## Abstract

States frequently employ overt and covert foreign-imposed regime change (FIRC) to pursue their foreign policy interests. Yet there is little scholarship on the question of whether FIRCs improve relations between the states involved. In fact, most FIRCs either fail to reduce—or increase—the likelihood of militarized disputes between interveners and targets. Fundamentally, FIRC entails a principal-agent problem: foreign-imposed leaders rule over states with interests different from those of the intervener. Whereas the intervening state wants the new leader to pursue policies that reflect its interests, once in power, such leaders are focused on ensuring their political survival, a task that is often undermined by implementing the intervener's agenda. Foreign-imposed leaders who carry out the intervener's desired policies attract the ire of domestic actors. These domestic opponents can force the regime to reverse course or may even remove it from power in favor of leaders who are hostile to the intervener; in both cases, the result can be renewed conflict with the intervener. Rwanda's replacement of Mobutu Sese Seko with Laurent-Désiré Kabila in Zaire illustrates this problem.

## Introduction

Does foreign-imposed regime change (FIRC) improve relations between the states involved? If a state replaces the political leadership of a rival, will the new regime behave as a friend or foe? Regime change—both covert and overt—is a common foreign policy tool used by the United States and other countries to pursue their interests. Since 1816, states have overthrown more than 100 foreign leaders in overt interventions.1 During the Cold War, the United States alone attempted sixty-three covert FIRCs, twenty-four of which succeeded in bringing new regimes to power.2 In the post–Cold War era, it continues to be one of the key practitioners of FIRC, intervening in Haiti (1994), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), and Syria (2012).

The literature on the effects of FIRC and related forms of intervention—such as imposed polities, military occupation, forceful democracy promotion, and nation building—is extensive.3 Most of it, however, concerns internal outcomes in the targeted states—such as democratization and civil war—rather than relations between the interveners and their targets following regime change. The only study that explicitly addresses the effect of FIRC on interstate relations finds that FIRC reduces the likelihood of conflict between interveners and targets.4 According to the study, FIRC enables intervening states to install new leaders with similar policy preferences in target states. In theory, this alignment of interests should resolve disputes between the two states and enhance cooperation. In the best-case scenario, the newly installed regime becomes a reliable client state that promotes the intervener's interests at home and abroad.5

In this article, we conduct a new analysis of FIRC and interstate relations. In contrast to existing accounts, we argue that FIRC generally does not improve relations between interveners and targets. Rather, it often makes them worse. Fundamentally, state interests have deeper roots than the beliefs or policies of any one leader. Changing a state's leader, therefore, is not synonymous with changing its interests. In addition, FIRC entails a principal-agent problem: foreign-imposed leaders rule over states with interests different from those of the intervener. Whereas the intervening state (the principal) wants the new leader (the agent) to pursue policies that reflect its interests, once in power, the new leader is focused on ensuring his or her own political survival, a task that is often undermined by implementing the intervener's agenda.

Foreign-imposed leaders face pressure from two main sources to resist implementing the intervener's desired policies. First, they may promise to pursue the interests of their foreign patron but, once in power, find that they are constrained by geopolitical realities, such as threats from neighboring states. When the interests dictated by their geopolitical environment clash with those of the intervener, conflict between the two states may occur. Second, foreign-imposed leaders who do implement the intervener's desired policies may attract the ire of domestic actors. These domestic opponents can force the regime to reverse course or may even remove it from power in favor of leaders hostile to the intervener; in both cases, the result can be renewed conflict with the intervener. Foreign-imposed leaders therefore face a Catch-22: the more they attempt to implement the intervener's preferred policies, the more likely they are to face resistance from domestic actors. On the other hand, leaders who seek to appease domestic constituencies by defying the intervener risk angering the intervener and provoking interstate conflict with it.

Among overt and covert FIRCs that succeed in replacing targeted leaders, there are three different types that vary in how acutely they trigger this dilemma. First, “leadership FIRCs” replace one foreign leader with another without building or bolstering political institutions within the target state. Leaders installed during leadership FIRCs face the legitimacy problems discussed above most severely. Because these leaders typically lack homegrown support, they are domestically unpopular and rely on their external patron to sustain their rule. In implementing the intervener's policies, however, they further alienate their domestic constituency. These leaders are thus likely to face strong internal pressures to change course or else risk violent resistance; indeed, the majority of these leaders are overthrown and typically replaced by elites hostile to the intervener.6 Whether imposed leaders turn against the intervener on their own initiative or are displaced by other leaders who do so, we argue that the likelihood of intervener-target conflict increases.

Second, “institutional FIRCs” seek to build new political institutions in the target state in addition to removing leaders.7 We contend that institutional FIRCs neither increase nor decrease the likelihood of intervener-target conflict. On the one hand, institutional FIRCs that install repressive institutions enhance the new leader's ability to survive in office, enabling him or her to carry out the intervener's policies and thereby ensuring harmonious relations. Institutional FIRCs that construct democratic institutions promote peaceful relations through a different mechanism: the ability of democracies to resolve their differences without violence.8 Democracy, however, also brings policy more into line with voter preferences in the target state. If these preferences do not align with those of the intervener, the result could be growing rancor (although open conflict is unlikely).9 The bigger problem is that institutional FIRCs do not always succeed in establishing consolidated regimes. When they fail, hostile leaders may take power in target states, leading to further conflict. We argue that these successes and failures cancel each other out, resulting in no systematic relationship between institutional FIRC and interstate conflict.

Third, “restoration FIRCs” reinstate leaders who previously held power in the target state. These individuals already enjoyed some domestic legitimacy and good relations with the intervener. They are thus less likely to be viewed by their domestic constituencies as tools of foreign interests, and restoring them marks a return to a satisfactory status quo for the intervener rather than an ambitious attempt to transform conflictual relations into peaceful relations. We thus hypothesize that restoration FIRCs decrease the likelihood of conflict between targets and interveners.

Thus far our theory applies only to FIRCs that succeed, but regime change operations—particularly covert ones—often fail.10 Although failed covert operations do not suffer from the principal-agent problem outlined above, because these operations are almost always discovered by the target, they often transform a tense relationship into an openly conflictual one, exacerbating the likelihood of conflict between the intervener and the target. We thus argue that failed attempts at covert regime change increase the probability of militarized disputes between the states involved.

This article introduces a new dataset of FIRC that combines data on all overt FIRCs successfully carried out by any country in the world from 1816 to 2000 with data on failed and successful U.S.-backed covert FIRCs during the Cold War. The dataset has three major advantages over existing studies. First, it includes examples of both covert and overt FIRCs, whereas existing studies focus on only overt cases.11 Second, it contains examples of both successful (the target government was replaced) and failed (the target government was not replaced) covert FIRCs launched by the United States during the Cold War, whereas existing studies focus on only successful examples. This expanded sample allows us to evaluate the ramifications of failed covert FIRCs for the states involved. Third, the dataset differentiates between FIRCs that aim to replace the political institutions of the target state and those that aim to replace only its leaders or restore previous leaders to power. This categorization of FIRCs allows us to test whether certain types of regime transformations are more effective than others.

To test our theoretical propositions, we investigate the effect of FIRC on the likelihood of subsequent militarized interstate disputes (MIDs) between intervening and target states.12 Our empirical analysis largely confirms our theoretical expectations. We find, for example, that interstate dyads that experience an overt leadership FIRC are more than twice as likely subsequently to experience a MID; interventions that replace target states' institutions exert no discernable effect on post-FIRC conflict; and FIRCs that restore to power leaders deposed within the last five years reduce the likelihood of conflict. Similarly, covert leadership FIRCs significantly increase the probability of a post-FIRC MID, whereas covert institutional FIRCs do not reliably do so. The effect of covert FIRCs, however, depends on whether or not they succeed in deposing the targeted leader. Successful covert leadership FIRCs, contrary to our expectations, exert no significant effect on the likelihood of a post-FIRC MID. This type becomes strongly positive over the longer term, however, indicating that these FIRCs may eventually backfire. Failed covert FIRCs of any type, by contrast, strongly increase the probability of militarized conflict.

