Please be invited to a brownbag on Wednesday 7th of September from 12:00-13:30, in the War Room. Jonathan Mark will present the paper “The Domestic Politics of Power Projection.” Jonathan is an IGERT NSF research fellow and Ph.D. student at the University of California, San Diego, currently visiting PRIO.
The past sixty-five years have witnessed a remarkable decline in the number of states investing in and projecting military force around the globe. However, a set of rising powers have bucked this trend and embarked on a military modernization programs aimed at enhancing their power projection capabilities. Why did most great economic powers stop constructing and projecting military power around the globe? Why might some rising great economic powers appear to be starting again? To explain this puzzle, I must answer two questions: First, why and when do leaders project power? Second, what foreign policy objectives do leaders project power to secure? I explain the first question through a combination of interests and the distribution of power in the international system. Put simply, leaders are more likely to project power to protect their interests when the distribution of power in the international system is multi-polar and populated by leaders with exclusionary interests (or exclusionary type leaders). The second question addresses the foreign policy interests that leaders choose to project power to secure. I argue that a leader’s foreign policy interests are a function of the size and composition of their winning coalition. Specifically, leaders’ foreign policy objectives are determined by whether they answer to a small or large winning coalition and the degree to which the members of the winning coalition are dependent on foreign trade and investment.
I test my theory regarding why and when leaders project power by comparing leaders’ power projection behavior during periods of multi-polarity (1873-1945) and unipolarity (1945-2000). In these tests, the distribution of power in the international system is my treatment (independent variable) and my outcome of interest (dependent variable) is a leader’s decision regarding whether to project power. I employ an Arctic and Middle Eastern case study to test my theory on why leaders project power to secure certain foreign policy objectives. In these cases, I vary the size and composition of the leader’s winning coalition and observe the type of objectives they project power to secure.