Fighting Over War: The Bureaucratic Role in Creating War-Terminating Bargains
Nagle, Thomas James
The bargaining model of war assigns a central role to information, which enables belligerents to reduce mutual uncertainty. Although no two wars are identical, ceteris paribus, an enhanced ability to receive and interpret battlefield information should lead to a more rapid termination of the crisis. However, the U.S.'s experience with limited and protracted wars, despite its informational advantages, suggests this is not the case. How does a state determine its offers in the bargaining process to terminate a war once it becomes clear its exogenous ideal point is no longer attainable within an acceptable cost range? The area of war termination within the bargaining model of war has received growing attention, but remains challenged to account for prolonged wars, negotiated settlements, and delays in Bayesian updating. An under-explored factor in this line of inquiry is the role of the national security apparatus that supports the foreign policy executive in decision-making. My central hypothesis is that the bureaucratic advisory process affects state behavior in predictable manners. To explain these conditions, this dissertation develops a typological theory of the bureaucratic processes that create a state's bargaining position.The principle challenge for the executive is controlling the biases that unavoidably enter into the advisory process; all participants are biased in some manner. The processes used to control them can either help the executive approximate a rational actor, or lead to demands based on outdated or incorrect information. The dependent variable in this dissertation is the characterization of a state's bargaining position described by two elements: the extent of the demands placed on an adversary, and how closely those demands are supported by current battlefield conditions. I will test the above hypothesis through conducting structured, focused comparisons of four cases in a building block approach. This dissertation will contribute to the expanding inquiry into domestic factors in the bargaining model of war by focusing on intra-governmental competition and assessing its relationship to aggregating preferences and updating beliefs.
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