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American Diplomacy
Commentary and Analysis

April 2003

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Political scientist John Tures presents data that arrive at a perhaps counterintuitive conclusion as to the extent of U. S. military involvement in the post-Cold War world. He and his research assistants provide detailed data on when and where these deployments have taken place, and against whom.—Ed.

United States Military Operations in the New World Order

Many prior analyses of United States military actions abroad have either focused upon Cold War data (Hermann and Kegley, 1998) or qualitative case studies to describe events after 1991 (Peceny, 2000). My research differs from other approaches by conducting a rigorous statistical analysis of United States military operations from 1991 through 2002. Evidence from the 176 cases shows that Americans have augmented the number of troop deployments since the fall of the Soviet Union. This increased use of the military occurred under Democratic and Republican administrations. Such cases were more likely to take place during election years. In these situations, the United States often sought permission for the military actions, either from the target state or from an international organization. Though the majority of these cases began with little or no shooting, a handful did escalate significantly shortly thereafter. The type of country experiencing a United States military operation is most likely from an area considered by some to be in America's national interest (Europe, the Middle East, East Asia), does not have an alliance with the United States, and provides few freedoms to their people.

As this study was written, news broke that an American Green Beret, Sergeant First Class Mark Wayne Jackson, was killed by a nail bomb while serving in the Philippines, the suspected handiwork of Abu Sayyaf. This article is dedicated to him and other Americans who have perished since the end of the Cold War in the service of their country.

The end of the Cold War may have led to expectations that America would reduce the size of its forces and their commitments worldwide, given the absence of the Soviet threat. Yet a decade after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Haass (1999) writes that military intervention remains a key component of United States foreign policy. Yet little is known about these American military interventions in the post-Cold War era. Earlier studies (Yoon, 1997) revealed that Communism and the presence of the Soviet Union were key determinants of America's decision to send troops to a country. Dalby (1990) claims that if the Soviets and communists were major drivers of United States troop deployments in the Cold War, we have few clues to explain American military interventions in subsequent decades. It is therefore clear that we need an analysis of American military interventions in the years following the end of the Soviet Union that encompasses the motives and rationale for using force abroad.

Other datasets have collected information about American military actions in foreign countries, but such information is often of questionable quality. Some seem to have been collected for ideological purposes. Others tout numbers with little support or information about the operations. Many existing datasets have not updated their information to include events after 1991. Even those datasets which command a great deal of respect among academic communities tend to overreport overt conflictual acts, undercounting cases where troops are deployed without using force. The latter cases are too important to ignore, given that they also represent American military presence and priorities.

In this paper, I outline a dataset designed to analyze the cases of United States military actions in the post-Cold War era, a time frame ignored by existing datasets. Such a listing of cases is neither influenced by ideological motives, nor constrained by reporting only the most violent of scenarios. Rather than simply list countries targeted and dates of origin, this dataset provides a great deal of information about every case, including the region of action, the type of intervention, whether or not the intervention escalated beyond its original mission scope, the type of government of the country facing American military action, whether the target government gave its consent to the United States operation, how many casualties were suffered, and whether the American intervention was approved by the United Nations or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Such information enables a test of arguments concerning where the United States chooses to unleash its forces, under what circumstances, and why.

Between Oliver Stone and Oliver North
There have been numerous attempts to quantify just how many United States military actions have occurred in recent years. But the motives behind such studies appear to support an ideological position, rather than a true unbiased examination based upon scientific principles. William Blum (1999), for example, claims that 55 military interventions occurred since 1945. Zoltan Grossman (2001) believes that the United States has engaged its forces 133 times against an opponent. Johann Galtung (2001) claims that the number is as high as 230. The motives for the studies seems to involve listing as many cases as possible, or depicting the United States as an imperialist power.1 This observation is supported by many of the cases reported, descriptions, and titles.2 Furthermore, these military action descriptions read like indictments, ignoring those cases where the United States has intervened for humanitarian reasons (Bush, 1993; Lake, 1996; Roberts, 2001). This is not to imply that this study adopts a conservative perspective. Many excellent scholarly articles (Van Evera, 1995; Forsythe, 1992; James and Mitchell, 1995) have provided strong critiques of American foreign policy actions without injecting the level of bias that would produce skepticism among political scientists.

Conservatives have also conducted analyses on the subject of United States military operations, which seem designed to support their ideological position. During the 2000 Presidential Election, President Bush and other conservatives argued that the United States was militarily overextended and weakened, thanks to numerous military actions conducted during Bill Clinton's presidency (Eland, 1998; Bullington, 1999; Wood, 2000; Eland, 2000; Holmes, 2000; Fossella, 2001). Former Vice President Dan Quayle (1999) went as far as insisting that Clinton increased United States military actions "by about 300 to 400 percent." His assertions were supported by Republican candidates George W. Bush and Richard Cheney (Daalder and O'Hanlon, 2000). Conservatives appear reluctant to even attempt a quantification of their cases of Clintonian military operations. Daalder and O'Hanlon (2000) even challenge this "300 percent increase" assertion, noting that the figure is actually much lower.3 But without listing which cases constitute United States military actions, we cannot even evaluate such arguments.

