Accounting for Fatal Militarized Interstate Disputes
Whether military fatalities can restrain belligerent foreign policies is an interesting issue for both theory and practice of international relations.1 Vigilant about potential loss of precious life, the public may be expected to raise its voice against military actions (Gartner and Segura 1998). In this regard, Luttwak (1996: 36) argues that “the prospect of high casualties, which can rapidly undermine domestic support for any military operation, is the key political constraint when decisions must be made on which forces to deploy in a crisis, and at what levels.” Sophisticated data analysis suggests that to be more than just speculation (Gartzke 2001). Oneal et al. (2003) use distributed-lag models to determine that democracy, economic interdependence, and joint membership in international organizations decrease the likelihood of fatal MIDs.
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