Not Another “Graveyard of Empires” Article

Sorry for the lack of posting lately, but I have been traveling and enjoying the company of friends before I leave for London. Among those travels was a brief stay in Fort Lauderdale, where I obtained a new job at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a daily newspaper with a long, stellar history. I am proud and grateful to have been given the opportunity to write an op-ed column for them approximately once every two weeks, as well as occasional blogging. Don’t worry, though, I will post links to all such columns and posts on this site.

My first blog post is live here. I will always try to give you a bit more detail on this site about the issues I discuss at the Sun-Sentinel. Some interesting findings in the paper I discussed in this first post:  

  • In the post, I miscounted the number of categories of military interventions by major powers. There are 6, not 5. My high school teachers would be appalled by my math error. I am sorry to Sullivan and Koch for an honest mistake.
  • Those categories are (1) maintain foreign regime authority, (2) remove foreign regime, (3) policy change, (4) acquire or defend territory, (5) maintain empire, and (6) social protection and order.
  • The most frequent political objectives are to maintain foreign regime authority and to acquire or defend territory.
  • Success rates: U.S. 66%, Britain 76%, France 56%, Russia 50%, and China 59%. The first three are slightly less successful against non-state actors (i.e. terrorists), and the latter are more successful. Democracies are slightly more successful overall than non-democracies, but the advantage is reversed against non-state actors. The differences among the countries on all these levels are small enough to be statistically insignificant.
  • The intervening armies are almost always successful at removing a foreign regime and have the most trouble with policy change and maintaining an empire. No surprises there. Nation-building is hard work.

If you tried to follow those bullet points without reading the original post, then you’re probably lost. It’s a brief post, so go read it now. I am catching up on my blogging and other writing — don’t forget my forthcoming book! — but tomorrow I will post the belated “Best of the Week” links-fest for last week.