Democratic Militarism: Voting, Wealth, and War (Cambridge UP) asks why are democracies pursuing more military conflicts, but achieving worse results? Democratic Militarism shows that a combination of economic inequality and military technical change enables an average voter to pay very little of the costs of large militaries and armed conflict, in either death or taxes. Examining modern high-tech militaries and the average voter’s incentives, this book explains why Britain’s Empire swelled as its suffrage expanded, why the United States pursued a lengthy but flawed strategy in Vietnam, why Israel failed to achieve its ends in a war against Hezbollah, and why we are entering an age of democratic militarism.
Profit? The United States and the International Arms Trade,"
B. Kapstein, argues that the United States takes
advantage of its defense industrial market power and
globalization’s efficiency gains to achieve geopolitical
gains rather than collect economic rents. A new
data set on the prices paid by client states for American
weapons provides support for this claim. The data also point
to declining American market share over time. Some of
the paper's findings underpin our September/October
Foreign Affairs article (ungated html version
We debate our critics here, "Outgunned" (gated).
"American Foreign Military Training and Coup Propensity," with Jesse Dillon Savage , presents a theory of foreign military training as aid as a form of human capital, one that regimes find hard to counterbalance. Looking at the United States' International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, we find that increases in IMET trainees and spending correlate to higher probabilities of military-backed coups."Aiming At Doves: Experimental Evidence Of Military Images' Political Effects," with Yanna Krupnikov, theorizes the conditions under which individuals can be primed to take more hawkish policy views. Using survey experiments we determined if images of the U.S. President in front of varying backgrounds, including uniformed soldiers, affect support for defense and non-defense spending. Exposure to the soldiers image, and only the soldiers image, causes respondents to shift their preferences in favor of defense and away from education. Respondents exposed to the military image also evaluated non-specific "budget cuts" to be damaging to national security. Interestingly, the soldiers image has the largest effect on the most partisan Democrats, and the strongest supporters of the President (please contact authors for the most recent version).
"Explaining U.S. Military Strategy in Vietnam: Thinking Clearly about Causation." International Security 35, no. 3 (Winter 2010/11), pp. 124-143. Civil-military agreement on warfighting strategy does not undermine the assumption that civilian leaders, and ultimately the public, play an essential role in its determination. The Johnson administration ensured that the U.S. military emphasized the fight against conventional enemy units, relied on the use of firepower for the fight against Vietcong insurgents, and rejected suggestions that the U.S. military adopt more labor-intensive pacification approaches.
"Power and Democratic Weakness: Neoconservatism and Neoclassical Realism." Millenium 38, no. 3 (May 2010), pp. 593-614. Inspecting the range of neoconservative thought reveals a unifying theme: the enervating effects of democracy on state power and the will to wield it in a dangerous world. Viewing regime type through the prism of state power extraction in a competitive, anarchic world puts neoconservatism squarely in the neoclassical realist camp. The paper concludes by examining the policy implications of this "neo-neo" debate.
"The Myth of Military Myopia: Democracy, Small Wars, and Vietnam." International Security 34, no. 3 (Winter 2009/10), 119-157. Democracies will select and fight small wars using a firepower-intensive military strategy because such a doctrine reduces the costs of conflict for the average voter more than it reduces the benefits from an ineffective strategy. The paper supports the theory with a case study of Vietnam War counterinsurgency.
“United States Hegemony and the New Economics of Defense.” Security Studies 16, no. 4 (October–December 2007), 597–613. The paper proposes a theory of technological hegemony that explains the U.S. policy of massive military R&D investment in both the late Cold War and the current era of American preponderance. Through this technology policy, the U.S. promotes a form of defense industrial globalization that extends its international political influence.