12 Jan

The British House of Commons and the Conflicts in Libya and Syria

Curbing the Royal Prerogative to Use Military Force: The British House of Commons and the Conflicts in Libya and Syria

Abstract: To what extent does political practice under the British Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition (2010–2015) reflect a ‘parliamentary prerogative’? From a formal-institutional point of view one should not expect substantial parliamentary influence in Britain. Yet recent developments suggest the emergence of a new convention. Examining parliamentary debates during the run-up to the votes on Libya and Syria, this contribution shows that the scope and contents of this convention remain contested. Specifically, there is disagreement about the kind of operations that ought to be exempt from the rule, questions of parliamentary procedure that favour the executive and, crucially, the proper timing of substantive votes. Nonetheless, parliament has emerged from the vote on Syria as an informal veto player on decisions regarding war involvement. However, whether MPs will exercise their veto power in prospective cases will depend on the preference distribution in the legislature and the nature of the proposed deployment.

Keywords: Constitutional convention, legislative–executive relations, military intervention, parliamentary war powers, prerogative powers

Mello, Patrick A. (2017) Curbing the Royal Prerogative to Use Military Force: The British House of Commons and the Conflicts in Libya and Syria, West European Politics 40:1, 80-100 [Article]

The paper is part of a Special Issue of West European Politics on “Challenging Executive Dominance: Legislatures and Foreign Affairs”, co-edited by Tapio Raunio and Wolfgang Wagner [Introduction to the Special Issue]

05 Jan

Two Entries Published in The SAGE Encyclopedia of War

Democratic Peace Theory

Abstract: “Democracies almost never go to war against each another. This simple observation has acquired the status of an empirical law in the social sciences. Yet, while democracies tend to have peaceful relations with one another, this is not to claim that democracies are generally less war-prone than other regime types. To the contrary, many empirical studies find that the overall rate of war involvement does not differ substantially between democracies and non-democracies. This dual finding constitutes the core of the ‘democratic peace’ and it specifies the elements that any theory needs to explain in order to fully account for the observed phenomena: the peaceful relations between democracies on the one hand, and the war involvement of democratic regimes on the other hand.

Mello, Patrick A. (2017) Democratic Peace Theory, in Paul I. Joseph, ed., The Sage Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives, Thousand Oaks: Sage, 472-6. [Preprint]

New and Old Wars

Abstract: “The end of the Cold War did not abolish armed conflict, but it coincided with a substantial decline in the total number of violent outbreaks around the globe. At the same time, though, the number of internal wars increased substantially, making these the dominant form of conflict of the contemporary era. These empirical trends prompted a lively debate among scholars as to whether the observed quantitative change in conflict patterns that had taken place in the wake of the Cold War also indicated a qualitative transformation of warfare. Many authors indeed argued, that intra-state or civil wars, underwent a qualitative change during this time period. In this context, the term ‘new wars’ was introduced by Mary Kaldor, who suggested that in parts of Africa and Eastern Europe a new form of organized violence had emerged during the last two decades of the twentieth century. Kaldor understood these conflicts on the one hand as a result of accelerated globalization processes and, on the other hand, as a consequence of the power vacuum left behind by the Cold War era. According to Kaldor, new wars differed from ‘old wars’ in terms of how they were being financed, with regards to the underlying motives of the warring parties, and concerning their mode of warfare. Herfried Münkler further developed the new war thesis, arguing that the new forms of conflict were characterized by the joint occurrence of privatization, demilitarization, and asymmetricalization. These processes entail a weakening of state structures, an increase in non-state actors as warring parties, the dissolution of distinctions between military and nonmilitary aspects, including the differentiation between civilians and combatants, and, finally, asymmetric constellations of actors, strategies, and capabilities. While for each of these phenomena historical precedents could be found in earlier times, Münkler argued that their joint occurrence after the Cold War led to the distinctly novel phenomenon of new wars.

Mello, Patrick A. (2017) New and Old Wars, in Paul I. Joseph, ed., The Sage Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives, Thousand Oaks: Sage, 1209-11. [Preprint]

[More Information] on the four-volume Sage Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives, edited by Paul Joseph.

