Choosing to Intervene: US Domestic Politics and Moral Imperatives

Roberta Haar, Lutz Krebs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The end of the Cold War meant fewer constraints on humanitarian inter- vention, and the third pillar of the nascent R2P norm suggests at least a moral imperative to intervene when another country’s population is threatened. Yet US leaders continue to shy away from protecting innocents outside of the United States from harm — despite the fact that presidential candidates often campaign on restoring America’s moral lead in the world and, in particular, on US respon- sibilities to avert mass atrocities. This paper investigates the extent to which US military intervention abroad is driven by domestic considerations. Using logistic regression analysis, we aim to explain decisions by Presidents Bush Sr., Clinton and Bush Jr. to send troops into harms way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497–505
Number of pages9
JournalPeace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • foreign policy, military intervention, domestic political pressures, USA

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