Intervention, war expansion, and the international sources of civil war

Date

2021-07-22

Authors

Langø, Hans-Inge Giske

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Abstract

Why do some civil wars become interstate wars while others do not? In this dissertation I develop a theory of rebellion, rebel-sided intervention, and interstate retaliation that connects civil and interstate war. I argue that civil wars expand when rebels and third parties underestimate the government's resolve, and there are three key predictors of interstate war: the size of the local stakes relative to the third party's territory, the rebels' loss of autonomy when receiving external support, and the third party's affinity for the rebels. I evaluate the model and test its predictions using a mixed-methods approach. I use newly collected data on war expansions to show how factors such as escalation costs affect risks of intervention and retaliation, and I explore the causal mechanisms of my theory through the Afghan Civil War from 1978 to 1989. My findings have implications for models of conflict, conflict prevention, and U.S. grand strategy.

Department

Description

LCSH Subject Headings

Citation