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
  • Jonathan W. Keller and Dennis M. Foster
    Don't Tread on Me: Constraint-Challenging Presidents and Strategic Conflict Avoidance
    in Presidential Studies Quarterly , Volume 46, Issue 4 ,  2016 ,  808–827
    Recent research demonstrates that U.S. presidents’ psychological predispositions influence the frequency with which they choose diversionary foreign policy strategies. The purpose of this article is to extend the expectations of this “first-image” theory of diversion to the strategic behavior of potential diversionary targets. We posit that U.S. presidents whose spontaneous public rhetoric indicates a willingness to challenge pacifying constraints should be viewed by potential enemies as more likely to engage in diversionary conflict. Building upon the “strategic conflict avoidance” perspective, we expect that when such presidents encounter diversionary incentives, other states will increase cooperation toward and avoid initiation of military disputes against the United States. Time-series analyses of behavior toward the United States for the period 1953–2000 largely bear out this expectation, as interstate rivals increase cooperation toward, and all states decrease militarized incident initiation against, the United States when economic misery is high and presidents whose rhetoric has revealed a proclivity for challenging constraints are in office.
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