122;Ś
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REFERENCES Abbott, Kenneth W., and Duncan Snidal. 1998. “Why States Act through Formal International Organizations.” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 42 (3): 3-32.
Goldstein, Judith L., Miles Kahler, Robert O. Keohane and Anne-Marie Slaughter, Eds. 2001. Legalization and World Politics. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Brooks, Deborah J. and Stephen G. Brooks. N.d. “Burden Sharing, Institutions, and Public Opinion.” Dartmouth University. Typescript.
Grieco, Joseph, Christopher Gelpi, Jason Reifler, and Peter Feaver. 2011. “Let’s Get a Second Opinion: International Institutions and American Public Support for War.” International Studies Quarterly 55 (2): 563–83.
Chapman, Terrence. 2007. “International Security Institutions. Domestic Politics, and Institutional Legitimacy” Journal of Conflict Resolution 31: 134-166. ----------------- 2009. “Audience Beliefs and International Organization Legitimacy.” International Organization 63 (4): 733–64. ---------------- 2011. Securing Approval: Domestic Politics and Multilateral Authorization for War. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Chapman, Terrence, and Dan Reiter. 2004. “The UN Security Council and the Rally ‘Round-the- Flag Effect.” The Journal of Conflict Resolution 48 (6): 886–909. Council on Foreign Relations. 2009. “Public Opinion on Global Issues: A Web-Based Digest of Polling from Around the World.” CFR.org
Keohane, Robert O. 1984. After Hegemony. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Keohane, Robert O., Gary King and Sydney Verba. 1996. Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Mansfield, Edward D. and Hellen Milner. 2012. Votes, Vetoes and the Political Economy of Trade Agreements. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Mearsheimer, John J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York, NY: Norton.
Fang, Songying. 2008. “The Informational Role of International Institutions and Domestic Politics.” American Journal of Political Science 52: 304-21.
Pew Research Center. 2011. “American Exceptionalism Subsides: The American-Western Values Gap.” 17 November. URL: http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2011/11/ Pew-Global-Attitudes-Values-Report-FINAL-November-17-2011-10AM-EST1. pdf (Accessed March 5, 2016).
Gideon, Lior. 2012. Handbook of Survey Methodology for the Social Sciences. New
Putnam, Robert D. 1988. “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level
Games.” International Organization 42: 427-60. Tingley, Dustin, and Tomz, Michael. 2012. “How does the UN Security Council Influence Public Opinion?” Harvard University. Typescript. Simma, Bruno. 1999. “NATO, the UN and the Use of Force: Legal Answers,” The European Journal of International Law 12: 1-22. Simmons, Beth A. 2009. Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press. Stein, Arthur. 1982. “Coordination and Collaboration: Regimes in an Anarchic World,” International Organization 36, Spring: 299-324. Wood, Michael. 2013. “International Law and the Use of Force: What Happens in Practice?” The Indian Journal of International Law 53: 345-67.
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THE PURSUIT OF GREATNESS: AMERICAN POWER AND THE OPENING OF JAPAN Matthew T. King Duke University, Trinity ‘18 ABSTRACT Historians traditionally explain the Perry Expedition through the lens of domestic politics: a combination of business interests, Whig party politics, and election-year posturing led President Fillmore to dispatch an American fleet tasked with the “opening of Japan.” Upon closer examination, however, only an understanding of the great power politics at stake in the Pacific can provide a compelling explanation as to why the burgeoning American Republic sought to incorporate Japan into the global commercial order by force. This paper makes the novel argument that the United States experienced a “great power moment” in the 1850s during which it fulfilled Waltz’s five criteria defining great powers and demonstrated what Mearsheimer has called the “offensive realism” of great power politics. Understanding the “great power moment” promises to shed light not only on the Perry Expedition, but also on other expansionist foreign policy from the era, such as the 1856 Guano Islands Act and the muscular American response to French aggression in Hawaii in 1849.
n July 8, 1853, four American steamers sailed into the Bay of Uraga, leaving in their wake towering clouds of black smoke. To Japanese observers, the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry’s “black ships” in Japanese waters served not only as an intimidating display of advanced military technology,1 but also as a brazen challenge to the Tokugawa Shogunate’s longstanding policy
of sakoku, “locked country” isolationism.2 That evening, Perry recorded in his journal that “a most remarkable meteor” had blazed across the night sky,3 an omen that some aboard interpreted as the blessing of divine Providence upon their mission. The previous decade had indeed proved providential for the United States. Having secured 1,139,007 square miles of territory through the annexation of Texas, the Oregon 2
1 George Feifer, Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853 (New York, HarperCollins: 2006), 4-5.
William McOmie, The Opening of Japan, 1853-1855, (Folkestone, Global Oriental: 2006), 38. 3 Roger Pineau, ed., The Japan Expedition 1852-1854: The Personal Journal of Commodore Matthew C. Perry (Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press: 1968), 91.
Treaty with Great Britain, and the conquest of the northern third of Mexico,4 the United States emerged from the expansionist glut of the 1840s as a self-assured continental power steeped in the spirit of Manifest Destiny.5 Just as the United States was consolidating its hold over vast swathes of newly acquired western territory, its navy was dictating a fundamental change in the policy of a country half the world away. Historians, puzzled by the adventuresome foreign policy of a young power still stabilizing territory within its own borders, often explain the rationale for the seemingly unlikely Perry expedition through the lens of domestic politics. According to the domestic politics explanation, President Millard Fillmore made his decision to dispatch the expedition based on the influence of business interests, Whig party politics, and his own desire for reelection. In this paper, I will argue that (a) the domestic politics approach fails to explain the rationale for the expedition, (b) the United States experienced a “great power moment” in the early 1850s, during which it met the criteria of and acted as a great power, and (c) Mearsheimer’s theory of offensive realism6 in great power politics best explains the Perry expedition.
J. D. B. DeBow, “Seventh Census of the United States: 1850,” pub. 1853, 32. 5 William L. Neumann, “Religion, Morality, and Freedom: The Ideological Background of the Perry Expedition,” Pacific Historical Review 23, no. 3 (1954), 247. 6 John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York, Norton: 2014), 1-8.
THE DOMESTIC POLITICS EXPLANATION I. Domestic Politics Explanations for the Perry Expedition Aaron Haight Palmer figures prominently in business interest explanations of the Perry expedition. As director of the American and Foreign Agency, Palmer relished his role as “the most persistent and well-informed spokesman for commercial interests.”7 For over a decade, Palmer had lobbied for a more robust American commercial and military presence in East Asia. In an 1849 letter to Secretary of State John Clayton, Palmer presented a host of reasons why the United States ought to employ its power to rouse Japan out of its isolationist torpor: to open trade, to secure open ports to resupply American whalers, to demand improved Japanese treatment of shipwrecked American citizens, and to establish coaling stations to fuel steamships making the journey from China to California.8 Clayton would later pronounce that Palmer was “entitled to more credit for . . . the Japan Expedition, than any other man I know of.”9 Whig politics provides another rationale for the expedition. Taking after the Federalists, the Whigs presented themselves as the party of commerce. In the Senate debate over the Japan expedition, support and opposition coalesced along party lines, with Whigs lining up to 7
Arthur Walworth, Black Ships Off Japan: The Story of Commodore Perry’s Expedition (New York, Knopf: 1949), 17. 8 Ibid., 16-21. 9 Tyler Dennett, Americans in Eastern Asia: A Critical Study of the Policy of the United States with reference to China, Japan and Korea in the 19th Century (New York, Barnes & Noble: 1941), 253.
