Bulletin n. 2/2016
December 2016
  • Section A) The theory and practise of the federal states and multi-level systems of government
  • Section B) Global governance and international organizations
  • Section C) Regional integration processes
  • Section D) Federalism as a political idea
  • Bryan W. Marshall and Brandon C. Prins
    When Political Gridlock Reigns in Presidential Foreign Policy: Policy Availability and the Role of Congress
    in Presidential Studies Quarterly , Volume 46, Issue 4 ,  2016 ,  763790
    There is an inherent connection between the party cover and policy availability theories that has been largely overlooked by the presidential use of force literature. Party cover views the president's party strength in Congress as the prominent structural source shaping presidential incentives by diffusing responsibility in foreign policy. But policy availability adds to this view by explaining how such domestic conditions shape the variety of choices (or tools) presidents have for demonstrating political leadership. Policy availability anticipates that presidential incentives to use the Constitution's Article II authority across foreign policy operations will vary depending on the president's relationship with Congress. This analysis provides insight into claims made by policy availability arguments regarding the role of Congress in explaining presidential decisions to initiate military interventions. The findings point to important differences in the effects of Congress on presidential decisions for low-risk versus high-risk military missions. We find that the president's ability to legislate decreases the likelihood of humanitarian interventions. In addition, we find that as the president's relationship with Congress becomes more legislatively productive, presidents seem significantly more drawn toward high- risk military interventions. We infer from these findings that policy availability represents a powerful motivation in the president's calculation to engage in foreign policy interventions.
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