These findings suggest that policymakers have been overly optimistic about the utility of FIRC. Overthrowing a foreign government to replace an unfriendly leader with a more favorable one may appear to be an easy way to improve interstate relations. In many cases, however, the results are counterproductive. The mere replacement of a leader does not resolve the underlying reasons for interstate conflict, leaving open the possibility of renewed conflict.

To illustrate some of the causal mechanisms of our theory, we present an indepth case study of Rwanda's ill-fated leadership FIRC in Zaire in 1997. To eradicate the threat posed by Hutu militants housed in refugee camps in eastern Zaire following the Rwandan genocide, Rwanda's Tutsi regime ordered an invasion of Zaire in October 1996, ending President Mobutu Sese Seko's three decade-long rule. To avoid a recurrence of this threat, the Rwandans installed Laurent-Désiré Kabila in Mobutu's place to rule Zaire, which was then renamed the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kabila, however, struggled to consolidate domestic control over the DRC because most Congolese viewed him as a Rwandan puppet. Facing severe domestic unrest, Kabila turned on his Rwandan patrons, expelling all Rwandan troops in July 1998. In response, Rwanda launched a second invasion to overthrow its defiant protégé, sparking the Second Congo War (1998–2003).

The remainder of this article proceeds as follows. First, we review the existing literature on FIRC. Second, we present our theory of how FIRC affects relations between interveners and target states and outline our hypotheses. Third, we discuss our research design for testing our hypotheses quantitatively. Fourth, we present our statistical findings. Fifth, we recount Rwanda's replacement of Mobutu with Kabila in Zaire and how it triggered another conflict between the two states. We conclude by considering some of the policy implications of our findings.

## Foreign-Imposed Regime Change: The Existing Literature

Scholarly interest in phenomena such as FIRC, military occupation, and nation building has boomed in the wake of the U.S. overthrow of the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq. One strand of this literature analyzes the democratizing potential of such operations. Although some optimists argue that military intervention can foster democratization,13 few empirical studies agree. One group of studies, for example, finds that although foreign military interventions can make target states marginally more democratic, it rarely results in consolidated democracies.14 Other studies maintain that democratization is more likely following foreign military interventions if the interveners invest substantial resources in promoting democracy.15 A third group contends that foreign military intervention triggers democratization only when target states already enjoy conditions favorable to democracy, such as high levels of wealth, ethnic homogeneity, and previous experience with constitutional rule.16

Scholars have also sought to understand when foreign military intervention will spawn internal conflict. Goran Peic and Dan Reiter argue that FIRC, in combination with defeat in interstate war, contributes to the outbreak of civil war by destroying “physical and human infrastructure,” weakening state security forces, and removing competent government officials.17 Alexander Downes also finds that a FIRC enacted simultaneously with defeat in an interstate war can lead to civil conflict, but additionally shows that FIRC has a strong and independent effect on civil war.18

Most relevant to this article is scholarship that assesses the effect of FIRC on the likelihood of international conflict, particularly the chances of a post-FIRC conflict between an intervener and a target. Here, the only existing study finds that regime change promotes peace. Nigel Lo, Barry Hashimoto, and Dan Reiter, examining the effect of FIRC as a war termination strategy, find that peace lasts significantly longer after wars in which the winner imposes FIRC on the loser. The authors argue that by putting a friendly leader in charge—or by transforming a country's political institutions—an intervener changes the target's preferences and thus reduces the likelihood of further conflict between the two states.19

Although Lo, Hashimoto, and Reiter's study suggests that FIRC leads to peace, two aspects of the study leave unresolved the question of the overall effect of FIRC on interstate relations. First, the sample of states in the study includes only interstate war participants. It is unclear, however, whether the effect of FIRC in this limited sample generalizes to all states. Our study widens the lens by estimating the effect of several different types of FIRC on relations among all states whether in peacetime or war.20 Second, Lo and his colleagues use war recurrence as the dependent variable. War is an extreme indicator of interstate relations, however. Interveners and targets could experience conflict-ridden relations after FIRC without going to war. Including more sensitive indicators expands the scope of the analysis regarding the effects of regime change on post-FIRC relations. In this article, we suggest and test one such indicator: militarized interstate disputes.

## A Theory of Foreign-Imposed Regime Change and Interstate Relations

This section develops our argument and introduces seven hypotheses about the relationship between FIRC and the likelihood of subsequent militarized conflict between the intervening and target states. We begin by outlining how policymakers expect FIRC to work. Next, we explain why, on average, FIRC does not improve intervener-target relations and, in many cases, makes relations worse. Finally, we describe why different types of FIRCs have different effects on the subsequent likelihood of conflict.

Before continuing, we would like to note that, in general, our hypotheses compare the likelihood of military conflict for interstate dyads that experienced FIRC to those that did not. The statistical results we present below are based on this comparison. However, our hypotheses also apply within dyads that experienced FIRC, comparing the period before to the period after FIRC occurred. In additional tests described below, we find that our hypotheses apply equally well to both types of variation.

### HOW POLICYMAKERS EXPECT FIRCS TO WORK

States engage in FIRC to align the policy preferences of another state with their own, thereby reducing the probability of future conflict between the two states. The logic behind their reasoning is simple: if the operation is successful, the newly installed regime and the intervener will have the same interests, suggesting that the former will then act in the latter's interests without having to be bribed or coerced into doing so.21 After the FIRC, disputes between the intervener and the target government are less likely to arise because the target state should voluntarily act in the intervener's interests. This logic suggests that, regardless of the specific source of disagreement during an interstate dispute, FIRC should have a positive influence on intervener-target relations by changing the two states' relationship from one marred by conflicting interests to one characterized by mutual interests.22 Hypothesis 1 reflects this conventional wisdom.

Hypothesis 1: Foreign-imposed regime change decreases the likelihood of militarized conflict between intervening and target states.

### WHY FIRC DOES NOT IMPROVE INTERVENER-TARGET RELATIONS

Contrary to proponents' expectations, however, changing another state's preferences and behavior is not a simple task. To begin, states' interests never fully overlap, so international relations are always characterized by some degree of interest divergence. Moreover, changing a state's leader is not synonymous with changing its interests. Instead, replacing the leadership of another state creates a principal-agent problem. Once they take power, foreign-imposed leaders endeavor to hold on to it. Yet because the interests of the intervening and target states are never fully congruent, serving the intervener's interests may upset domestic audiences, which in turn could threaten the new leader's chances of political survival. In some cases, this interest divergence is compounded because interveners also ask the target leader to take actions that make the target more vulnerable to other external threats. Foreign-imposed leaders are thus often “damned if they do and damned if they don't.” If they faithfully implement the intervener's preferred policies, they face possible removal by internal actors or external opponents; if they diverge from the intervener's wishes, however, they increase the chance that the intervener will seek to remove them.

interests and leaders. There are two basic problems with the prevailing view of FIRC. First, states' interests never completely overlap. Even close allies often have major disagreements on important issues. In the post–Cold War era, for example, the United States and its NATO partners have diverged over how to approach the Bosnian conflict, how intensely to bomb Yugoslavia in 1999, whether or not to invade Iraq in 2003, and how to deal with Iran's nuclear program.23 Given that the divergence of state interests can impede cooperation even among the staunchest of allies, this problem is generally much worse between adversaries, and even more severe when one state is contemplating FIRC against another. In pursuing regime change, the intervener has decided that less violent forms of persuasion are unlikely to bring the target state in line with its preferences. Conversely, the choice of the target government to resist rather than acquiesce to the intervener's demands when the conflict first arose—thereby causing the dispute to escalate to the point of regime change—indicates that the target, too, perceived the interests at stake to be substantial, perhaps existential.24

Second, states' interests are rarely those of individual leaders alone. This is not to deny that leaders exert important influence on the direction and details of states' foreign policies. Elizabeth Saunders, for example, documents the divergent approaches to the fight against communism in Vietnam taken by Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson.25 Yet despite their different tactics, all three leaders agreed on a broad strategy of containing the Soviet Union from expanding its influence in Western Europe and East Asia. This continuity reflects the fact that states' foreign policy interests are often relatively stable and long-lived, and rarely boil down to the preferences of particular individuals.26

the principal-agent dynamic. FIRC suffers from a principal-agent problem: the intervening state (the principal) installs a new leader (the agent) in the target state, but the principal has limited means to ensure that the agent follows the principal's demands rather than pursuing its own interests.27 One reason why an agent might diverge from the principal's agenda is adverse selection: the agent is able to convince the principal that it shares the latter's views when in fact it does not. This plausible scenario likely explains some of the misalignment of interests that follows many FIRCs. Major misalignments, however, are typically not the result of agents deliberately deceiving principals. Rather, an agent's main interest upon assuming power becomes survival in office, and following the principal's guidance may endanger that goal. Although the agent may have promised to implement the principal's preferred policies, political constraints prevent him or her from doing so after assuming office. In other cases, the agent may be overthrown by domestic forces who object to the intervener's demands.28 Either way, intervener-target relations are unlikely to improve.29