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applaud Fillmore’s initiative and Democrats expressing their skepticism of it. Solon Borland, a Democratic Senator from Arkansas, brought the issue to the Senate floor with a resolution requesting that the President “communicate to the Senate the object of the naval expedition” to Japan.10 Whig senators responded by defining the mission’s objectives as “purely commercial.”11 Notably, William Seward, Fillmore’s fiercest Whig critic, defended the expedition as such a shrewd foreign policy decision that he wondered aloud, “Why have not the United States before sent an expedition to the East?” [emphasis added].12 The Whigs and a few breakaway Democrats signaled their support for Fillmore’s decision by voting to table Borland’s resolution. Electoral politics has also served as an explanation for the expedition. “With the presidential election less than a year away,” writes one biographer of Perry, “Fillmore needed to claim credit for successful foreign policy initiatives, and the mission to Japan seemed ideal.”13 Daniel Webster, the architect of the Perry expedition then serving as Secretary of State, was also contemplating a presidential bid. In the Senate debate, Borland raised Webster’s presidential ambitions and quoted a selection from a pro-Webster newspaper to mock the “prominent candidate for the Presidency.” 14 In the end, however, General Winfield Scott would trounce Fillmore and Webster and secure the Whig nomination in 1852. 10 Congressional Globe (Senate, 32nd Congress, 1st Session: 1852), 943. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid., 945. 13 Congressional Globe (1852), 1006.John H. Schroeder, Matthew Calbraith Perry: Antebellum Sailor and Diplomat (Annapolis, Naval Institute Press: 2001), 171. 14 Congressional Globe (1852), 1006.
II. The Frailty of the Domestic Politics Explanation Each of the preceding domestic politics arguments fails to explain the logic of the Perry expedition. As one scholar writes of Palmer’s role in formulating America’s Pacific strategy, “Palmer’s influence . . . is problematical. Webster never mentioned his name in connection with Japan, and more importantly, he did not accept Palmer’s heavy-handed advice when it came to preparing the instructions for the mission.”15 Palmer was the exception rather than the rule; the business community took little interest in Japan until after Perry’s expedition.16 In response to the partisan politics argument, the policy of expanding American commercial and military presence in the Pacific enjoyed continuity across administrations of different parties. Monroe, a Democrat, presided over the establishment of the navy’s Pacific squadron.17 Furthermore Polk, another Democratic president, had sent Commodore James Biddle on an expedition to Japan in 1846.18 Even in the rancorous Senate debate over the Perry expedition, not a single Democrat objected to the commercial purpose of the mission, only to the mission’s aggressive military posture, the result of which, one Democrat fretted, would be “a crusade against a strange people, of whom we know little, and against whom we . . . [have no] 15
Kenneth E. Shewmaker, “Forging the ‘Great Chain’: Daniel Webster and the Origins of American Policy Toward East Asia and the Pacific, 1841-1852,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 129, no. 3 (1985), 246. 16 Ibid., 252. 17 Walter Russell Mead, Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (New York, Taylor & Francis: 2002) 26. 18 Walworth, Black Ships, 11-12.
quarrel whatever.”19 There is little evidence to suggest that Fillmore and Webster considered the Japan expedition essential to victory in the 1852 presidential election. At any rate, the expedition failed to deliver any immediate political benefit to either candidate. Perry would not arrive at Uraga until July 1853, by which time Webster was resting in his grave and Fillmore lamenting the demise of his political career. Even a fawning biography of the former president, published to coincide with Fillmore’s illfated 1856 presidential campaign, neglects to mention the expedition at all in its otherwise effusive praise of Fillmore’s character as the personification “of true greatness.”20 Only much later would historians recognize the expedition as one of Fillmore’s greatest accomplishments.21 Given Palmer’s questionable efficacy as a lobbyist, the enduring support for Pacific expansion among Democratic and Whig presidents alike, and the dearth of evidence to suggest that the Japan issue ever figured prominently in Fillmore or Webster’s presidential campaigns, the traditional domestic politics explanations fail to explain the decision to launch the expedition.
THE CASE FOR GREAT POWER POLITICS I. The United States as a Great Power Kenneth Waltz furnishes five elements that, working in concert, distinguish a state as a great 19
Congressional Globe (1852), 1006. W. L. Barre, The Life and Public Services of Millard Fillmore (Buffalo, Wanzer, McKim & Co.: 1856), 403. 21 Robert J. Scarry, Millard Fillmore (Jefferson, McFarland: 2001), 213. 20
power: “size of population and territory, resource endowment, economic capability, military strength, political stability and competence.”22 In turn, according to neo-realist theory, states that meet these criteria act in specific ways to secure their global interests. John Mearsheimer provides one description of great power behavior in his theory of offensive realism: Although the intensity of their competition waxes and wanes, great powers fear each other and always compete with each other for power. . . . This unrelenting pursuit of power means that great powers are inclined to look for opportunities to alter the distribution of world power in their favor. Simply put, great powers are primed for offense.23 Although Henry Kissinger writes that “[t]he Spanish-American War marked America’s entry into great-power politics,”24 and most historians concur with Kissinger, pinpointing 1898 as the year of the United States’ graduation into great power status,25 I argue that for a brief moment between the Mexican War and the American Civil War, the United States was a great power. At that time, the United States met Waltz’s five great power criteria and acted in accordance with Mearsheimer’s description of great power 22 Kenneth Waltz, “The Emerging Structure of International Politics,” International Security 18, no. 2 (1993), 50. 23 Mearsheimer, Tragedy, 2-3. 24 Henry Kissinger, World Order (New York, Penguin: 2014), 246. 25 Thomas A. Bailey, “America’s Emergence as a Great Power: The Myth and the Verity,” Pacific Historical Review 30, no. 1 (1961), 1.
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behavior, as evidenced by the Japan expedition.
Great Britain fight an extended war with the colonists, the British would face difficulty coping without American exports.29 The 1849 discovery of gold in California provided further proof of the United States’ extraordinary resource endowment.
II. How the United States Fulfilled Great Power Criteria in the 1850s Writing of the 1850s, one historian proclaimed that the United States “had vanquished Mexico, doubled its size, become a continental power, taken the China trade from England, projected its naval power into the Pacific, and proclaimed the superiority of its way of life.”26 John Stuart Mill writes in On Liberty
3. Economic capability: American economic interests spanned the Pacific and the Atlantic. Cotton from the American South made its way across the Atlantic to British textile mills, while thousands of American whalers off Japan harvested what would become fuel to light the United States. The federal government even posted a $5 million surplus in 1851,30 evidence
that by the 1850s “a democratic republic [the United States] came to occupy a large portion of the earth’s surface, and made itself felt as one of the most powerful members of the community of nations.”27 There is strong evidence that the United States of this era met Waltz’s five great power criteria: 1. Size of population and territory: According to the 1850 Census, the United States possessed a population of 23,191,876 people and covered an expanse of some 2,936,166 square miles. The United States of 1850 encompassed some 800,000 square miles of territory more than European Russia and counted only four million inhabitants fewer than the most influential great power of the day, Great Britain.28 2. Resource endowment: As early as 1775, Edmund Burke had noted America’s surfeit of natural resources, cautioning that should 26
Wiley, Yankees, 456. 27 John Stuart Mill, “On Liberty” in Utilitarianism, On Liberty, Considerations on Representative Government (London, Everyman: 1993), 72. 28 DeBow, “Census,” 31, 42.
