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INTERVENTIONS AGAINST A DICTATOR
Utz J. Pape
Journal of International Affairs
Vol. 65, No. 1, Inside the Authoritarian State (FALL/WINTER 2011), pp. 221-233
Published by: Journal of International Affairs Editorial Board
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24388193
Page Count: 13
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The Arab Spring, a wave of revolutions in nondemocratic countries in North Africa and the Middle East, forced some dictators to flee from their countries while others stayed and one faced intervention by an international coalition. Using a stylized game-theoretic model, this article analyzes the decision-making process of a dictator and explains the different outcomes. A rational dictator only leaves the country if the expected costs from punishment outweigh the benefits of staying. For the international coalition, the model identifies a trade-off between the cost of the intervention and the potential for economic benefit from a successful intervention. A higher number of participants in the coalition increases the probability of the intervention's success. However, if the intervention fails, coalition participants lose all economic benefits. Therefore, an intervening country benefits from the participation of other countries because it lowers the risk of failure. If the intervention succeeds, the economic benefits are shared among all intervening countries. Thus, an intervening country has the most to gain if it acts alone. Furthermore, a country can deliberately abstain from an intervention to benefit from higher shares of economic profit if the intervention fails and coalition members lose all economic benefits. The model can help explain the rarity of unanimous votes for an intervention and the complex and tedious bargaining process surrounding decisions to intervene.
Journal of International Affairs © 2011 Journal of International Affairs Editorial Board