Some might wonder why interveners are unable to solve the principal-agent problem inherent in FIRC through increased monitoring—for instance, by maintaining a full-scale military occupation or by stationing troops in the target state. These measures, however, are unlikely to solve the problem. In a full-scale military occupation, the intervener assumes responsibility for governing the target state, rather than appointing an agent. Furthermore, in the age of nationalism, occupying powers are often plagued by legitimacy problems that undermine their ability to effectively govern the target state.30 Just stationing troops in the target country without taking on governance functions, by contrast, is expensive and does not guarantee that the intervener will be able to influence the agent's actions. Additionally, once the intervener decides to withdraw, the indigenous government left in its place may struggle to consolidate power given the delegitimizing effect the presence of foreign troops has had on its regime.

## Acknowledgments

The authors' names are listed in alphabetical order, and each contributed equally to this article. Previous drafts were presented at the Macmillan International Relations Seminar at Yale University, the Security Studies Colloquium at Princeton University, the Dickey Center Post-doctoral Workshop at Dartmouth College, and the 2015 International Studies Association Annual Convention. The authors gratefully acknowledge helpful comments from audience members at these presentations, as well as from Jeffrey Friedman, William Wohlforth, and the anonymous reviewers. For excellent research assistance, the authors thank Amber Diaz, Caitlin Gorback, Alexander Gorin, Michael Joseph, Julia Macdonald, and Paul Zachary. Downes acknowledges support from the Office of Naval Research, U.S. Department of the Navy, Grant No. N00014-09-1-0557. Any opinions, findings, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Office of Naval Research. Replicated data and supplemental materials can be found online at doi:10.7910/DVN/7Y4TD8.

## Notes

1.

Alexander B. Downes and Jonathan Monten, “Forced to Be Free? Why Foreign-Imposed Regime Change Rarely Leads to Democratization,” International Security, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Spring 2013), pp. 90–131.

2.

Lindsey O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security: U.S.-Orchestrated Regime Change during the Cold War,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago, 2013.

3.

See, for example, Goran Peic and Dan Reiter, “Foreign-Imposed Regime Change, State Power, and Civil War Onset, 1920–2004,” British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 41, No. 3 (July 2011), pp. 453–475; Downes and Monten, “Forced to Be Free”; Alexander B. Downes, “Catastrophic Success: Foreign-Imposed Regime Change and Civil War,” George Washington University, 2016; Andrew J. Enterline and J. Michael Greig, “Perfect Storms? Political Instability in Imposed Polities and the Future of Iraq and Afghanistan,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 52, No. 6 (December 2008), pp. 880–915; Andrew J. Enterline and J. Michael Greig, “Against All Odds? The History of Imposed Democracy and the Future of Iraq and Afghanistan,” Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 4, No. 4 (October 2008), pp. 321–347; David M. Edelstein, Occupational Hazards: Success and Failure in Military Occupations (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2008); Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and George W. Downs, “Intervention and Democracy,” International Organization, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Summer 2006), pp. 627–649; Jeffrey Pickering and Mark Peceny, “Forging Democracy at Gunpoint,” International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3 (September 2006), pp. 539–560; Daniel Berger et al., “Do Superpower Interventions Have Short and Long Term Consequences for Democracy?” Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol. 41, No. 1 (February 2013), pp. 22–34; and James Dobbins et al., America's Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, 2003).

4.

Nigel Lo, Barry Hashimoto, and Dan Reiter, “Ensuring Peace: Foreign-Imposed Regime Change and Post-War Peace Duration, 1914–2001,” International Organization, Vol. 62, No. 4 (Fall 2008), pp. 717–736.

5.

Other studies that articulate a version of this logic include Bueno de Mesquita and Downs, “Intervention and Democracy”; Dan Reiter, How Wars End (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009); and O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security.”

6.

Alexander B. Downes, “Decapitation by FIRC: Foreign-Imposed Regime Change and the Fate of Leaders,” paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Diego, California, April 1–4, 2012, p. 30; and O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security.”

7.

Institutional FIRCs can promote democratic or repressive institutions. In our sample, the promotion of democracy is carried out exclusively by democracies; the promotion of repressive institutions is carried out by single-party regimes, particularly the Soviet Union.

8.

Democracies are also less likely than autocracies to experience coups, meaning that a democratic target backsliding into an autocracy is unlikely to provoke conflict with an intervener. See Clayton L. Thyne and Jonathan M. Powell, “Coup d'État or Coup d'Autocracy? How Coups Impact Democratization, 1950–2008,” Foreign Policy Analysis, Vol. 12, No. 2 (April 2016), pp. 192–213; and Nancy Bermeo, “On Democratic Backsliding,” Journal of Democracy, Vol. 27, No. 1 (January 2016), pp. 5–19.

9.

Bueno de Mesquita and Downs, “Intervention and Democracy.” On the difficulty of obtaining reliable client states through regime change whether or not it promotes democracy, see Lindsey A. O'Rourke and Alexander B. Downes, “Picking Your Friends: Foreign-Imposed Regime Change and the Quality of Interstate Relations,” Boston College and George Washington University, 2016.

10.

Of U.S. covert regime-change operations during the Cold War, thirty-nine out of sixty-three (62 percent) were unsuccessful. See O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” p. 300. Although overt regime-change efforts also sometimes fail, we exclude these cases owing to the substantial additional research effort that would be involved in identifying them. We discuss this omission further—and explain why we do not believe it biases our results—in the research design section below.

11.

Studies suggest that states are more willing to conduct certain types of FIRC covertly—such as missions targeting democratic states, domestically controversial operations, and operations targeting powerful states. See Stephen Van Evera, “The Case against Intervention,” Atlantic Monthly, July 1990, pp. 72–80; Patrick James and Glenn E. Mitchell II, “Targets of Covert Pressure: The Hidden Victims of the Democratic Peace,” International Interactions, Vol. 21, No. 1 (July 1995), pp. 85–107; Sebastian Rosato, “The Flawed Logic of Democratic Peace Theory,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 97, No. 4 (November 2003), pp. 585–602; Alexander B. Downes and Mary Lauren Lilley, “Overt Peace, Covert War? Covert Intervention and the Democratic Peace,” Security Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Summer 2010), pp. 266–306; and O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security.”

12.

MIDs are a more sensitive barometer of interstate relations than war recurrence, the variable used in previous studies. See Lo, Hashimoto, and Reiter, “Ensuring Peace.”

13.

Joshua Muravchik, Exporting Democracy: Fulfilling America's Destiny (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1992); Charles Krauthammer, “Democratic Realism: An American Foreign Policy for a Unipolar World,” 2004 Irving Kristol Lecture, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C., February 10, 2004; Condoleezza Rice, “The Promise of Democratic Peace: Why Promoting Freedom Is the Only Realistic Path to Security,” Washington Post, December 11, 2005; and Nancy Bermeo, “Armed Conflict and the Durability of Electoral Democracy,” in Elizabeth Kier and Ronald R. Krebs, eds., In War's Wake: International Conflict and the Fate of Liberal Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 67–94.

14.

Bueno de Mesquita and Downs, “Intervention and Democracy”; Pickering and Peceny, “Forging Democracy at Gunpoint,” pp. 549–555; Margaret G. Hermann and Charles W. Kegley Jr., “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy: Evaluating the Record,” International Interactions, Vol. 24, No. 2 (June 1998), p. 97; Nils Gleditsch, Lene Siljeholm Christiansen, and Håvard Hegre, “Democratic Jihad? Military Intervention and Democracy,” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4242 (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, June 2007), p. 39; and Arthur A. Goldsmith, “Making the World Safe for Partial Democracy? Questioning the Premises of Democracy Promotion,” International Security, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Fall 2008), pp. 120–147.