of economic dynamism and fiscal restraint. 4. Military strength: Perry had so persuasively advocated for the modernization of the U.S. Navy, by 1850 the fifth-largest in the world,31 that one biographer deemed Perry the “Father of the American Steam Navy.”32 Each of the four steamships in Perry’s squadron sported a minimum of six powerful Paixhans shell guns; advanced firepower 29
Bailey, “America’s Emergence as a Great Power,” 4. Wiley, Yankees, 77. 31 Wiley, Yankees, 77. 32 William Elliot Griffis, Matthew Calbraith Perry: A Typical American Naval Officer, (Boston, Cupples and Hurd: 1887), 110. 30
complemented steam power.33 As for the U.S. Army, fewer than five years before Perry arrived in Japan, the soldiers of the U.S. Army had won a decisive victory in the Mexican War, marching into Mexico City and hoisting the stars and stripes above the Zócalo in a display of American military superiority.34 The U.S. military was comparable to the forces of other great powers in both technological advancement and human capability. 5. Political stability and competence: The Republic had witnessed its first peaceful transfer of power, a hallmark of political stability, with the election of 1800, as well as the triumph of presidential succession after Harrison’s death in 1841 and Taylor’s in 1850. Congress compromised on the issue of slavery, managing for a time to keep sectional tensions at bay. It was the failure of the political system to resolve the issue of slavery – and resultant destabilizing effects of secession and civil war – that ultimately spelled the United States’ temporary decline from great power status. But if France, with its tumultuous political changes, or Austria, still reeling from the revolutions of 1848, were both considered great powers at the time,
surely the United States’ imperfect political stability serves as no disqualifier. III. The Japan Expedition as a Case Study of America’s Conduct as a Great Power Mearsheimer’s theory of offensive realism seeks to answer the question, “How do great powers behave?” According to the theory, “great powers fear each other and always compete for power. The overriding goal of each state is to maximize its share of world power. . .”35 Great powers seldom settle for the status quo, “almost always have revisionist intentions,” and sometimes use force to alter the “distribution of power” to their advantage.36 In this section, I argue that the United States behaved as a great power in the Perry Expedition because the U.S. (a) sought to maximize national power by expanding steam-powered trans-Pacific trade, (b) demonstrated revisionist intentions by demanding an end to the status quo of Japanese isolationism, and (c) competed with other great powers to alter the distribution of power. No less a “nation of shopkeepers” than Great Britain, the United States had long embraced a conceptualization of national power that recognized the primacy of commerce. For example, in the early days of the Republic, the Jay Treaty prioritized trade with Great Britain over ideological ties with the nascent French Republic, ensuring the economic health of the United States at a time of strategic insecurity. Fillmore, continuing this logic, sought to maximize American power following the
Pineau, Japan Expedition, 225. Edward S. Wallace, “The United States Army in Mexico City,” Military Affairs 13, no. 3 (1949), 158. 34
Mearsheimer, Tragedy, 2. Ibid.
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acquisition of California and Oregon. The emergence of the United States as a Pacific power, extending “from ocean to ocean,”37 as Fillmore wrote to the Japanese Emperor, brought with it new opportunities for trans-Pacific trade, particularly with China, that could enrich the American economy. As Perry’s instructions stated, trade between the United States and East Asia had “already greatly increased and no limits” could “be assigned to its future extension.”38 At the same time, the steam engine was revolutionizing maritime commerce by rendering voyages shorter, less expensive, and more predictable. While sailing ships had been able to reach China without stopping in Japan, steamships required coaling stations, and geography dictated that the best route for U.S. steamships to China would include a stop in Japan for refueling. In order to establish coaling stations in Japan, however, the United States first needed to negotiate with the Hermit Kingdom. Prior to the Perry expedition, U.S. advances in Japanese waters had been met with resistance and rebuke. Cannon fire had repulsed the unarmed Morrison expedition in 1839,39 and when Commodore Biddle tried to board a Japanese vessel in 1846, a Japanese sailor had physically pushed him back onto his own ship.40 Ever the revisionist power, the United States demanded an end to this inconvenient status quo. In place of the isolationist status quo, the U.S. envisioned integrating Japan into a new order. In the memorable words of Webster, “a line 37 Millard Fillmore, “Letter to the Emperor of Japan,” delivered 1853. 38 Dennett, Americans in Eastern Asia, 263. 39 McOmie, Opening of Japan, 26. 40 Ibid., 41.
of Steamers from California to China” would constitute a “great chain” of Pacific commerce. Japan represented the “last link” in this “great chain.”41 Perry’s expedition epitomized offensive realism, employing the credible threat of overwhelming military force as a tactic to extract concessions from the Japanese,42 which included treaties permitting American steamers to refuel in Japanese harbors. Japanese isolationist policy, however, was not the only obstacle American ambitions faced in the Pacific. The United States openly competed with other great powers, including Russia and Great Britain, whose navies also plied the waters off Japan in the 1850s. While the United States had acted aggressively to open Japan, barely a month after Perry’s arrival, a Russian squadron sailed into Nagasaki with the dual aims of promoting the Russian national interest and balancing American power.43 Had the United States not acted as decisively as it did with the Perry expedition, perhaps Russia or Britain would have claimed credit for the “opening” of Japan.
CONCLUSION The lack of substantial commercial pressure for, partisan division over, and presidential benefit from the expedition call into question the traditional domestic political explanations of the Perry expedition. Structural changes—the acquisition of Pacific territory, the development of steam power, and the growth of Pacific trade—contributed to American emergence as 41
Shewmaker, “Great Chain,” 225. William Heine, With Perry to Japan, trans. Frederic Trautmann (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press: 1990), 72-73. 43 McOmie, Opening of Japan, 144. 42
a great power and drew American interests and Japanese isolationist policy into conflict. In a display of great power behavior, specifically offensive realism, President Fillmore dispatched the Perry Expedition to Japan. America’s power in the early 1850s rivaled that of other great powers and brought the America into direct competition with them in Japanese waters. Great power politics better explains how the United States acted – with aggressive military posturing grounded in the latest technology – and when the expedition took place, at the zenith of American power following the Mexican War. Other instances of assertive American foreign policy conduct in the 1850s benefit from an analysis through the lens of great power politics. For example, after the French invasion of Honolulu in 1849, Webster threatened to send the U.S. Navy to defend American interests in the Hawaiian Islands. Despite having “deeply offended the French government,” Webster secured “unequivocal assurances of French respect for Hawaiian sovereignty.”44
maximizing military capacity, and securing natural resources—of the Guano Islands Act reflect the offensive nature of great power politics. The novel lens of great power politics explains what motivated the United States of the 1850s to suddenly display aggressive behavior in the Pacific, including breakneck competition with established great powers like Russia and Britain. It further explains why, following the Civil War, American foreign policy was so muted. The military exertions of Civil War and Reconstruction, as well as the economic devastation of the period, exerted a tremendous strain on the United States’ capacity to project power abroad, thus ending the “great power moment” of the 1850s. It would not be until the McKinley presidency that the young republic—which Jefferson had once called, prophetically, “an Empire of Liberty”—would once again project influence far beyond its shores and reassume its station as a great power in international politics.♦
