16 Jul

Parliamentary peace or partisan politics?

Parliamentary peace or partisan politics? Democracies’ participation in the Iraq War

Abstract:This paper seeks to explain democracies’ military participation in the Iraq War. Prior studies have identified institutional and partisan differences as potential explanatory factors for the observed variance. The interaction of institutions and partisanship, however, has gone largely unobserved. I argue that these factors must be analyzed in conjunction: institutional constraints presume actors that fulfill their role as veto players to the executive. Likewise, partisan politics is embedded in institutional frames that enable or constrain decision-making. Hence I suggest a comparative approach that combines these factors to explain why some democracies joined the ad hoc coalition against Iraq and others did not. To investigate the interaction between institutions, partisanship and war participation I apply fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). The analysis reveals that the conjunction of right-of-center governments with an absence of both parliamentary veto rights and constitutional restrictions was sufficient for participation in the Iraq War. In turn, for countries where the constitution requires parliamentary approval of military deployments, the distribution of preferences within the legislature proved to be decisive for military participation or non-participation.

Keywords: democratic peace; fuzzy sets; institutional constraints; Iraq War; QCA

Mello, Patrick A. (2012) Parliamentary Peace or Partisan Politics? Democracies’ Participation in the Iraq War, Journal of International Relations and Development 15:3, 420-53 [More Information]