15.

Hermann and Kegley, “The U.S. Use of Military Intervention to Promote Democracy,” pp. 97–100; Mark Peceny, Democracy at the Point of Bayonets (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), pp. 183–216; Dobbins et al., America's Role in Nation-Building; and James Meernik, “United States Military Intervention and the Promotion of Democracy,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 33, No. 4 (November 1996), p. 399.

16.

Enterline and Greig, “Against All Odds?”; Downes and Monten, “Forced to Be Free”; Minxin Pei and Sara Kasper, “Lessons from the Past: The American Record on Nation-Building” (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2003); Eva Bellin, “The Iraqi Intervention and Democracy in Comparative Historical Perspective,” Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 119, No. 4 (Winter 2004/05), pp. 595–608; and Jason Brownlee, “Can America Nation-Build?” World Politics, Vol. 59, No. 2 (January 2007), pp. 314–340.

17.

Peic and Reiter, “Foreign-Imposed Regime Change, State Power, and Civil War Onset,” p. 453.

18.

Downes, “Catastrophic Success.”

19.

Lo, Hashimoto, and Reiter, “Ensuring Peace.” Indeed, FIRCs by democracies that forcibly democratize a defeated belligerent are a near-sufficient condition for peace. See ibid., p. 732. For a related study on the effect of imposed democracy on regional conflict, see Andrew J. Enterline and J. Michael Greig, “Beacons of Hope? The Impact of Imposed Democracy on Regional Peace, Democracy, and Prosperity,” Journal of Politics, Vol. 67, No. 4 (November 2005), pp. 1075–1098.

20.

Moreover, one of the data sources that Lo, Hashimoto, and Reiter use in their study includes only thirty-three FIRCs that ended wars during this period, while the other includes only thirty-seven. See, respectively, Suzanne Werner, “Absolute and Limited War: The Possibility of Foreign-Imposed Regime Change,” International Interactions, Vol. 22, No. 1 (1996), pp. 67–88; and Henk E. Goemans, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, and Giacomo Chiozza, “Introducing Archigos: A Dataset of Political Leaders,” Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 46, No. 2 (March 2009), pp. 269–283. Including FIRCs that occurred outside of interstate wars substantially increases the total. For instance, Downes and Monten count 70 FIRCs in the twentieth century, or roughly double the number in Lo, Hashimoto, and Reiter's study. See Downes and Monten, “Forced to Be Free,” p. 111.

21.

Lo, Hashimoto, and Reiter, “Ensuring Peace”; Reiter, How Wars End, pp. 26–27; and O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” pp. 64–70.

22.

For more on how misaligned preferences can lead to conflict, see Robert Axelrod, “Conflict of Interest: An Axiomatic Approach,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 11, No. 1 (March 1967), pp. 87–99; and Robert Axelrod and Robert O. Keohane, “Achieving Cooperation under Anarchy: Strategies and Institutions,” World Politics, Vol. 38, No. 1 (October 1985), pp. 226–254.

23.

In many cases, states are able to cooperate in areas where their interests overlap, such as when facing a common threat, but this cooperation disintegrates when the threat disappears (e.g., the collapse of the U.S. and British alliance with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany after World War II). Moreover, even seemingly unified alliances—such as the Arab alliance against Israel in 1948—can crumble in the face of adversity. See Benny Morris, Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–1999 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), pp. 218–222; and Avi Shlaim, Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).

24.

Melissa Willard-Foster, “A Peace Too Costly to Keep: Why States Overthrow Foreign Governments,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 2011; and Phil Haun, Coercion, Survival, and War: Why Weak States Resist the United States (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2015).

25.

Elizabeth N. Saunders, Leaders at War: How Presidents Shape Military Interventions (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2011).

26.

Although we stress geopolitical factors here, other variables—such as shared ideology or ethnicity—can also cause state preferences to transcend individual leaders.

27.

For applications of principal-agent theory in security studies, see George W. Downs and David M. Rocke, “Conflict, Agency, and Gambling for Resurrection: The Principal-Agent Problem Goes to War,” American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 38, No. 2 (May 1994), pp. 362–380; Peter D. Feaver, Armed Servants: Agency, Oversight, and Civil-Military Relations (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003); and Idean Salehyan, “The Delegation of War to Rebel Organizations,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 54, No. 3 (June 2010), pp. 493–515.

28.

Bueno de Mesquita and Downs argue that democracies install dictators when they intervene because autocrats—who need not respond to the preferences of their domestic audience—are more likely than democrats to follow external guidance. This argument, however, neglects the reality that authoritarian leaders are accountable to domestic audiences for their policies, though this accountability in enforced with coups, assassinations, and rebellions, rather than at the ballot box. See Bueno de Mesquita and Downs, “Intervention and Democracy.” On authoritarian accountability, see Jessica L.P. Weeks, Dictators at War and Peace (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2014).

29.

Scholarship on U.S. foreign military assistance has found that, because of the principal-agent problem, such missions rarely result in militarily effective units: foreign political elites often undercut training missions to keep their soldiers ineffective in an attempt to secure their own political survival. See Stephen Biddle, Julia Macdonald, and Ryan Baker, “Small Footprint, Small Payoff: The Military Effectiveness of Security Force Assistance,” George Washington University, November 2015.

30.

See Klaus Knorr, The Power of Nations: The Political Economy of International Relations (New York: Basic Books, 1975); Robert Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Edelstein, Occupational Hazards; Simon Collard-Wexler, “Understanding Resistance to Foreign Occupation,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, August 29–September 1, 2013; and Robert A. Pape, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (New York: Random House, 2005).

31.

Alissa J. Rubin and Thom Shanker, “Afghan Leader Says U.S. Abets Taliban's Goal,” New York Times, March 10, 2013.

32.

Adam Taylor, “Karzai Joins a Long List of Leaders Ungrateful for U.S. Support,” Washington Post, September 25, 2014.

33.

The argument that a state's external security environment dictates its interstate behavior is consistent with realist theory. At the same time, the objective of FIRC—replacing the political leadership of another state—is fundamentally at odds with realism. For more on the relationship between FIRC and realism, see John M. Owen IV, The Clash of Ideas in World Politics: Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510–2010 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2010), p. 8.

34.

Scott Wolford, Dan Reiter, and Clifford J. Carrubba, “Information, Commitment, and War,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 55, No. 4 (August 2011), pp. 556–579.

35.

O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” pp. 59–60.

36.

Neil MacFarquhar, “Saddam Hussein, Defiant Dictator Who Ruled Iraq with Violence and Fear, Dies,” New York Times, December 30, 2006.

37.

There may be cases where an intransigent leader is removed from office for failing to acquiesce on an issue that his or her domestic population viewed as an acceptable concession. This does not, however, negate the external sources of interest divergence discussed above. Nor does it necessarily mean that newly installed elites will comply with the intervener's wishes on other issues.

38.

Stephen M. Streeter, Managing the Counterrevolution: The United States and Guatemala, 1954–1961 (Athens: Center for International Studies, Ohio University, 2000), pp. 223–224.

39.

Peic and Reiter, “Foreign-Imposed Regime Change, State Power, and Civil War Onset, 1920–2004”; and Downes, “Catastrophic Success.”

40.

Giacomo Chiozza, Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, and H.E. Goemans, “Civil War, Tenure, and Interstate Insecurity,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, September 2–5, 2004; Idean Salehyan and Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, “Refugees and the Spread of Civil War,” International Organization, Vol. 60, No. 2 (April 2006), pp. 335–366; and Zaryab Iqbal and Harvey Starr, “Bad Neighbors: Failed States and Their Consequences,” Conflict Management and Peace Science, Vol. 25, No. 4 (September 2008), pp. 315–331.

41.

Salehyan and Gleditsch, “Refugees and the Spread of Civil War.”

42.

James C. Murdoch and Todd Sandler, “Civil War and Economic Growth: Spatial Dispersion,” American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 48, No. 1 (January 2004), pp. 138–151.

43.

Iqbal and Starr, “Bad Neighbors.”

44.

Chiozza, Gleditsch, and Goemans, “Civil War, Tenure, and Interstate Insecurity,” p. 7.