Even if an acceptable dataset were to be found, ideological arguments advanced by liberals and conservatives would still hamper our analysis of United States military actions. In a Baltimore Sun article, Daalder and O'Hanlon (2000) argue that the United States is not militarily overextended, citing cuts in military personnel (by 50 percent since the end of the Cold War), a modest increase in deployments ("only about 15 percent"), and missed opportunities for intervention (such as Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and East Timor). Yet a year later, the authors castigate George W. Bush's Middle East policies in a Newsday article titled "Overextended in Iraq" (Daalder and O'Hanlon, 2001).4

Conservative arguments seem similarly colored by their own ideological prism. Phillips, Spencer and Hulsman (2002) decry succumbing to a Clintonian version of "nation-building," yet call for training an Afghan army, building infrastructure and civil institutions, providing technical advice and economic opportunities, while encouraging judicial reform. The authors also call for supporting a new political arrangement in Afghanistan. If these activities do not constitute nation-building, the authors owe it to us to explain the difference. Another example of an ideological filter upon theory-testing is Kim Holmes' scathing review of the Clinton Doctrine and its decision to intervene in humanitarian crises. Holmes (2000) argues that Clinton goes beyond goals of democracy and liberalism to include other causes, such as multiculturalism and leftist purposes.5

Scholarly Approaches
Scholars interested in the subject of United States military actions have advanced a series of theoretical arguments and crafted datasets designed to answer these questions. But such datasets generated by these academics are often incapable of answering the very questions they develop. These datasets, though compiled through rigorous scientific methods, only include those cases where force has been applied, omitting situations where troops were deployed without shots being fired. Even if these cases involve little or no force, they are important in assessing where America chooses to wield its military might, and for what purposes. Other datasets include data on lesser thresholds of violence, but have not been updated to incorporate information from post Cold War cases.

The Correlates of War dataset, for example, only includes cases where a significant casualty threshold has been reached. Herbert Tillema's (1991) Foreign Overt Military Intervention dataset only includes those cases where force has been employed, ignoring other military actions involving United States troops. The problem with omitting such "minor" cases is that it is difficult to test theories that only include the most overt cases of force. A sizable number of troops may be dispatched to a country and not be counted as an important deployment, even though such an action will undoubtedly cost a significant amount of manpower and money.6 Yet if one of a tiny contingent of troops sent abroad dies in a skirmish, that incident is more likely to be reported. I do not recommend cutting such cases where a loss of life has occurred; in fact, I recommend including both cases. Only monitoring conflictual cases may miss personnel deployments in favor of our allies or democracies. It may miss cases where troops provide relief from natural or human-related disasters.

Most importantly, obscuring supposedly "insignificant" cases may produce a post hoc bias, making it difficult to predict conflict origins. A case may look nonconflictual at first, but then could escalate to a more serious scenario. Scholars may not begin coding a case until it has already exploded, leaving us to wonder why events spun out of control. Remember that the Vietnam War began with the deployment of military advisers, and American troops were originally dispatched to provide humanitarian assistance. Neither looked like a quagmire from the onset. By not examining other cases of adviser deployment and assistance provision, such debacles may not be caught.

Some datasets include cases where non-conflictual deployments of troops do occur. The Correlates of War dataset of Militarized Interstate Disputes (MID) includes threats and displays of force, as well as its use (Jones, Bremer and Singer, 1996). And Tillema's (1997) dataset includes cases where the target admits foreign troops. But neither of these datasets includes information after 1992. Given the numerous contentions that the Cold War years represent some "unique" era of action (Farber and Gowa, 1995), we need to test our theories of military actions in other years, especially the most contemporary time frame.

Testing Hypotheses
Even though there has been little analysis of post-Cold War United States military actions, there seems to be no shortage of advice and arguments provided by professors, policymakers, and pundits. These hypotheses range from domestic politics (party in power, election year politics), to target internal politics (regime type, consent granted). They include questions of national interest, relevant regions, and support from allies or other multilateral institutions. They also involve questions of military strategy (how much force to use, and when to use it).

Domestic Politics Hypotheses
Overextended Hypothesis: As noted earlier, the decision to employ military forces abroad touched off a lively ideological debate concerning whether or not American military forces were overextended. A variety of analysts contend that this is the case (Eland, 1998; Bullington, 1999; Quayle, 1999; Holmes, 2000; Eland, 2000; Fossella, 2001; Daalder and O'Hanlon, 2001; Eland, 2002), while others (Wood, 2000; Daadler and O'Hanlon, 2001) dispute these charges. To resolve this debate, I examine the rates of intervention compared to other time frames to determine if America has intervened more often after 1991 than it has in previous years (1945-1990).

