In “You Can't Always Get What You Want: Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Seldom Improves Interstate Relations,” Alexander Downes and Lindsey O'Rourke offer important contributions to the study of how foreign-imposed regime change (FIRC) affects interstate relations. According to Downes and O'Rourke, states should exercise caution when considering whether to pursue covert or overt FIRC, because neither type of regime change improves relations between interveners and targets by reducing the likelihood of their engaging in future conflict and, in many cases, it makes conflict more likely.1 They imply that the emergence of post-FIRC conflicts marks the failure of FIRC in interstate relations.

Two theoretical problems arise from Downes and O'Rourke's oversimplification of the purpose of FIRCs. To begin, interveners may...

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