Is There a Target Selection Bias?
The three theoretical models of the presidential decision-making in chapter 5 capture key theoretical elements of the president’s decision to initiate economic coercion. Diagnostic tests also showed that the models were consistent across individual targets/countries. However, it is still possible that the president is systematically more likely to sanction a type of country. There are three types of countries/targets that have the potential to influence the president’s decision. First, during the Cold War, the United States directed more hostile policies toward communist nations, relative to noncommunist regimes, even if the former were not part of the Sino-Soviet bloc. Second, after the Cold War, the United States regularly pressured autocratic regimes to reform to a liberal political system. Third, the Monroe Doctrine increased U.S. involvement throughout Latin America compared with other regions of the world. All three of these examples could cause the president to act differently toward these types of states.
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