Research and Dissertation

Ph.D dissertation

“‘George Washington must go’: The Causes and Effects of Great Power Electoral Interventions”

Abstract:  My dissertation project assesses the causes and effects of partisan interventions by the great powers into the elections of other countries. Such interventions have been a common phenomenon extending back to the beginnings of competitive elections and even including the 1796 U.S. Presidential Elections. Between 1946 and 2000, the U.S. and the USSR/Russia have intervened 117 times in this manner. In other words, the U.S. or the USSR/Russia have intervened in one out of every nine competitive national level executive elections in order to help or hinder one of the candidates or parties.  With competitive elections a significant feature of domestic politics in more than half of the world’s states, partisan electoral interventions will likely become an even more prominent tool in the great powers’ arsenal. Nevertheless, there is little scholarly research on partisan electoral interventions. I use a multi-method framework to study these two questions, including the construction and statistical analysis of an original dataset of electoral interventions, in-depth archival research  into cases in which such interventions were seriously considered by great power interveners, and a micro-level analysis of election surveys from specific cases of intervention.

Other Research

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles:

“When the Great Power Gets A Vote: The Effects of Great Power Electoral Interventions on Election Results”   International Studies Quarterly, 2016,  60(2):189-202

AbstractWhat are the electoral consequences of attempts by great powers to intervene in a partisan manner in another country’s elections? Great powers frequently deploy partisan electoral interventions as a major foreign policy tool. For example, the U.S. and the USSR/Russia have intervened in one of every nine competitive national level executive elections between 1946 and 2000. However, scant scholarly research has been conducted about their effects on the election results in the target. I argue that such interventions usually significantly increase the electoral chances of the aided candidate and that overt interventions are more effective than covert interventions. I then test these hypotheses utilizing a new, original dataset of all U.S. and USSR/Russian partisan electoral interventions between 1946 and 2000. I find strong support for both arguments.

“Partisan electoral interventions by the great powers: Introducing the PEIG Dataset” Early View, Conflict Management and Peace Science 

Abstract: Recent studies indicate that partisan electoral interventions, a situation where a foreign power tries to determine the election results in another country, can have significant effects on the election results in the targeted country as well as other important influences. Nevertheless, research on this topic has been hindered by a lack of systematic data of electoral interventions. In this article, I introduce the Partisan Electoral Intervention by Great Powers dataset (PEIG), which provides data on all such interventions by the US and the USSR/Russia between 1946 and 2000. After describing the dataset construction process, I note some interesting patterns in the data, a few of which stand in contrast to claims made about electoral interventions in the public sphere. I then describe some applications of PEIG for research on electoral interventions in particular and for peace research in general.

Dov  H. Levin & Benjamin Miller.   “Why Great Powers Expand in Their Own Neighborhood: Explaining the Territorial Expansion of the US 1819-1848”  International Interactions, 2011, 37(3): 229-262.

Abstract: This article attempts to identify the causes of intraregional great power expansion. Using the state-to-nation balance theory we argue that, in many cases, such great power expansion can be explained as being the result of the incongruence within a given region between the nationalist aspirations and identities of the various peoples inhabiting it and the region’s division into territorial states. The existence of the external type of such incongruence within a great power (that is, a pan-nationalist ideology) turns it into a revisionist state eager to expand, using all means available, in order to “resolve” this incongruence. In addition, this incongruence also creates various nationalistic trans-border groups (like terrorists, private military expeditions/filibusters, settlers, etc.).Often these groups try, through various independent efforts (usually in nearby weak states), to achieve these revisionist goals as well, thus complementing and aiding the revisionist great power’s own efforts. After demonstrating the weaknesses in other existing explanations, this argument is illustrated in the case of the territorial expansion by the United States in the Southwest at the expense of Mexico in the second quarter of the nineteenth century

“Why Following the Rules Matters: The Customs of War and the Case of the Texas War of Independence” Journal of Military Ethics, 2008, 7:2: 116 — 135.

Abstract: It is commonly assumed that the pre-codified, customary law of war had little true influence on the decisions or behavior of combatants in the western world. Evaluating this assumption concerning the custom (or norm) of the giving of quarter to enemy combatants in the Texas War of Independence of 1835–1836, this paper finds a strong and widely accepted norm on this subject already by the early 19th century, which exerted significant influence on the behavior in and the results and consequences of the war. The following of this custom of war by the Texian Army, on the one hand, and its intentional and preplanned breaking by the Mexican army headed by Santa Anna for the supposed military and psychological benefits that would accrue from it, on the other, such as in the cases of the Alamo and Goliad, led to severe internal and external consequences for the Mexican side in the short and long term that greatly contributed to their failure to achieve their objectives and to the Texian success in achieving theirs. These consequences indicate the importance of the norms of warfare, even in the pre-codification era, and the major potential costs involved in their breaking or disregard by decision maker

Chapters in Edited Volumes (peer reviewed):

“The Prerequisites Matter: North America’s Transition to Regional Peace” in Carmela Lutmar and Benjamin Miller (editors) Regional Peacemaking and Conflict Management: A comparative approach (2015, Routledge Press)

Abstract: This chapter first explains what led the region of North America, an extremely war prone area during the 19th century (and beforehand), to transition to its current peaceful condition in the late 19th & early 20th century. It then attempts to provide some insights from this North American experience as to how peace can be brought to the present day Middle East.

In Submission/Under Review:

A Vote for Freedom? The Effects of  Partisan Electoral Interventions on Regime Type

Abstract: What are the effects of partisan electoral interventions on the subsequent character of the regime in the targeted country? Partisan electoral interventions have been frequently used by the great powers ever since the rise of meaningful competitive elections around the world. Such interventions have been found to have significant effects on the results of the intervened elections determining in many cases the identity of the winner. Nevertheless, there has been little research on the effects of partisan electoral interventions on the target’s subsequent level of democracy. This study investigates this question, testing two competing alternative explanations derived from relevant Political Science literatures.

War “finds a way”: An attempt to develop a new theoretical pathway of issue indivisibility as a cause of war.

Abstract: How can Issue Indivisibility cause war? Despite the increasing popularity of the bargaining model of war, this possible rationalist explanation remains underexplored. I argue that one major path to effective issue indivisibility at the state level and war is when the issue in dispute is widely perceived within society as indivisible and the state is weak. When that occurs, society is able to enforce this perception upon the wavering decision-makers thus preventing them from reaching Pareto optimal deals with other states on that issue and forcing a war.

“Meddling in the Ballot Box: The Causes of Great Power Electoral Interventions”

paper based on my Ph.D dissertation (see abstract above)

A GOTV poster of the Christian Democratic party  in the 1948 Italian Election (created w/U.S. assistance) “VOTE! or he’ll be your master”

A campaign poster covertly supplied by Russia in the 2004 Ukraine presidential election to the Victor Yanukovych campaign (captured by the Orange parties): Pres. Bush shown as supposedly saying “We are for ‘Our Ukraine’!” [Yushchenko’s party]”