Only a fellow great power could compel the French to withdraw and recognize Hawaiian sovereignty. Later in the decade, concerns for natural resources and territorial expansion prompted Congress to pass the Guano Islands Act. The 1856 legislation granted the United States government the power to take “peaceable possession” of “any island, rock, or key, not within the lawful jurisdiction of any other government” on which there existed a “deposit of guano.”45 Both the means—annexation— and the motivations—territorial expansion, 44
Shewmaker, “Great Chain,” 244. “Guano Islands Act,” last modified January 4, 2012, https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/pdf/uscode48/lii_usc_ TI_48_CH_8_SE_1411.pdf. 45
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REFERENCES Bailey, Thomas A. “America’s Emergence as a Great Power: The Myth and the Verity.” Pacific Historical Review 30, no. 1 (1961): 1-16. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3636327. Barre, W. L. The Life and Public Services of Millard Fillmore. Buffalo: Wanzer, McKim & Co The Life and Public Services of Millard Fillmore. Buffalo: Wanzer, McKim & Co., 1856. Congressional Globe. Senate, 32nd Congress, 1st Session. 1852: 942-948, 1005-1007. Accessed February 21, 2015. http://bit.ly/ globe1852. DeBow, J. D. B. “Seventh Census of the United States: 1850.” Published 1853. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://www2.census.gov/ prod2/decennial/documents/1850c.zip. Dennett, Tyler. Americans in Eastern Asia: A Critical Study of the Policy of the United States with reference to China, Japan and Korea in the 19th Century. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1941. Emerson, J. M., ed. “Intercourse with Japan.” United States Magazine of Science, Art, Manufactures, Agriculture, Commerce and Trade 1854-1856. Published 1854. Accessed February 22, 2015. ProQuest (ID 89789702). Fillmore, Millard. “First Annual Message.” 36
1850. Accessed March 1, 2015. http:// www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=2949. ---. “Third Annual Message.” 1852. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://www.presidency. ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29493. ---. “Letter to the Emperor of Japan.” Delivered 1853. Accessed February 22, 2015. http:// ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/black_ ships_and_samurai/presletter.html. Feifer, George. Breaking Open Japan: Commodore Perry, Lord Abe, and American Imperialism in 1853. New York: HarperCollins, 2006. Grayson, Benson Lee. The Unknown President: The Administration of President Millard Fillmore. Washington: University Press of America, 1981. Griffis, William Elliot. Matthew Calbraith Perry: A Typical American Naval Officer. Boston: Cupples and Hurd, 1887. ---. Millard Fillmore and His Part in the Opening of Japan. Cornell: Cornell University Press, 1906. “Guano Islands Act.” Last modified January 4, 2012. Accessed April 15, 2015. https://www. law.cornell.edu/uscode/ pdf/uscode48/lii_usc_TI_48_CH_8_ SE_1411.pdf. Heine, William. With Perry to Japan. Translated by Frederic Trautmann. Honolulu:
University of Hawaii Press, 1990. Kennedy, Paul. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. New York: Random House, 1987. Kissinger, Henry. World Order. New York: Penguin, 2014. Kunitake, Kume. Japan Rising: The Iwakura Embassy to the USA and Europe 18711873. Edited by Chushichi Tsuzuki and R. Jules Young. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. McOmie, William. The Opening of Japan, 1853-1855: A Comparative Study of the American, British, Dutch and Russian Naval Expeditions to Compel the Tokugawa Shogunate to Conclude Treaties and Open Ports to Their Ships. Folkestone, UK: Global Oriental, 2006. Mead, Walter Russell. Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2002. Mearsheimer, John J. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: Norton, 2014. Mill, John Stuart. “On Liberty.” Utilitarianism, On Liberty, Considerations on Representative Government. London: Everyman, 1993. Neumann, William L. “Religion, Morality, and Freedom: The Ideological Background of
the Perry Expedition.” Pacific Historical Review 23, no. 3 (1954): 247-257. Accessed February 21, 2015. http://www. jstor.org/stable/3635566. Palmer, Aaron Haight. “Letter to the Hon. John M. Clayton, Secretary of State.” 1849. Accessed February 21, 2015. http://bit.ly/ claytonletter. Pineau, Roger, ed. The Japan Expedition 1852-1854: The Personal Journal of Commodore Matthew C. Perry. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1968. Scarry, Robert J. Millard Fillmore. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2001. Schroeder, John H. Matthew Calbraith Perry: Antebellum Sailor and Diplomat. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2001. Shewmaker, Kenneth E. “Forging the ‘Great Chain’: Daniel Webster and the Origins of American Policy Toward East Asia and the Pacific, 1841-1852.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 129, no. 3 (1985): 225-259. http://jstor. org/stable/987008. Taylor, Zachary. “Inaugural Address.” 1849. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://www. bartleby.com/124/pres28.html Wallace, Edward S. “The United States Army in Mexico City.” Military Affairs 13, no. 3 (1949): 158-166. Accessed 37
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March 2, 2015. http://www.jstor.org/ stable/1982497. Waltz, Kenneth N. “The Emerging Structure of International Politics.” International Security 18, no. 2 (1993): 44-79. Accessed March 1, 2015. http://www. jstor.org/stable/2539097. Walworth, Arthur. Black Ships Off Japan: The Story of Commodore Perry’s Expedition. New York: Knopf, 1946. Wiley, Peter Booth. Yankees in the Land of the Gods: Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan. New York: Viking Penguin, 1990.
SUICIDE TERROR: CONTEXT AND EVOLUTION FROM 1982-2015 Jenna Hymowitz Duke University, Trinity ‘16
ABSTRACT This paper provides an overview of suicide terror propagated by various actors between 1982 and 2015. The data for this project was gathered by the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism (CPOST). By examining suicide attacks in depth over time, this paper hopes to explicate the trends and defining features of suicide terror. In order to do so, this paper reviews the forefront scholarly literature on suicide terror, and then uses CPOST data to examine the changing suicide terror actors over time. This project shows that there has been a dramatic shift in the organization of suicide terror. Attacks are no longer orchestrated by the hierarchical organizations whose existence and efficacy is dependent upon a strong leader. Now, attacks are largely planned by local networks and decentralized groups that are resilient to the taking out of leadership.
ommy, why did the buildings fall down?” This is one of the two September 11th related questions that my mother tells me I asked her every night, while she was putting me to bed in our Manhattan home, in the days and weeks following 9/11. Fourteen years later, I continue to pursue answers to this question through my studies at Duke. However, I am no longer curious solely about 9/11, but constantly hoping to understand the devastating suicide attacks that occur worldwide all too often. Therefore, this project will offer a close examination of suicide terror executed between 1982 and 2015. The data for this project was gathered by
the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism (CPOST) founded by Robert Pape, an extremely influential scholar in the field of suicide terror. CPOST was used to generate maps of suicide attacks that occurred over the past 33 years, in which blue circles of differing diameters are used to depict the amount of suicide attacks in an area. In addition, this project utilized the CPOST data to create original charts that depict the primary executers of suicide attacks since 1982, the primary places where suicide attacks have occurred, and the peak times of attacks. In order to most effectively understand the maps and charts that will be displayed throughout this paper, the attacks have been broken down
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into the following groups by date: 1982-1990, 1991-2000, 2001-2008, and 2009-2015. This method of disaggregation was chosen since it enables a greater grasp on the concept of suicide terrorism as it has changed through time, rather than solely how it exists today. Ultimately, by examining suicide attacks in depth over time, this paper hopes to explicate the trends and defining features of suicide terror. However, in order to do this, the concept the suicide terrorism must first be understood through a discussion of influential scholarly theories, debates, and definitions.
Figure 1: CPOST generated map depicting all suicide terror attacks from 1982-2015.
Figure 2: Map depicting suicide terror attacks in the Middle East, particularly Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, from 1982-2015.
