Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Regime Destabilization Framework: Deconstructing the Relationship between Regime Change and Humanitarian Military Intervention
by Howe, Rebecca Louise, M.A., The George Washington University, 2020, 93; 28092256
Abstract (Summary)

The central argument of this thesis is that humanitarian military intervention will inevitably change or destabilize the political and security dynamics within the theatre it enters, and, in turn, will impact upon the relative strength of the host regime. To analyze the nature of this destabilization, the thesis offers a new tool: the Regime Destabilization Framework. Through this framework, the relationship between humanitarian military intervention and regime change is re-examined by the study of two questions: What factors would have to be challenged in order for the regime’s power to change significantly? And, to what extent do the specific military actions within humanitarian military interventions challenge those factors? The framework seeks to demonstrate the specific impacts on military actions on the power dynamics within the target state, and in turn, on the stability of the host regime.

The application of the framework to the case studies of Northern Iraq (1991), Kosovo (1999) and Libya (2011) offers three key findings. First, a “humanitarian military intervention” is not an action in itself, but a series of actions under the umbrella of humanitarian protection. Each action can have a very different impact on the stability of the regime compared to other actions which would fall under the purview of humanitarian military intervention, and similarly the impact of specific actions can vary greatly based on the context. Second, while it is important to ascertain the impacts of individual military actions, it is also crucial to understand that they do not take place in isolation from each other: one action can have an impact upon the effectiveness of another action. Third, while the actions of humanitarian military intervention may not directly challenge the regime’s position as sovereign authority of the state, they can create the conditions by which opposition or separatist groups within the state can gain enough power relative to the government to achieve the ends they had already been pursuing before the intervention (such as a change in government, or provincial autonomy).

Combining these findings with those from the individual case studies, the thesis further posits that in the course of humanitarian military interventions, “regime change” is by no means inevitable. Interveners, through deciding how to target and deploy military resources, ultimately have at least some agency over the extent to which the regime is destabilized. The thesis offers recommendations for further use and adaptation of the framework, and argues that these findings can contribute to research into the indirect impacts of humanitarian military interventions on the population within the target country.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Williams, Paul D.
Commitee: Levinger, Matthew
School: The George Washington University
Department: International Affairs
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: MAI 82/5(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: International Relations, Political science
Keywords: Humanitarian military intervention, Iraq, Kosovo, Libya, Regime change
Publication Number: 28092256
ISBN: 9798691290343
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