45.

These MIDs were a direct by-product of the U.S. war in Iraq and not, as some might argue, the result of the United States' overall strategy in fighting the “war on terror.” See the descriptions of MID #50302 with Iran and MID #50501 with Syria in the Correlates of War Project, “Dispute Narratives, 2002–2010,” MIDv4.0 Project, December 13, 2013, http://www.correlatesofwar.org/data-sets/MIDs.

46.

One might argue that even if FIRC does not decrease intervener-target conflict, the intervening state may still obtain some other benefit from intervention, such as increased trade or access to natural resources. The existing evidence fails to support this supposition. See Paul Zachary, Kathleen Deloughery, and Alexander B. Downes, “No Business Like FIRC Business: Foreign-Imposed Regime Change and Bilateral Trade,” British Journal of Political Science (forthcoming).

47.

Downes, “Decapitation by FIRC,” p. 30; and O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” p. 300.

48.

Malcolm Byrne, “Introduction,” in Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne, eds., Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran (Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2004), p. xv. Some might argue that although the 1953 coup in Iran contributed to anti-American sentiments during the 1979 revolution, from the U.S. perspective, the coup may still be considered a foreign policy success because it achieved other national security goals—namely, preventing the pro-Soviet Tudeh Party from gaining power and facilitating twenty-six years of cooperative relations with the shah's regime. See James D. Fearon, “Taking the Gamble,” Boston Review, Vol. 36, No. 5 (September/October 2011), http://bostonreview.net/fearon-taking-the-gamble. This interpretation overestimates the benefits of intervention by inflating the threat posed by the Tudeh Party and understimates its costs by minimizing the long-term negative effects of the coup on U.S.-Iranian relations. For accounts that reach similar conclusions, see James A. Bill, The Eagle and the Lion: The Tragedy of American-Iranian Relations (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1988); Stephen Kinzer, All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley, 2003); and Ervand Abrahamian, The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations (New York: New Press, 2013).

49.

The number is large because both Britain and the United States are coded as interveners.

50.

On Austria's intervention in the Two Sicilies (1821), see Paul W. Schroeder, The Transformation of European Politics, 1763–1848 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1994), p. 613. On Prussia's interventions in Saxony and Baden, see, respectively, Paul Veit Valentin, 1848: Chapters of German History, trans. Ethel Talbot Scheffauer (Hamden, Conn.: Archon, 1965), p. 402; and Dennis E. Showalter, The Wars of German Unification (London: Arnold, 2004), p. 41.

51.

Henry Giniger, “Gabon Insurgents Yield as France Rushes In Troops,” New York Times, February 20, 1964.

52.

One report states that Denard's force numbered only thirty-three individuals. See Marlise Simons, “1,000 French Troops Invade Comoros to Put Down a Coup,” New York Times, October 5, 1995.

53.

Readers might question why we postulate that a restoration FIRC reduces the likelihood of conflict rather than leaving it unchanged, given that, presumably, the restored leader already had good relations with the intervener in the period preceding FIRC. This is true, but the friendly leader was at some point supplanted by elites who were more hostile to the intervener, thereby increasing the chance of conflict before FIRC occurs.

54.

Soviet FIRCs in Eastern Europe also empowered leaders who shared the same ideology as their Soviet backers, and who thus wanted their countries to have close relationships with Moscow. On shared values among Marxist regimes as a source of peace, see Mark Peceny, Caroline C. Beer, and Shannon Sanchez-Terry, “Dictatorial Peace?” American Political Science Review, Vol. 96, No. 1 (March 2002), pp. 19–20.

55.

See, for example, Bruce Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post–Cold War World (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993).

56.

Bueno de Mesquita and Downs argue that this is why democratic interveners do not promote democracy. See Bueno de Mesquita and Downs, “Intervention and Democracy.”

57.

Haiti, however, reverted to autocracy in 1999.

58.

Downes and Monten, “Forced to Be Free,” pp. 122–128. A sixth case, Costa Rica in 1919, resulted in democracy. Because the country was also a democracy before FIRC, it does not constitute a case of democratic transition.

59.

Restricting overt institutional FIRCs to those that exclusively promote democracy (to match the covert institutional FIRCs in our sample, which—because they are carried out by the United States—all promote democracy) does not change our theoretical prediction or our empirical results.

60.

Theoretically, if the intervening state were able to keep its role in installing a foreign leader secret, this would eliminate one of the problems associated with regime change—namely, the legitimacy deficit associated with the new regime having been imposed by a foreign power. We expect such cases to be rare given the frequency with which target regimes accuse interveners of meddling in their domestic affairs. Although states have multiple reasons for intervening covertly, most of these motives impel states to attempt to conceal their role only from outside observers, and thus FIRCs seldom remain a secret from the target regime. See O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” chapter 3.

61.

Ibid., p. 333. It is possible that a target regime's domestic audience may not deem the regime's allegations of foreign meddling credible, given the regime's incentives to blame outside actors for its own shortcomings. Such a situation is, however, likely rare for two reasons. First, the United States has a well-established reputation for pursuing covert regime change, so foreign audiences are likely to be sympathetic to these allegations. Second, targeted governments can often produce credible evidence of U.S. involvement, such as confiscated U.S.-made weapons and technology, foreign agents willing to testify about their U.S. connections, and, in a few cases, captured U.S. spies and contractors.

62.

Supporting this line of reasoning, O'Rourke found that states targeted in U.S.-backed covert regime change attempts during the Cold War were more likely to experience civil war or an episode of government-led mass killing within ten years of the intervention compared to similar countries where the United States had not intervened. See Lindsey O'Rourke, “Mission Impossible? The Consequences of Covert Regime Change,” paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, March 16–19, 2016.

63.

Dobbins et al., America's Role in Nation-Building; and Edelstein, Occupational Hazards.

64.

One reason why there are no covert restoration FIRCs is that successful covert missions require time. Thus, when states must act quickly to reinstall a recently deposed leader, they are more likely to intervene overtly. See O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” p. 91.

65.

Powell, quoted in Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack: The Definitive Account of the Decision to Invade Iraq (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004), p. 150.

66.

O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” p. 300.

67.

The dataset was constructed using the EUGene program. See D. Scott Bennett and Allan C. Stam, “EUGene: A Conceptual Manual,” International Interactions, Vol. 26, No. 2 (2000), pp. 179–204.

68.

We chose a directed-dyad design (rather than one using undirected dyads) because we want to understand not only whether dyads that experience FIRC are more conflict-prone than other dyads, but also to identify which state in a dyad initiated militarized conflict. For overt FIRCs, our theory—and the power imbalance in favor of interveners—implies that post-FIRC conflict in most cases should be initiated by the state that launched the FIRC. This hunch turns out to be correct: nearly 80 percent of MIDs following overt leadership FIRCs, for example, were initiated by the intervener. For covert FIRCs, by contrast, many of which fail, we would expect conflict initiation to be more evenly split: failure could prompt reintervention by the aggressor or retaliation by the target. This expectation is also borne out. For covert leadership FIRCs, interveners initiate only 53 percent of post-FIRC MIDs.

69.

Inconsistencies in the data sources about when certain states are considered to be members of the international system, however, result in the exclusion of more than a dozen nineteenth-century FIRCs from our analysis. EUGene contains data from a variety of sources that appear to use inconsistent rules to identify states. As a result, eight cases in Central America from 1855 to 1894 as well as FIRCs involving Modena, Parma, Afghanistan, and Peru are omitted. Because several of these cases involved leadership FIRCs followed by conflict, this loss of cases may result in an underestimation of the effect of leadership FIRC. Another reason why our analysis might understate the effect of overt leadership FIRC is that some cases that could have been followed by interstate conflict—such as German FIRCs in World War II—are truncated because the target was occupied by the intervener and disappeared temporarily from the international system. Conflict still occurred in several of these cases (e.g., resistance to German occupation in Greece, Yugoslavia, and elsewhere); it simply took place inside the target rather than between the target and the intervener.

70.

The MID dataset also has many disadvantages, particularly when used to test theories about phenomena it was not designed for, such as threat effectiveness. See Alexander B. Downes and Todd S. Sechser, “The Illusion of Democratic Credibility,” International Organization, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Summer 2012), pp. 457–489.