AN OVERVIEW OF SUICIDE TERROR AS A CONCEPT The origins of suicide terror pre-date the use of the tactic by contemporary organizations. In fact, an Imperial Russian group, the People’s Will, used the method as early as the 1880s to carry out dramatic attacks, such as the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. However, in contrast to modern day terror attacks, “the decision to die, or at least risk death, remained in the hands of the individual bomber rather than with the organization.”1 Contemporary suicide terror was also prefaced by the use of the Japanese Kamikaze. When Japan realized it was on the brink of defeat toward the end of World War II, “the Japanese turned to using [planes] as weapons themselves, flying them directly into U.S. ships…[They] sunk between 34 and 70 ships and killed thousands of Allied soldiers through this tactic.”2 While Japanese suicide bombings did not turn the tide of the war, they certainly instilled intense fear similar to that which is experienced by civilian societies that face suicide attacks in today’s world. Although we often know terrorism when we see it, scholars and policymakers alike have struggled to produce an accepted definition for it. There are vast disagreements over whether state actors should be included, if terrorism only applies to killing civilians, and if terrorism covers destruction of property, among other 1
Jeffrey Lewis, “The Human Use of Human Beings: A Brief History of Suicide Bombing,” Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective vol. 6, no. 7 (April 2013): 5. 2 Michael Horowitz, “The History and Future of Suicide Terrorism,” Foreign Policy Research Institute, August 2008, 3, http://www.fpri.org/articles/2008/08/history-and-futuresuicide-terrorism.
differences. Similarly, there are potential issues in defining suicide terrorism specifically. Scholar Henry Rome echoes this problem when he asks, “What does it mean to be a suicide attacker— must one have the intent to die in an attack?”3 Such an issue is clear in scholarly debates over the definition of suicide terrorism. For example, in Ophir Falk and Henry Morgenstern’s book on suicide terror, they employ a definition that includes “one or more individuals who intentionally cause their own death while harming or attempting to harm civilians and/ or civilian targets.”4 In contrast, Scott Atran defines the concept as “the targeted use of self-destructing humans against noncombatanttypically civilian-populations to effect political change.”5 While these definitions might not seem drastically different, they certainly provide an insight into the struggle of providing a universally accepted definition of suicide terror. Although scholars may diverge in defining the concept, there is an overall academic consensus that suicide attacks are the product of strategic logic rather than irrational behavior. Robert Pape first highlighted this extremely important notion in his 2003 article, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism”. He wrote, “Most suicide terrorism is undertaken as a strategic effort directed toward achieving particular political goals; it is not simply the product of irrational individuals or an expression of fanatical 3
Henry Rome, “Revisiting the ‘Problem From Hell’: Suicide Terror in Afghanistan,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism vol. 36, no. 10 (2013): 821. 4 Ophir Falk and Henry Morgenstern, Suicide Terror: Understanding and Confronting the Threat (John Wiley & Sons, 2009), 8. 5 Scott Atran, “Genesis of Suicide Terrorism,” Science vol. 299, no. 5612 (2003): 1534.
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hatreds.”6 Mass media tends to depict suicide terror as the work of psychopathic people, which further induces the fear that terror groups hope to exploit in society by using this method of attack. By failing to understand that suicide is a strategic choice on the part of terror groups, the attacks enable the widespread panic that is always observed in their aftermath. Suicide terrorism scholar Mia Bloom succinctly explains this phenomenon by arguing, “The organizations that send the bombers do so because such attacks are an effective means to intimidate and demoralize the enemy.”7 The fact that suicide attacks continuously happen demonstrates that groups are well aware of this tendency, making their decision to use this tactic the result of strategic logic. In order to combat the ability for groups to use suicide terrorism as a method to induce pervasive fear, the tactic must be recognized for what it is. Terrorism professor Jeffery Lewis highlights this through arguing, “By understanding it as an organizational phenomenon in which the human propensity for self-sacrifice on behalf of others has been reduced from a noble character to a tool, we can strip away the mystery that still seems to make suicide bombing inexplicable and intimidating.”8 Lewis best characterizes the fundamental purpose of suicide terrorism by labeling it a “tool” of terrorist organizations. This understanding of suicide terror is accepted as a basis for scholarly theories on the concept, but 6
Robert A. Pape, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” American Political Science Review vol. 97, no. 03 (2003): 345. 7 Mia Bloom, Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror (Columbia University Press, 2005), 3. 8 Lewis, “Human Use of Human Beings,” 9.
has still failed to make its way into mainstream society and media. Beyond the basic agreement that suicide terror is a largely strategic choice, academic work remains divided on many points, most importantly the reason that the method is employed by organizations. SCHOLARLY EXPLANATIONS FOR SUICIDE TERROR Two primary theories of suicide terrorism were originally created by Mia Bloom and Robert Pape, and have now been expanded upon by various scholars. Bloom’s theory focuses on what she terms “outbidding”. She argues that suicide terror is used by an organization “when other military tactics fail, and when they are in competition with other terrorist groups for popular or financial support.”9 The latter point is the main thrust of Bloom’s outbidding thesis, which attempts to prove that groups employ suicide terror in circumstances where organizations are competing for control over the hearts and minds of the people. In contrast, Pape argues that “every suicide campaign from 1980 to 2001 has had a major objective—or as its central objective—coercing a foreign government that has military forces in what they see as their homeland to take those forces out.”10 Thus, Pape’s thesis implies that suicide terror is used only in the face of a foreign occupation. While this notion is now outdated, he makes other significant arguments about the characteristics of suicide terror that still hold today. Most importantly, he argues that suicide terror is the most powerful form of costly 9 10
Bloom, Dying to Kill, 1. Pape, “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” 348.
signaling and credible commitment that an organization can employ,11 which explains why it often forces a government response, whether or not that response is what the terrorist group hoped for. In addition to Bloom’s and Pape’s, there are various other theses on the reasons that groups employ suicide terror, which have been less widely discussed but are equally important to understand. In one study conducted by Barbara Walter and Andrew Kydd, “suicide terror in particular is to be expected on the eve of negotiated settlements.”12 This thesis presents suicide terror as a method utilized to spoil a peace process, of which the group ostensibly does not approve. In contrast to explaining why suicide attacks do occur, Henry Rome’s work attempts to prove why they stopped occurring in Afghanistan. He theorizes, “the lack of skill of individual attackers, more than politics, technology, or targeting, can explain this shift away from suicide bombings to other tactics.”13 Thus, Rome’s thesis ultimately explains both the starting and stopping of suicide terror, as it insinuates that highly skilled individuals are necessary for suicide attacks to occur, and when the group is absent these people, the suicide campaign will cease. More recently, scholars have begun utilizing network-based explanations of suicide terror to 11
Ibid., 347. Because one is killing oneself in a suicide attack it demonstrates utmost commitment to the group’s cause, showing an enemy that it is credible when it argues that it is extremely committed to the stated goals. Suicide terror also employs the highest form of costly signaling, since it shows that almost no deterrence strategy could work, as members are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. 12 Mia M. Bloom, “Ethnic Conflict, State Terror and Suicide Bombing in Sri Lanka,” Civil Wars vol. 6, no. 1 (2003): 54. 13 Rome, “Revisiting the ‘Problem From Hell,’” 820.
explain the preponderance of attacks. Benjamin Acosta and Steven Childs use network analysis and time-series econometrics to build models of networks consisting of different terror groups through time. In doing so, they demonstrate that “network connections between organizations form a system that perpetuates suicide attacks.”14 In essence, this adds another layer of analysis to the causal factor behind suicide attacks. They move beyond coercion and outbidding theses to argue that “as the network matures and main nodes, or brokers, expand influence to like-minded organizations, these new diffusion channels increase the frequency of attacks.”15 While Acosta and Childs explain the spread of attacks through the growth of a network of groups, Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger examine networks of individuals within certain groups. They expand upon Bloom’s outbidding hypothesis, but move away from conceptualizing suicide attacks as strategic decisions made by competing organizations. Instead, they argue that “decisions [are] made by local activists, and that [the] best predictor of their decisions was rivalry between local or family groups.”16 Therefore, Pedahzur and Perliger support the theory that outbidding results in suicide terror, but they view competition between local networks rather than whole groups as the primary explanatory factor. Finally, although the media treats suicide terrorists as deranged, they generally do not have an appreciable psychopathology, nor do they Benjamin Acosta and Steven J. Childs, “Illuminating the Global Suicide-Attack Network,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism vol. 36, no. 1 (2013): 49. 15 Ibid., 63. 16 Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, “The Changing Nature of Suicide Attacks: A Social Network Perspective,” Social Forces vol. 84, no. 4 (2006): 1995. 14
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have any consistent psychological profile.17 While it is largely accepted in scholarly circles that there is no single explanatory factor motivating individual suicide terrorists, the same clearly cannot be said for scholars examining suicide terror from an organizational standpoint. Academics continue to debate what drives an organization to utilize suicide terror as a method to achieve their goals. Therefore, this project will analyze which of these theories is clearly reflected in the empirical evidence. As will be demonstrated, just as one cannot rely on any single psychological profile of individual suicide terrorists, there exists no single and all-encompassing explanatory factor for what drives organizations to use suicide terrorism.
