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More Political Scientists on Intervention

- August 29, 2013

Josh Busby gives a good timeline of the political science blogosphere’s Syria conversation so far. The thesis: we are all conflicted. Prior studies should generally make us pessimistic, but not all cases are the same.

Additional links:

Commentaries by political scientists at the Center for a New American Security are all over the map in terms of whether intervention in Syria is a good idea. All of them urge caution and a clear strategic endgame for any intervention.

Marc Lynch warns against the possibility of mission creep.

Sara Bjerg Moller argues that compellence is the best way to describe an American air strike in Syria (if it happens).

For some more optimistic takes on the potential effectiveness of intervention:

In the July 2013 issue of the American Journal of Political Science, Andrew Kydd and Scott Straus argue that interventions can have modest benefits (in terms of further atrocity prevention) “if the third party is relatively neutral and if alternative costs are imposed on decision makers.” Their paper is here (gated).

In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Jacqueline Demerrit finds that international intervention in support of rebel groups can limit the escalation of killings, whereas intervention in support of the government can prevent the onset of mass killings. Her paper is here (ungated).

Please feel free to add more in the comments section below.