07 Dec

4th International QCA Expert Workshop at ETH Zurich

Panel Debate on Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Research Transparency

Panelists: Gary Goertz, Peer Fiss, Patrick A. Mello, and Eva Thomann

Workshop Summary: “With the 4th International QCA Expert Workshop we build on the workshops of the past three years in bringing together around 40 researchers working with QCA across and beyond the neighboring areas of political sciences, sociology, management, and economics. By providing a forum for cross-disciplinary exchange, the 4th International QCA Expert Workshop encourages the dissemination of new ideas, facilitate the promotion of innovative work, and create opportunities for scientific collaboration” [Read Further]

10 Sep

Parliaments in Security Policy

German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) Supports Project on “Parliaments in Security Policy”

Project Summary: The influence of parliaments on the formulation of security policy has found increasing interest in recent research. Importantly, comparative studies showed that consolidated democracies are characterized by substantial variance in the formal-institutional oversight powers of parliaments. While countries like the UK and France grant extensive powers to the executive, other countries, like Germany, Denmark, and Sweden, place military deployments under mandatory parliamentary approval. At the same time, however, research also shows that foreign policy outcomes cannot be attributed to the formal-institutional position of parliament alone. Instead, in order to explain specific policy decisions, additional factors such as party politics and ideology, parliamentary majorities, and public opinion need to be taken into account.

Moreover, whether parliamentary control actually has the intended consequences is contested, not least from the perspective of democratic theory. In practice, even in countries which require parliamentary approval parliament rarely vetoes government decisions. Consensual cross-party decisions, however, make it difficult for voters to attribute decisions to specific political actors. This undermines the “election mechanism” prominent in democratic theory and arguments on the democratic peace. Another strand in the literature focuses on the effects of parliamentary oversight on the conduct of multilateral military operations. These studies show an increased incidence of national caveats through parliamentary oversight, i.e. there tend to be more operational restrictions, which can lead to substantial problems for the effectiveness of multilateral operations.

Parallel to the academic debate, several western democracies witnessed an evaluation and reassessment of the relationship between the executive and parliament in terms of security policy. For instance, in Germany the current Bundestag introduced a commission to reassess parliamentary oversight procedures. In its policy recommendations, the commission suggested several options for reform, some of which would reduce existing oversight powers. In contrast, in Britain a cross-party consensus emerged in support of involving parliament in decisions on war, after the Iraq War was regarded as a failure by wide parts of the political elite and the public at large. Likewise, Spain introduced a parliamentary deployment law as a consequence of the decision to participate in Iraq. Finally, the United States saw several attempts at reforming the War Powers Resolution, which has remained contested among political actors since its introduction in 1973. During the present Congress alone, several reform initiatives were submitted but none of these passed into law.

An authors’ workshop will take place on 22-23 September 2016 at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (Hessische Stiftung Friedens- und Konfliktforschung), co-organized by Dirk Peters (PRIF) and Patrick A. Mello (HfP). The organizers gratefully acknowledge project funding of 11,000 EUR from the German Foundation for Peace Research (Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung) and financial and logistial support from the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and the Bavarian School of Public Policy at TU Munich. The workshop is organized under the auspices of and in cooperation with the DVPW-Themengruppe Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik.

Project summary, German Foundation for Peace Research (German and English).

Program (PDF), Introduction (PDF)

20 Aug

Swiss Social Science Summer School 2016

Qualitative Comparative Analysis (Patrick A. Mello)

Methods Course at the 20th Swiss Social Science Summer School

Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, 22-26 August 2016

The workshop provides participants with a thorough introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), both as a research approach and as a data analysis technique. In recent years, this set-theoretic method has gained recognition among social scientists as a methodological approach that holds specific benefits for comparative studies. The course begins by familiarizing participants with the foundations of set theory and the basic concepts of the methodological approach of QCA, including necessary and sufficient conditions, Boolean algebra, and fuzzy logic. The next step is devoted to the calibration of empirical data into crisp and fuzzy sets. Once these essentials are in place, the course moves on to the construction and analysis of truth tables as the core of the QCA procedure. Here, we will also spend time to discuss typical challenges that arise during a truth table analysis and techniques to overcome such problems. Finally, the course will introduce consistency and coverage as parameters of fit as well as additional measures to assess the robustness of QCA results [Read Further]

22 Jul

ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques 2016

Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets

Patrick A. Mello (Week 1), Carsten Q. Schneider (Week 2), and Nena Oana (Teaching Assistant)

Methods Course taught for the European Consortium for Political Research at Central European University, Budapest, 28 July – 13 August 2016