SUICIDE TERROR FROM 1982-1990
Figure 3: CPOST map depicting all terrorist attacks that took place between 1982 and 1990.
Figure 4: CPOST map depicting terrorist attacks that took place in Lebanon between 1982-1990.
Scott Atran, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mishandling Suicide Terrorism,â&#x20AC;? Washington Quarterly vol. 27, no. 3 (2004): 73.
Between 1982 and 1990, a total of 44 suicide attacks were executed. In comparison with every other time period that will be examined here, this number is exceedingly low. A cursory glance at Figure 3 shows just how little this nineyear period contributed to all suicide attacks. In addition, it is immediately clear in both Figures 3 and 4 that the vast majority of attacks during this time emanated from Lebanon. As shown in Figures 5 and 6, the 39 attacks by Hezbollah during this time period were all orchestrated in Lebanon in campaigns against Israel, the United States, and France. Hezbollah (translated: Party of God) formed in 1982 in the midst of the Lebanese Civil War, and is comprised of Shia Muslims who coalesced in hopes of forming a Lebanese Islamic State based on the model provided by Iran’s 1979 revolution. In addition to this goal, they focused supremely on another objective: instigating the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Southern Lebanon and the withdrawal of the UN Multinational Peacekeeping Force dispatched to instill Lebanese peace.18 However, Hezbollah was not established as the representative group of Shiite Lebanese without competition from other organizations. Following Hezbollah’s formation, they battled the Syrian-backed Lebanese group Amal, which also hoped to gain control of Shiite support and territory.19 Therefore, Hezbollah’s suicide terror was a result not only of resistance to foreign occupation, in support of Pape’s hypothesis, but also in part an attempt to outbid rival groups, in 18
Krista E. Wiegand, “Reformation of a Terrorist Group: Hezbollah as a Lebanese Political Party,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism vol. 32, no. 8 (August 13, 2009): 670. 19 Ora Szekely, “Hezbollah’s Survival: Resources and Relationships,” Middle East Policy vol. 19, no. 4 (2012): 116.
support of Bloom’s theory. Distribution of location_names [attack_date = 1982-1990]
Figure 5: Chart demonstrating the overwhelming proportion of attacks executed by Hezbollah between 1982-1990.
Figure 6: Chart showing the distribution of attacks by campaign between 1982-1990.
In order to achieve the withdrawal of Western and Western-allied troops, Hezbollah began what is now largely recognized as the first suicide attack campaign of modern-day suicide terror. Three extremely destructive Hezbollah suicide terror attacks occurred in 1983, when the group 45
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first destroyed part of the American embassy in Beirut in April, and then in October attacked the UN Multinational Forces barracks housing U.S. troops and seconds later attacked French troops close by.20 These attacks were largely successful for Hezbollah, in that they led to the early withdrawal of the UN Multinational Forces from Beirut. However, the peak time of suicide terror between 1982 and 1990 actually came throughout July and September 1985, when 10 attacks occurred in three months, as evidenced in Figure 7. This period saw increased tensions and interaction between the Israelis and Hezbollah, as Israel had recently withdrawn “from Beirut to the edge of the so-called ‘security zone’,”21 although they did not completely withdraw from Lebanon until 2000. In addition, in June 1985, the group caused an international crisis when it hijacked Trans World Airlines flight 847 and held all 147 passengers and crew hostage.22 As a result of these major events and the proceeding increased international attention, Hezbollah’s attacks reached a peak.
Figure 7: Distribution of attack dates between 1982-1990.
From that point, Hezbollah’s suicide terror would decrease as the organization increasingly focused on its role in Lebanese politics, and expanded its social services. Hezbollah’s declining use of suicide terror provides counterevidence to Rome’s theory that use of suicide terror decreases as competence for attacks decreases. As Hezbollah’s use of suicide terror diminished, the local popularity and size of the organization continued to grow, suggesting that there was in fact no decrease in skill. Therefore, Hezbollah ultimately represents a group that effectively used suicide terror to achieve its most important objectives, the withdrawal of UN and Israeli forces from Lebanon, and stopped using the method once “either tactically or strategically, it made sense to stop.”23
Lewis, “Human Use of Human Beings,” 6. Eitan Azani, “The Hybrid Terrorist Organization: Hezbollah as a Case Study,” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism vol. 36, no. 11 (2013): 906. 22 Wiegand, “Reformation of a Terrorist Group,” 672. 23 Horowitz, “The History and Future of Suicide Terrorism,” 3. 21
SUICIDE TERROR FROM 1991-2000
Figure 8: CPOST map of all suicide attacks between 1991-2000.
Figure 9: CPOST map of all suicide attacks in Sri Lanka between 1991-2000.
As evidenced by the map in Figure 8, suicide attacks began to spread in the period between 1991 and 2000, when the total amount of attacks jumped from 44 to 130. The Tamil Tigers, also known the the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), perpetrated 70 of the 130 suicide attacks in this 10-year period, making them the primary executers of suicide terror at this time. The LTTE was organized in a strict hierarchy led by the charismatic and extremely influential Vellupillai
Prabhakaran, whose persuasive ideology and loyal following allowed for extremely effective suicide terror campaigns. The Tigers were based and operated almost solely within Sri Lanka, in which they drew their “support from marginalized Tamils who resented their secondclass citizenship status.”24 The group hoped to separate from the majority Sinhalese state, in 24
Bloom, “Ethnic Conflict, State Terror and Suicide Bombing in Sri Lanka,” 64.
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order to form an independent country for the Tamil people carved out of Northern and Eastern areas of Sri Lanka.25 LTTE suicide terrorism has many possible explanatory factors, including expelling occupying forces from what they saw as their homeland and outbidding other competing groups, again providing support for Pape and Bloom’s theses. However, as Scott Atran notably highlighted in 2006, “The Tigers have carried out only two confirmed suicide attacks since the beginning of 2002.”26 This suggests that Pape’s occupation thesis was outdated when published in 2003, while Bloom explains away this lack of attacks by arguing that by 2002, “once the LTTE reigned supreme, and competition was absent, their willingness to negotiate and compromise increased accordingly.”27 However, the end of LTTE suicide terror can likely be explained simply by the willingness to negotiate on the government’s part, rather than the absence of competition in an area where no group was ever a truly serious threat to the Tigers’ power. Ultimately, no matter the causal explanation, the LTTE was a supremely influential group in the evolution of suicide terror as a result of the sheer amount of attacks they executed, shown in Figure 10, in addition to their pioneering use of female suicide terrorists and the now widely used suicide vest.28
Lewis, “Human Use of Human Beings,” 7. Scott Atran, “The Moral Logic and Growth of Suicide Terrorism,” Washington Quarterly 29, no. 2 (2006): 131. 27 Bloom, “Ethnic Conflict, State Terror and Suicide Bombing in Sri Lanka,” 77. 28 Falk and Morgenstern, Suicide Terror, 17. 26
Figure 10: Distribution of campaigns that executed suicide attacks between 1991-2000.