71.

Because some MIDs involve only the threat or display of force, we also tested our models on only those MIDs that escalated to the use of force or war. See the section on robustness tests below and the supplemental materials.

72.

73.

Downes and Monten, “Forced to Be Free,” p. 109.

74.

O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” p. 17. For a full discussion of the many definitional issues associated with covert FIRC, see the supplemental materials.

75.

On Britain's aim, as Prime Minister Anthony Eden put it, to “bring about the downfall of the present Egyptian Government,” see J.A. Sellers, “Military Lessons: The British Perspective,” in Selwyn Ilan Troen and Moshe Shemesh, eds., The Suez-Sinai Crisis, 1956: Retrospective and Reappraisal (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990), p. 17. For Iranian pronouncements calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War, see Dilip Hiro, The Longest War: The Iran-Iraq Military Conflict (New York: Routledge, 1991), pp. 35, 61, 64.

76.

It is important to code the effect as beginning the year after FIRC because many FIRCs are coded as MIDs. Including the year of FIRC would thus incorrectly code some FIRCs as resulting in MIDs.

77.

A complete list of FIRCs—and MIDs that follow FIRCs—is available in the supplemental materials.

78.

See, for example, Jessica L. Weeks, “Strongmen and Straw Men: Authoritarian Regimes and the Initiation of International Conflict,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 106, No. 2 (May 2012), pp. 326–347. Unless otherwise noted, these variables were generated by EUGene.

79.

This variable is from Carles Boix, Michael Miller, and Sebastian Rosato, “A Complete Data Set of Political Regimes, 1800–2007,” Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 46, No. 12 (December 2013), pp. 1523–1554.

80.

A correlation matrix of our independent variables, available in the supplementary materials, indicates that multicollinearity is not a problem. Importantly, none of the FIRC variables is highly correlated with any of the control variables.

81.

Complete regression results are available in appendix A in the supplementary materials. Details on the robustness tests may be found in appendices C through M in the supplementary materials. Here, however, we rely on graphs to summarize our main findings.

82.

Estimates were generated using CLARIFY. See Michael Tomz, Jason Wittenberg, and Gary King, “CLARIFY: Software for Interpreting and Presenting Statistical Results,” Journal of Statistical Software, Vol. 8 (2003), pp. 1–29. All other variables in the models are held constant at their means or modes.

83.

The first set of bars in figure 2 indicates that MIDs are also significantly more likely to occur while a covert regime change operation is under way.

84.

A Wald test indicates that it is extremely unlikely that these two effects are equal (p = 0.0001).

85.

Careful readers may note that the 95 percent confidence intervals for the presence and absence of overt leadership FIRC overlap, but this does not necessarily mean that the effect of overt leadership FIRC is not significant. Model 2 in table A1 (appendix A) in the supplementary materials shows that overt leadership FIRC is significant at p < 0.05, and the 95 percent confidence intervals of the change in predicted probability calculated by CLARIFY (shown in appendix B) are strictly positive.

86.

These are the Dominican Republic, 1968; Nicaragua, 1989; Chile, 1989; Poland, 1989; and the Philippines, 1989.

87.

In other words, the joint democracy strand of the institutional FIRC logic outweighs the interest divergence logic.

88.

O'Rourke, “Secrecy and Security,” pp. 115–116, 346, 357. Because these covert efforts coincided with large-scale overt efforts to liberalize these countries, such as Marshall Plan aid, a good case can be made that they would be better classified as institutional FIRCs rather than leadership FIRCs. We opted against this coding, however, for two reasons. First, the covert efforts themselves focused on the narrow objective of ensuring that Leftist parties did not win the elections (i.e., determining the leadership of the state), rather than bringing about the elections in the first place (i.e., changing the institutions of the state). Second, as with all coding debates, the question arises as to whether the coding decision biases the evidence for or against the authors' argument. Because we argue that successful leadership FIRCs harm interstate relations, this coding goes against our argument.

89.

A Wald test indicates that the coefficients are not significantly different.

90.

The results of these tests appear in appendices C through M in the supplementary materials.

91.

Our alliance dummy variable—produced by EUGene—is coded 1 if the states in a dyad were joined in any kind of formal alliance (defense pact, nonaggression pact, or neutrality pact) with each other in a given year, and 0 otherwise. Joint alliance membership is never significantly related to MID initiation.

92.

Given that we lack data on covert interventions by nations other than the United States, including non-U.S. dyads could be inappropriate because it gives undue weight to the U.S. cases. In related work using a slightly different set of covariates, O'Rourke finds that limiting the sample to dyads containing the United States during the Cold War does not eliminate the effect of covert FIRC. See O'Rourke, “Mission Impossible?” pp. 14–18.

93.

See Eric Neumayer and Thomas Plümper, “Making Spatial Analysis Operational: Commands for Generating Spatial-Effect Variables in Monadic and Dyadic Data,” Stata Journal, Vol. 10, No. 4 (2010), pp. 585–605; and Aranow, Samii, and Assenova, “Cluster-Robust Variance Estimation for Dyadic Data.” The authors thank Peter Aranow and Cyrus Samii for assistance implementing their method.

94.

Gary King and Langche Zeng, “Logistic Regression in Rare Events Data,” Political Analysis, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Spring 2001), pp. 137–163.

95.

Fixed effects models also capture unmeasured factors unique to dyads that could influence the likelihood of militarized disputes. In this analysis, overt leadership FIRC slips slightly in significance (p < 0.14). Interestingly, restoration FIRC remains negative and significant, confirming our claim that these FIRCs decrease the likelihood of MIDs even though they restore leaders with whom interveners presumably already had good relations. To further compare dyads' propensity for conflict immediately before and after FIRC, we included a dummy variable coded 1 during the ten years prior to different kinds of FIRCs. Militarized disputes were significantly less likely after all overt types of FIRC than before. Dyads that experienced an overt leadership FIRC, however, continued to be at significant risk of suffering another conflict after FIRC occurred. By contrast, conflict was significantly more likely after most covert FIRCs than it was beforehand.

96.

Genetic matching produced a set of control cases that was statistically indistinguishable from cases that experienced different types of FIRC. The only notable deviation from our main results is that overt leadership FIRC becomes insignificant after genetic matching. On matching, see Daniel E. Ho et al., “Matching as Nonparametric Preprocessing for Reducing Model Dependence in Parametric Causal Inference,” Political Analysis, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Summer 2007), pp. 199–236; and Alexis Diamond and Jasjeet S. Sekhon, “Genetic Matching for Estimating Causal Effects: A General Multivariate Matching Method for Achieving Balance in Observational Studies,” Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 95, No. 3 (July 2013), pp. 932–945. Note that the use of matching to deal with selection bias—although widespread—remains controversial. See Michael K. Miller, “The Uses and Abuses of Matching in Political Science,” George Washington University, n.d.

97.

Although we code this case as an overt FIRC for the purposes of our statistical analysis, the Rwandan leadership went to great lengths to conceal its military involvement. As we demonstrate below, however, the regime change plot was essentially hatched in Kigali, and Rwandan military forces participated extensively from beginning to end. This Rwandan presence was thus impossible to hide and was widely reported at the time. For examples of this reporting, see Johan Pottier, Re-Imagining Rwanda: Conflict, Survival, and Disinformation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 88.

98.

According to traditional indices of power used in international relations (and our statistical analysis), Rwanda appears far weaker than its enormous neighbor. For example, Rwanda's share of global material capabilities in 1996 was roughly one-fifth that of Zaire's; in addition, Rwanda possessed about one-ninth of Zaire's population and one-eighty-ninth of its land area.

99.

Jason K. Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters: The Collapse of the Congo and the Great War of Africa (New York: PublicAffairs, 2011), p. 55.

100.

This advantage is further accentuated when the capabilities of Rwanda's allies are taken into account. Both the Ugandan People's Defense Forces and the Angolan Armed Forces were much more capable than Kinshasa's military. On state weakness in Zaire in general, see Boaz Atzili, “When Good Fences Make Bad Neighbors: Fixed Borders, State Weakness, and International Conflict,” International Security, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Winter 2006/07), pp. 156–161.

101.

