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Title:Dangerous neighborhoods: Threats and opportunities from nearby civil wars
Author(s):Pack, Tyler
Director of Research:Diehl, Paul
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Diehl, Paul
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Leff, Carol; Prorok, Alyssa; Vasquez, John
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):civil war, leader survival
Abstract:The consequences of civil wars are not contained by international borders, and states face externalities from an ongoing civil war that affect leaders and domestic groups alike. The immediate neighbors of civil war states are uniquely vulnerable to these externalities and uniquely able to respond with a variety of policy responses which are not always available to more distant states. Much of the previous research on civil war externalities either treats affected states as passively suffering those consequences, or if they do respond, as if they only have the choice to intervene directly or do nothing. This project considers the active role state leaders play in responding to nearby civil war violence, particularly in the range of policy choices that they can select from in that response. In addressing the issues of why and how leaders respond, the project considers the following questions: 1) How does nearby civil war affect leader survival? 2) How do leaders maintain and consolidate domestic power in response to that conflict? 3) How do leaders signal support of one warring side or the other without risking direct intervention? The theory I develop in this project argues that civil war neighborhoods present a unique threat environment due to the uncertainty experienced by both regime leaders and key domestic groups in a neighbor state, as well as conflict characteristics of proximate violence and affinity ties. I explore the implications of this theory by considering the effect of nearby conflict on leaders facing domestic challenges to their rule, on their propensity to engage in coup proofing, and on the likelihood that leaders produce visible signals of support for the civil war state or rebels. My findings reveal that nearby civil wars do pose a threat to leader survival, particularly when warring parties share ethnic ties with regime leaders or violence reaches a shared border. Whether out of desperation or sensing a temporary strategic advantage, leaders engage in coup proofing behavior to consolidate their power relative to key military actors when facing such conflict conditions. Finally, ethnic ties between politically important groups in the neighbor state and the civil war state predict a higher likelihood of cooperative signals from state leaders even where direct intervention does not occur. These findings highlight the value of considering civil war neighborhoods as unique threat environments and an important piece of larger questions of leader survival, civil-military relations, and domestic pressure.
Issue Date:2019-07-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Tyler Pack
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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