In addition to the Tigers, groups of the Palestinian resistance to Israel, namely Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, began their campaigns of suicide terror aimed at Israel in this time period, as evidenced in Figures 10 and 11.29 The Palestinian resistance between 1991 and 2000 is important to discuss here not only due to its continued significance today, but because it vastly differed from the Tigers’ use of suicide terror in the same time period. Primary differences include the targets and goals of each group’s suicide terror campaign. Mia Bloom argues, “The majority of [LTTE] suicide bombings targeted a particular individual…In contrast, Palestinian suicide bombs are intended to create a form of mass terror and general panic.”30 Beyond this difference, the two groups diverge in causal explanations for their suicide terror. While Pape and Bloom both attempt to explain Palestinian terror through their theses, it is also largely explained through other scholars’ 29
Lewis, “Human Use of Human Beings,” 7. Bloom, “Ethnic Conflict, State Terror and Suicide Bombing in Sri Lanka,” 77. 30
work. Palestinian suicide terror in the 1990s clearly manifests Kydd and Walter’s thesis, as “Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad used suicide attacks effectively to derail the 1995 Oslo Interim Agreement that was designed to serve as the foundation of a peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.”31 Additionally, Palestinian suicide terror has morphed over time to support Pedahzur and Perliger’s network thesis. They argue, “Although the Palestinian groups are still strong actors in the political arena, they have become much less important than the local networks in perpetrating suicide attacks.”32 The Palestinian example highlights the crucial point that there is no single explanatory factor for suicide terror, but rather many interacting and changing mechanisms that drive organizations to employ this tactic.
Figure 11: Proportion of attacks at different locations during the suicide terror between 1991 and 2000.
Figure 12: Display of the distribution of suicide attacks that occurred throughout 1991 and 2000, with a clear peak in 2000.
Finally, before closing a discussion of suicide terror between 1991 and 2000, it is important to mention the peak time of suicide attacks during this period. As evidenced by Figure 12, the period between October and December of 2000 saw the most suicide attacks of the ten years discussed here. This can be largely attributed to the September 2000 onset of the Second Intifada, an event that marked a significant increase in Palestinian-Israeli violence, and particularly Palestinian suicide terror.33 However, this period is also noteworthy as it includes al-Qaeda’s attack on an American Navy ship, the USS Cole, in October 2000. In hindsight, the attack would serve as only a small signal of the suicide terror that would soon befall America at the hands of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. 31
Atran, “Mishandling Suicide Terrorism,” 68. Pedahzur and Perliger, “The Changing Nature of Suicide Attacks,” 1988. 33 Bruce Hoffman, “The Logic of Suicide Terrorism,” The Atlantic, June 2003, http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/ archive/2003/06/the-logic-of-suicide-terrorism/302739/. 32
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SUICIDE TERROR FROM 2001-2008
Figure 13: CPOST map of all suicide attacks between 2001 and 2008.
Figure 14: CPOST map of suicide attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2008.
The three small blue points on North America in Figure 13 represent the destruction of the September 11th attacks. Those three attacks signify only a minute fraction of the 2,013 smaller attacks that occurred between 2001 and 2008, but paved the way for the suicide terror 50
of this time period. Therefore, before discussing the primary instances of suicide terrorism during this time, it is necessary to first examine the event that laid the foundation for the next major players in suicide attacks. An overwhelming amount of scholarly literature has been dedicated
to 9/11, producing too many causal explanations for the scope of this. This portion of the paper will instead look at the terrorist network map developed by Valdis Krebs in the wake of 9/11, in order to gain another perspective on how suicide terror organizations function. While most of the suicide campaigns mentioned previously were the result of a hierarchical organization, al-Qaeda represents a distinct departure due to its overwhelming use of horizontal networks. Although the group retained a hierarchy, with bin Laden at its top, lower level operatives conducted business largely through multiple local and covert networks, in order to maximize their security.34 One such network was that of the 19 hijackers who turned planes into bombs on 9/11, which is depicted in Figure 15. The network manifests important themes concerning how a terrorist group functions. Krebs notes, “The 19 hijackers appeared to have come from a network that had formed while they were completing terrorist training in Afghanistan. Many were school chums from many years ago, some had lived together for years, and others were related by kinship ties.”35 Ultimately, the network can only operate because of deep-seated ties and intense trust that is not easily developed. In addition, Figure 15 makes it clear that intense secrecy is a priority even at the expensive of efficacy, as some members of the network, even those on the same flight, are not directly connected to one another.
Figure 15: al-Qaeda terrorist network depicting the 9/11 hijackers, highlighted in color on this representation, and others
Krebs’ work is supremely important, as it makes use of networking tools to understand not just why 9/11 occurred, but how. Krebs argues, “If we know what patterns of organization they prefer, we may know what to look for as we search them out in countries across the world.”36 This tactic of mapping organizations in order to understand them would only become more important as time passed after 9/11 and terrorists increasingly relied on small networks, rather than strictly organized groups, to perpetrate attacks.
Valdis Krebs, “Uncloaking Terrorist Networks,” First Monday vol. 7, no. 4 (April 1, 2002): 1, http://pear.accc.uic. edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/941. 35 Ibid., 2.
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Figure 16: The proportion that various locales were attacked by suicide terror between 2001-2008
As demonstrated by Figures 16 and 17, the overwhelming majority of suicide attacks between 2001 and 2008 were orchestrated by Iraqi rebels fighting America and its allies in Iraq. Following 9/11 and the 2003 announcement of the United States’ impending war in Iraq, “al Qaeda recruitment picked up in 30-40 countries.”37 Although al Qaeda was not the sole perpetrator of the attacks discussed here, this increase in recruitment demonstrates the overall amplified willingness to use suicide terror against America. Additionally, the Iraqi rebel attacks were unlike those orchestrated by previous operators of suicide terror. As Scott Atran demonstrates, “The Iraqi attacks have not been carried out through a particularly wellorganized strategic operation, but rather via a loose, ad hoc constellation of many small bands that act on their own or come together for a single attack.”38 The Iraqi rebels were fighting as multiple groups that resembled more a “jihadist fraternity”,39 than an established organization with clear-cut political goals. As shown in Figure 18, the attacks targeted largely at American troops by Iraqi rebels reached a high point between April and June 37
Atran, “Mishandling Suicide Terrorism,” 74. Atran, “The Moral Logic and Growth of Suicide Terrorism,” 131. 39 Atran, “Mishandling Suicide Terrorism,” 72. 38
Figure 17: Amount of suicide attacks perpetrated by each campaign between 2001 and 2008.
2007, during which 146 attacks took place worldwide, and especially in Iraq. Suicide attacks in Iraq steadily rose throughout the war, becoming increasingly prevalent and peaking in the midst of 2007, before the Iraq Surge brought the numbers back to pre-2007 levels. The Iraq Surge, led by General David Petraeus, involved sending an additional 20,000 American troops to Iraq between January and May 2007.40 While the troop surge was seen as largely successful in securing many areas of Iraq, its immediate effect was manifested in the significant amount of suicide attacks that took place as a reaction. 40
Falk and Morgenstern, Suicide Terror, 199.
Figure 18: The distribution of the number of attacks that occurred in the years between 2001 and 2008.
SUICIDE TERROR FROM 2009-2015
Figure 19: CPOST map of all suicide terror that occurred between 2009-2015.