The literature on the Rwandan genocide is substantial. For exemplars, see Gérard Prunier, The Rwanda Crisis: History of a Genocide (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995); Alison Des Forges, Leave None to Tell the Story: Genocide in Rwanda (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999); Samantha Power, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2002), pp. 329–389; and Scott Straus, The Order of Genocide: Race, Power, and War in Rwanda (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2006).

102.

See the figures in Fiona Terry, Condemned to Repeat? The Paradox of Humanitarian Action (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2002), p. 158; Sarah Kenyon Lischer, Dangerous Sanctuaries: Refugee Camps, Civil War, and the Dilemmas of Humanitarian Aid (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2005), pp. 78–79; Filip Reyntjens, The Great African War: Congo and Regional Geopolitics, 1996–2006 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 45; and Gérard Prunier, Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), p. 25. Most of the remaining Hutu refugees (about half a million) fled to Tanzania, with a smaller number ending up in Burundi.

103.

On October 31, 1994, for instance, ex-FAR soldiers killed thirty-six people in Gisenyi in northwest Rwanda. See Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 26; and Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, p. 29.

104.

Mobutu frequently hosted high-ranking leaders of the génocidaire regime. As Gérard Prunier reports, “The former Rwandese leadership had free run of the country.” See Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 28. Zairian military forces also made little attempt to disarm the FAR and other Hutu militants as they entered the country. See Terry, Condemned to Repeat? pp. 160–161; Lischer, Dangerous Sanctuaries, p. 85; and Human Rights Watch, Rwanda/Zaire: Rearming with Impunity—International Support for the Perpetrators of the Rwandan Genocide (New York: Human Rights Watch, May 1995), p. 11. Zairian authorities, moreover, looked the other way as the Hutu leadership imported arms from abroad, and in some cases facilitated these shipments. See Terry, Condemned to Repeat? pp. 161–163; Human Rights Watch, Rwanda/Zaire, pp. 6–15; and Roger Winter, “Lancing the Boil: Rwanda's Agenda in Zaire,” in Howard Adelman and Govind C. Rao, War and Peace in Zaire-Congo: Analyzing and Evaluating Intervention, 1996–1997 (Trenton, N.J.: Africa World Press, 2004), pp. 111–112.

105.

Human Rights Watch, Rwanda/Zaire, p. 5. See also Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 28.

106.

Filip Reyntjens, “Briefing: The Second Congo War: More Than a Remake,” African Affairs, April 1999, p. 242. See also Reyntjens, The Great African War, pp. 46–47, 51; Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 67; Timothy Longman, “The Complex Reasons for Rwanda's Engagement in Congo,” in John F. Clark, ed., The African Stakes of the Congo War (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 133–134; Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People's History (London: Zed, 2002), p. 225; International Crisis Group, “How Kabila Lost His Way: The Performance of Laurent Désiré Kabila's Government” (Brussels: International Crisis Group, May 21, 1998), p. 4; and William G. Thom, “Congo-Zaire's 1996–97 Civil War in the Context of Evolving Patterns of Military Conflict in Africa in the Era of Independence,” Journal of Conflict Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Autumn 1999), p. 95.

107.

On the conflicts in the Kivus that endangered ethnic Tutsis, see Prunier, Africa's World War, pp. 46–58; and Reyntjens, The Great African War, pp. 13–23.

108.

The RPA and the rebels pursued the refugees who fled west, intent on wiping them out. On this murderous pursuit, see Prunier, Africa's World War, pp. 143–148; and Reyntjens, The Great African War, pp. 80–101. Prunier estimates that 300,000 Hutu refugees died. See Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 148.

109.

The four groups were the Parti de la Révolution du Peuple (Party of the People's Revolution, headed by Kabila), Conseil National de Résistance pour la Démocratie (National Council of Resistance for Democracy), Mouvement Révolutionnaire pour la Libération du Zaïre (Revolutionary Movement for the Liberation of Zaire), and Alliance Démocratique des Peuples (Democratic Alliance of the People).

110.

Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 104. Kabila became president of the AFDL in January 1997 after the death in “mysterious circumstances” of the group's initial military commander, André Kisase Ngandu. See Nzongola-Ntalaja, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila, p. 226. Before Kabila became the figurehead of the Rwandan invasion, his main claim to fame was hosting Che Guevara when the Cuban revolutionary came to fight in Congo in 1965. See Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 114. On Kabila as a “Zairian face” for the Rwandan invasion, see Thomas Turner, Congo (Cambridge: Polity, 2013), p. 16; Thomas Turner, The Congo Wars: Conflict, Myth, and Reality (London: Zed, 2007), p. 5; Kevin C. Dunn, “A Survival Guide to Kinshasa: Lessons of the Father, Passed Down to the Son,” in Clark, The African Stakes of the Congo War, p. 56; Peter Rosenblum, “Kabila's Congo,” Current History, May 1998, p. 194; and Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, p. 87.

111.

Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 107.

112.

Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 115.

113.

Kabila was a member of the Luba tribe from Katanga.

114.

For articles in the Rwandan press that support this interpretation, see Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 45; and Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 68. Kagame himself acknowledged in a 1997 interview that toppling Mobutu was one goal of the Rwandan invasion. See John Pomfret, “Rwandans Led Revolt in Congo,” Washington Post, July 9, 1997. One author claims that Rwanda intended from the outset to “push on all the way to the capital” and oust Mobutu. See David Van Reybrouck, Congo: The Epic History of a People, trans. Sam Garrett (New York: HarperCollins, 2014), p. 419. Prunier also mentions various discussions among African leaders about toppling Mobutu. See Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 67.

115.

Thom, “Congo-Zaire's 1996–97 Civil War in the Context of Evolving Patterns of Military Conflict in Africa in the Era of Independence,” p. 116; and International Crisis Group, “How Kabila Lost His Way,” p. 6. Reyntjens also finds no direct evidence from before the war that Rwanda intended to eliminate Mobutu. See Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 51.

116.

The principal reason that each of these countries supported or participated in military operations against Mobutu was to eliminate rebel groups that found safe haven (and in some cases material support) in Zaire: the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola for Angola, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy—Forces for the Defense of Democracy for Burundi, and the Alliance of Democratic Forces for Uganda. Other countries that supported the anti-Mobutu coalition included Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. See Reyntjens, “Briefing,” p. 242; Reyntjens, The Great African War, pp. 58–66; and Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, pp. 51–54, 285–286.

117.

Reflecting Kabila's lack of a domestic political base, ten ministers in his new government were recently returned exiles. See International Crisis Group, “How Kabila Lost His Way,” p. 7. Kabila also excluded anyone with ties to the Mobutu regime; almost all leaders of the domestic opposition fell into this category.

118.

Prunier, Africa's World War, pp. 152, 151, 152, respectively. On the lack of regime institutionalization and the personalization of Kabila's rule, see also Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 156; Van Reybrouck, Congo, pp. 434–435; and François Ngolet, Crisis in the Congo: The Rise and Fall of Laurent Kabila (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 6–7.

119.

Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 161.

120.

Van Reybrouck, Congo, p. 435. See also Reyntjens, The Great African War, pp. 158–159.

121.

Turner, The Congo Wars, p. 38. Some might contend that Kabila's incompetence or authoritarian nature was to blame for his domestic opposition. We argue below, however, that his poor governing choices and repressive responses to challenges were largely a product of his weak position, which in turn was a consequence of how he came to power. See Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, pp. 170–171.

122.

Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 172.

123.

Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 174; and Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 173.

124.

The Army for the Liberation of Rwanda was itself a further iteration of the Rassemblement pour la Rétour des Réfugiés et la Démocratie au Rwanda (Rally for the Return of the Refugees and Democracy in Rwanda), which was founded in April 1995, and would later evolve into the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR). On the relationships among these groups, see Hans Romkema, “Opportunities and Constraints for the Disarmament and Repatriation of Foreign Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo: The Cases of the FDLR, FNL, and ADF/NALU” (Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2007), pp. 32–33.

125.

Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 146.

126.

Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, p. 181.

127.

Emizet François Kisangani, Civil Wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960–2020 (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 2012), p. 134.

128.

As Van Reybrouck summarizes, “Every Tutsi was seen as Rwandan and every Rwandan as an occupier.” See Van Reybrouck, Congo, p. 438.

129.