Course Outline: This course introduces participants to set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with a focus on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The introductory course is complemented by an advanced course that is taught at the ECPR Winter School in Bamberg. The course starts out by familiarizing students with the basic concepts of the underlying methodological perspective, among them the central notions of necessity and sufficiency, formal logic and Boolean algebra. From there, we move to the logic and analysis of truth tables and discuss the most important problems that emerge when this analytical tool is used for exploring social science data. Right from the beginning, students will be exposed to performing set-theoretic analyses with the relevant R software packages. When discussing set-theoretic methods, in-class debates will engage on broad, general comparative social research issues, such as case selection principles, concept formation, questions of data aggregation and the treatment of causally relevant notions of time. Examples are drawn from published applications in the social sciences. Participants are encouraged to bring their own raw data for in-class exercises and assignments, if available [Read Further]

21 Mar

Perspectives on Politics

Book Review of All Necessary Measures: The UN and Humanitarian Intervention

The new issue of Perspectives on Politics (14: 1) contains my book review of All Necessary Measures: The United Nations and Humanitarian Intervention by Carrie Booth Walling (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

From the review: The challenges of “humanitarian intervention” have been of pressing concern to policymakers and academics ever since the end of the bipolar confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union. This became most evident when the international community failed to respond decisively to the genocide in Rwanda,despite having forces on the ground, as well as when it did not stop the atrocities of the Bosnian to its fate and when “safe havens” in Srebrenica were attacked and overrun by Serbian forces. In other conflicts, the UN Security Council did authorize a military response using “all necessary means,” as in Somalia, Sierra Leone, and, as the most recent humanitarian rights violations continues to haunt the international community, most visibly in the deadlock of the Security Council in the face of the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

In All Necessary Measures, Carrie Booth Walling explores the social construction and evolution of humanitarian intervention discourse and subsequent action at the the likelihood of force being used in defense of human rights by constructing narratives about the character and cause of a conflict. [Read Further]

 

25 Sep

Dissertation Award 2015 – German Political Science Association

Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict Receives Best Dissertation Award 2015 from the German Political Science Association (DVPW)

At its general conference in Duisburg-Essen, The German Political Science Association (Deutsche Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft) granted Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict: Military Involvement in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) the Best Dissertation Award for 2015. The prize is endowed with 1,000 EUR, provided by the Politische Vierteljahresschrift (PVS). The Laudation is published in PVS Issue 4/2015. [Book Information].

The conference opening and the Laudation, held by Stefan Marschall on behalf of the award committee (together with Matthias Bohlender and Klaus Schlichte), can be watched here (minute 138 onward). See also a Press Release from TU Dresden.

At the conference opening: Felix W. Wurm, Gabriele Abels, Patrick A. Mello, and Stefan Marschall (left to right):

Photo: Alexander Kobusch

 

22 Jul

ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques 2015

Qualitative Comparative Analysis and Fuzzy Sets

Patrick A. Mello (Week 1), Carsten Q. Schneider (Week 2), Adrian Dusa, and Nena Oana (Teaching Assistants)

Methods Course taught for the European Consortium for Political Research at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 23 July – 8 August 2015

Course Outline: “This course introduces participants to set-theoretic methods and their application in the social sciences with a focus on Qualitative Comparative Analysis. The introductory course is complemented by an advanced course that is taught at the ECPR Winter School in Bamberg. The course starts out by familiarizing students with the basic concepts of the underlying methodological perspective, among them the central notions of necessity and sufficiency, formal logic and Boolean algebra. From there, we move to the logic and analysis of truth tables and discuss the most important problems that emerge when this analytical tool is used for exploring social science data. Right from the beginning, students will be exposed to performing set-theoretic analyses with the relevant R software packages. When discussing set-theoretic methods, in-class debates will engage on broad, general comparative social research issues, such as case selection principles, concept formation, questions of data aggregation and the treatment of causally relevant notions of time. Examples are drawn from published applications in the social sciences. Participants are encouraged to bring their own raw data for in-class exercises and assignments, if available” [Read Further]

25 Jul

Democracy and War Involvement

Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict: Military Involvement in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq

When do democracies participate in military operations, and under which conditions do they abstain? Studies on the democratic peace have largely neglected the flip-side of democratic participation in armed conflict. Moreover, whilst scholars have made the case that democracy needs to be unpacked to be meaningful, this is rarely done in international relations. In comparative politics, on the other hand, there has been extensive research on democratic subtypes and their virtues and weaknesses, but this is seldom applied to security policy. Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict provides an integrative theoretical framework for a systematic analysis of the conditions for democratic war involvement. Drawing on a novel methodological approach, the book identifies pathways of military participation and abstention across 30 democracies and their involvement in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Mello, Patrick A. (2014) Democratic Participation in Armed Conflict: Military Involvement in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan [More Information]