Figure 20: CPOST map of all suicide terror that occurred in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan between 2009 and 2015.
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Finally, in the past seven years, a total of 2,587 suicide attacks have occurred. The primary perpetrators of suicide terror during this time period were Afghan rebels who, similarly to Iraqi rebels, were composed of various groups aimed at eradicating Western occupation and influence in Afghanistan. The groups included the notoriously oppressive Taliban state terror apparatus, “the Haqqani network, Hezb-e-Islami, and al-Qaeda affiliates such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Islamic Jihad Union, Lashkari Tayyiba and Jaysh Muhammad.”41 Therefore, Afghanistan suicide terror exists largely as a network based phenomenon, in which different groups are linked to one another, and thus propagate the use of suicide terror. This causal mechanism of suicide attacks is clearly supported by Benjamin Acosta and Steven Childs’ theory on global suicide attack networks. These networks are highlighted through two 41
figures they created, which are reproduced here in Figures 21 and 22, to demonstrate both the interconnectedness of Afghan groups to other global terrorist groups in 2010, and to other primarily Afghan groups in 2011. The decrease in ties between Afghan groups and other groups from 2010 to 2011 reflects what Henry Rome argues was a leveling off of attacks during this time. He writes that suicide attacks in Afghanistan were first able to increase largely as a result of “a technology transfer from Iraqi insurgents to their Afghan counterparts,” but as the competence of Afghan rebels decreased, the attacks stop growing.42 Whether decreasing competence or a decrease in network ties is the causal factor for the decline in Afghani rebels utilizing this tactic, it is clear that Afghanistan has not been “the name” in recent discussions on suicide terror. 42
Rome, “Revisiting the ‘Problem From Hell,’” 824.
Rome, “Revisiting the ‘Problem From Hell,’” 822.
Figure 21: Acosta and Childs network map of interconnected groups in 2010.* *
Acosta and Childs, “Illuminating the Global Suicide-Attack Network,” 62.
Figure 22: Acosta and Childs network map of different interconnected groups in 2011.*
*Acosta and Childs, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Illuminating the Global Suicide-Attack Network,â&#x20AC;? 62.
Figure 23: The distribution of attack dates between 2009 and 2015, demonstrating a peak in April-June of 2015.
Rather, as reflected in Figures 23 and 24, Syrian rebels have quickly risen to become one of the primary operators of suicide terror, and are largely responsible for the peak amount of attacks occurring between April 2014 and June 2015. Although Iraqi and Afghani rebels continue to plague their countries with suicide terror, the Syrian situation warrants a discussion due to its primary importance today. Following the recent trend in suicide terror, the attacks are perpetrated by a network of groups, rather than one organization holding a monopoly on
Figure 24: The distribution of the campaigns that utilized suicide terror in the period between 2009-2015.
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suicide violence, although Da’ish (ISIS/ISIL) is of course the biggest name in the Syrian terror at this time. While the CPOST dataset does not yet contain attacks after September 2015, we should expect it to continue to expand with many attacks attributed to Syrian rebels. Following Da’ish’s deadly terror attack in Paris on November 13th, the Syrian Civil War rages on with many casualties likely to come. With the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan completed, in 2011 and 2014 respectively, Syrian rebels may well likely be at the top of the list of suicide terror perpetrators moving forward into 2016.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS “Mommy, did they find Osama bin Laden yet?” This is the second question that I am told I asked my mother each night after the September 11th attacks. This is also a question that I now know would no longer entail great importance in the fight to end suicide terrorism. Bin Laden’s death in 2011, and the death of many senior alQaeda officials beforehand, did not destroy the group’s network. In addition, the core al-Qaeda group that attacked America on 9/11 may no longer exist, but various groups have splintered off in its place, and suicide terror has by no means slowed down. As this project shows, there has been a dramatic shift in the organization of suicide terror. Attacks are no longer orchestrated by the hierarchical organizations that Pape largely based his thesis on, and whose existence and efficacy is dependent upon a strong leader. Now, attacks are largely planned by local networks and decentralized groups, such as 56
those discussed by Pedahzur and Perliger, that are resilient to the taking out of leadership. In addition to highlighting this critical change, this paper demonstrates that there is no single explanation for suicide terror. Each theory discussed here both explains and fails to explain numerous instances of suicide terror campaigns. However, a comprehensive understanding of suicide terror over time cannot be gained unless one is willing to integrate various theories on causal mechanisms. Only then will we be able to effectively begin the process of recognizing suicide terror as simply a tool of terrorists, which like any tool, can be taken away.♦
BIBLIOGRAPHY Acosta, Benjamin, and Steven J. Childs. “Illuminating the Global Suicide-Attack Network.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism vol. 36, no. 1 (2013): 49–76. Atran, Scott. “Genesis of Suicide Terrorism.” Science vol. 299, no. 5612 (2003): 1534–39. ———. “Mishandling Suicide Terrorism.” Washington Quarterly vol. 27, no. 3 (2004): 65–90. ———. “The Moral Logic and Growth of Suicide Terrorism.” Washington Quarterly vol. 29, no. 2 (2006): 127–47. Azani, Eitan. “The Hybrid Terrorist Organization: Hezbollah as a Case Study.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism vol. 36, no. 11 (2013): 899–916. Bloom, Mia. Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror. Columbia University Press, 2005. https://books.google. com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=2VJS_kxgyOUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=dying+to+kill+the+allure+of+suicide+terror&ots=Gqkuc33YF6&sig=w-qdoQDt_ siuzPr0cxgjyIumR4s. Bloom, Mia M. “Ethnic Conflict, State Terror and Suicide Bombing in Sri Lanka.” Civil Wars vol. 6, no. 1 (2003): 54–84. Falk, Ophir, and Henry Morgenstern. Suicide Terror: Understanding and Confronting the Threat. John Wiley & Sons, 2009. https://books.google.com/ books?hl=en&lr=&id=E9QQHmJ9BjkC&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=suicide+terror+ophir+falk&ots=sESOd6Rgzp&sig=M1KPYU29t_zQbibsl9fX_ humXI4.
Hoffman, Bruce. “The Logic of Suicide Terrorism.” The Atlantic, June 2003. http:// www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/06/the-logic-of-suicide-terrorism/302739/. Horowitz, Michael. “The History and Future of Suicide Terrorism.” Foreign Policy Research Institute, August 2008. http:// www.fpri.org/articles/2008/08/history-and-future-suicide-terrorism. Krebs, Valdis. “Uncloaking Terrorist Networks.” First Monday vol. 7, no. 4 (April 1, 2002). http://pear.accc.uic.edu/ojs/index. php/fm/article/view/941. Lewis, Jeffrey. “The Human Use of Human Beings: A Brief History of Suicide Bombing.” Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective vol. 6, no. 7 (April 2013): 1–9 (on print out). Pape, Robert A. “The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism.” American Political Science Review vol. 97, no. 03 (2003): 343–61. Pedahzur, Ami, and Arie Perliger. “The Changing Nature of Suicide Attacks: A Social Network Perspective.” Social Forces vol. 84, no. 4 (2006): 1987–2008. Rome, Henry. “Revisiting the ‘Problem From Hell’: Suicide Terror in Afghanistan.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism vol. 36, no. 10 (2013): 819–38. Szekely, Ora. “Hezbollah’s Survival: Resources and Relationships.” Middle East Policy vol. 19, no. 4 (2012): 110–26. Wiegand, Krista E. “Reformation of a Terrorist Group: Hezbollah as a Lebanese Political Party.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism vol. 32, no. 8 (August 13, 2009): 669–80. doi:10.1080/10576100903039320. 57
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