Kisangani, Civil Wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960–2010, pp. 133–134.

130.

Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 148. François Ngolet agrees: “Tutsi hegemony was not well received by the rest of the Zairians. They felt humiliated and frequently accused the Tutsi of a triumphalist and arrogant attitude.” See Ngolet, Crisis in the Congo, p. 12.

131.

Kisangani, Civil Wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960–2010, p. 135. “Mai mai” is a generic term that refers to local self-defense militias in Congo.

132.

Osita Afoaku notes that “Kabila maintained a narrow base of domestic support” that included only two non-Tutsi elements: the so-called kadogos—the child soldiers recruited by the AFDL during its drive to Kinshasa—and natives of Kabila's home province of Katanga. See Afoaku, “Congo's Rebels: Their Origins, Motivations, and Strategies,” in Clark, The African Stakes of the Congo War, p. 113.

133.

Ngolet, Crisis in the Congo, p. 12; and Idean Salehyan, Rebels without Borders: Transnational Insurgencies in World Politics (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2009), p. 152.

134.

See Rosenblum, “Kabila's Congo,” p. 194.

135.

Ngolet, Crisis in the Congo, p. 12. Kabila's resistance to the attempts by the United Nations to investigate reports of human rights violations by the RPA in the campaign to overthrow Mobutu also constitutes powerful evidence of his reliance on Rwanda. On this episode, see ibid., pp. 4–8; Dunn, “A Survival Guide to Kinshasa,” p. 58; and Van Reybrouck, Congo, p. 437.

136.

Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 167.

137.

Cited in Reyntjens, The Great African War, p. 167 n. 87.

138.

Van Reybrouck, Congo, p. 439. For similar assessments, see Ngolet, Crisis in the Congo, p. 12; Afoaku, “Congo's Rebels,” p. 113; Dunn, “A Survival Guide to Kinshasa,” p. 61; Longman, “The Complex Reasons for Rwanda's Engagement in Congo,” p. 138; and Prunier, Africa's World War, pp. 177–178.

139.

Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 177.

140.

Kisangani, Civil Wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960–2010, p. 139.

141.

Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 176.

142.

Ngolet, Crisis in the Congo, pp. 11–17.

143.

This move, however, sparked a mutiny, forcing a reversal of the decision. See Prunier, Africa's World War, p. 176; and Ngolet, Crisis in the Congo, p. 16.

144.

Dunn, “A Survival Guide to Kinshasa,” p. 62.

145.

Kisangani, Civil Wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1960–2010, p. 142.

146.

Kabila expelled more than 10,000 Rwandans and Banyamulenge from the armed forces. See Salehyan, Rebels without Borders, p. 152.

147.

Longman, “The Complex Reasons for Rwanda's Engagement in Congo,” p. 138.

148.

Turner, Congo, pp. 17, 54.

149.

We do not mean to imply that security concerns were the only factors motivating the attack. Some analysts indeed privilege security; see, for example, Afoaku, “Congo's Rebels,” p. 114; and International Crisis Group, “How Kabila Lost His Way,” pp. 2, 21. Others mention additional factors, such as ethnic solidarity with Congolese Tutsi, the domestic unifying effects of a foreign war, economic interests in the DRC, and high levels of confidence among RPF leaders. See Longman, “The Complex Reasons for Rwanda's Engagement in Congo,” pp. 130–133, 134–138.

150.

Nzongola-Ntalaja, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila, p. 227. See also Dunn, “A Survival Guide to Kinshasa,” p. 62.

151.

Prunier, Africa's World War, pp. 183–184. Confirming the Rally's lack of independence, Jason Stearns writes, “Major leadership changes were imposed by Kigali, and all military operations were led by Rwandan commanders in the field.” See Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, p. 209.

152.

For mortality estimates, see Benjamin Coghlan et al., “Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: A Nationwide Survey,” Lancet, January 7, 2006, pp. 44–51; and Les Roberts et al., “Mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Results from a Nationwide Survey” (New York: International Rescue Committee, April 2003).

153.

One study alleges that Kabila struck a deal with the ex-FAR to defend himself against an anticipated Rwandan move to unseat him, which in turn helped precipitate Kigali's attack. See Stearns, Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, p. 183.

154.

Quoted in Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Hillary Clinton, ‘Smart Power’ and a Dictator's Fall,” New York Times, February 27, 2016.

155.

Flavia Krause-Jackson and Caroline Alexander, “Jibril Turns against Foreign Powers That Aided Qaddafi Overthrow,” Bloomberg, November 14, 2011, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2011-11-14/jibril-turns-against-foreign-powers-that-aided-qaddafi-overthrow; and Scott Shane “As Islamists Gain Influence, Washington Reassesses Who Its Friends Are,” New York Times, July 9, 2012.

156.

James Risen, Mark Mazzetti, and Michael S. Schmidt, “U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell into Jihadis' Hands,” New York Times, December 5, 2012.

157.

Scott Shane and Jo Becker, “A New Libya, with ‘Very Little Time Left,’” New York Times, February 27, 2016.

158.

Barack Obama, interview with Chris Wallace, “Exclusive: President Barack Obama on ‘Fox News Sunday, ‘” Fox News, April 10, 2016.

159.

Eric Schmitt, “Obama Is Pressed to Open Military Front against ISIS in Libya,” New York Times, February 4, 2016.

160.

Michael Doran and Max Boot, “5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now,” New York Times, September 26, 2012; Paul Szoldra, “Senior GOP Senators: We Won't Support Military Strikes without ‘Overall Strategy’ to Remove Assad,” Business Insider, August 31, 2013; William C. Martel, “On Syria: Don't Take Regime Change Off the Table,” National Interest, September 9, 2013, http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/syria-dont-take-regime-change-the-table-9017; and Anne-Marie Slaughter, “Stopping Russia Starts in Syria,” Project Syndicate, April 23, 2014, https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/anne-marie-slaughter-on-how-us-intervention-in-the-syrian-civil-war-would-alter-vladimir-putin-s-calculus-in-ukraine?barrier=true. Unclassified 2012 State Department emails also reveal Clinton's rationale prior to the intervention: “Victory may not come quickly or easily, but it will come. And the payoff will be substantial. Iran would be strategically isolated, unable to exert its influence in the Middle East. The resulting regime in Syria will see the United States as a friend, not an enemy.” See “Unclassified U.S. Department of State Case No. F-2014-20439, Doc. No. C057944998 Date: 11/30/2015,” WikiLeaks, https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/emailid/18328#source.

161.

Ernesto Londono and Greg Miller, “CIA Begins Weapons Delivery to Syrian Rebels,” Washington Post, September 11, 2013; Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, “U.S. Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels,” New York Times, January 23, 2016; and Mark Mazzetti and Ali Younes, “C.I.A. Arms for Syrian Rebels Supplied Black Market, Officials Say,” New York Times, June 26, 2016.

162.

Anne Barnard and Hwaida Saad, “Syrian Rebel Infighting Undermines Anti-Assad Effort,” New York Times, July 12, 2013; and Ben Hubbard and Karam Shoumali, “Top Military Body against Syria's Assad Is in Chaos, Undermining Fight,” New York Times, February 23, 2014.

163.

Mona Mahmood and Ian Black, “Free Syrian Army Rebels Defect to Islamist Group Jabhat al-Nusra,” Guardian, May 8, 2013.

164.

These forces later seized the Council's warehouses and headquarters, causing the United States to temporarily suspend its supply of aid. See Tim Lister, “Islamic Front in Syria Deals Another Blow to Rebel Alliance,” CNN, December 12, 2013, http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/12/world/syria-islamic-front/; Aron Lund, “Showdown at Bab al-Hawa” (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, December 12, 2013), http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=53896; and Liz Sly, “U.S. Suspends Aid to Syrian Rebels after Islamists Seize Warehouses,” Washington Post, December 11, 2013.

165.

White House, “Press Conference by the President” (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Press Secretary, October 2, 2015).

166.

Michael D. Shear, Helene Cooper, and Eric Schmitt, “Obama Administration Ends Effort to Train Syrians to Combat ISIS,” New York Times, October 9, 2015.

167.

David E. Sanger and Helene Cooper, “Obama Turns to Diplomacy and Military in Syria, and Is Met with Doubts,” New York Times, November 10, 2015.