Election-Year Hypothesis: Another domestic political factor that has been scrutinized concerns whether or not the conflict occurred during an election year. Some (Ostrom and Job, 1986; James and Oneal, 1991) contend that conflict is more likely during these years, because United States presidents seek to create a "Rally 'Round the Flag" Effect by bolstering their domestic standing with a burst of patriotism which typically accompanies an American conflict. Others (Gaubatz, 1991; Yoon, 1997) make the opposite conclusion, believing that such foreign policymakers are more risk averse and do not want body bags becoming an election issue. Support for this hypothesis exists if we find more American military operations occurring during election years than non-election years.

Political Party Hypothesis: Which party controls the White House is also likely to have an impact upon the likelihood of a United States military action. Some believe that the Republican Party derives more support from wielding military force, while the Democratic Party is regarded as "the Peace Party." Yoon (1997), in fact, finds a connection between the Reagan Presidency and the likelihood of force being deployed. President Clinton's critics claim that he has overused America's military forces in a series of humanitarian interventions (Eland, 1998; Bullington, 1999; Quayle, 1999; Holmes, 2000; Eland, 2000; Fossella, 2001; Daalder and O'Hanlon, 2001). But Eland (2002) now contends that the Bush Administration is using military force at rates exceeding those of his predecessor.7 If political parties matter, we will find a disproportionate number of United States military operations during the tenure of a given political party.

National Interest Hypotheses: Whenever a United States military action has occurred, there inevitably has been a national debate on whether or not the mission is in "the national interest." The only problem with these spirited arguments is that there has been little consensus on what constitutes America's national interest. Is the issue defined by the location of the proposed intervention or the qualities of the country on the receiving end of the United States military operation? Both are analyzed as potential cases affecting America's national interest.

Alliance Hypothesis: The United States may activate its military forces if it perceives a military ally is under attack or somehow compromised. Possible actions may involve defending a fellow security pact member from external attack, or displacing a regime to reestablish close military ties. President Reagan's Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger (1984) argued that one of the triggers for military action in the post-Vietnam era would be if the United States' or its close allies' vital national interests were at risk. His views were echoed by President Clinton's National Security Adviser Anthony Lake (1996), who cited defending against direct attacks on the United States, its citizens, and its allies as a circumstance that call for the use of military force. Former President George Bush (1993) also refuted President Washington's warnings of being captured by entangling alliances. "But what was 'entangling' in Washington's day is now essential" Bush (1993) noted. Holmes (2000) concurs, citing the need to maintain our strong military alliances.8

Support for this hypothesis exists if the United States is more likely to engage in a military operation within an allied country than a state it does not share an alliance with.

Area of Interest Hypothesis: Another defining characteristic for establishing America's national interest has involved identifying world regions where the United States has security needs beyond its own borders (Luard, 1988). In arguing for the defense of vital interests, Holmes (2000) identifies Europe, Eurasia, East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. But this seems to include the entire world, short of Africa, an area Schraeder (1991) claims has been neglected by the United States in its military actions.9

Yoon (1997) narrows the list by offering that areas of critical interest include Europe, the Middle East or the Far East (i.e. Japan). Mokhiber and Young (1999) also identify the Persian Gulf as a vital region for the United States due to its oil reserves. Daadler and O'Hanlon (2000) concurs with Yoon's designation, noting that the Far East should be on the list because of economic interests and proximity to key waterways. The authors also find the Balkans to be more than just a peripheral interest due to the their proximity to NATO countries. Support exists for this hypothesis if we find that more United States military operations occurred in these three key regions: Europe, the Persian Gulf, and the Far East, than in other regions.

Area Proximity Hypothesis: Additional places of concern for the United States are regions that are closer to its borders, which can enable its foes to launch attacks from a closer distance (Luard, 1988). Yoon (1997) identifies geographic proximity as a potential United States foreign policy concern. Daadler and O'Hanlon (2000) justify Clinton's decision to intervene in Haiti due to its close proximity as a Caribbean island. Support for this hypothesis exists if we find a disproportionate number of United States military operations in the Western Hemisphere.

Military Policy Hypotheses
An additional set of hypotheses concerns how the United States wages its military action. Specifically, does United States choose to intervene with minimal amounts of force after 1990? Or do American policymakers go in with maximal firepower? Once involved in a military action, do American generals choose to escalate the conflict, or do they keep the operation force levels to a minimum?

Overwhelming Force Hypothesis: The origins of this argument occurred in the wake of the Korean War, where Alexander George (1992) found that policymakers became reluctant to fight inconclusive wars with limited measures. Either the United States should use overwhelming force, or remain uninvolved in a crisis. President George W. Bush's Secretary of State Colin Powell concurred. Citing examples from the Vietnam War, Powell (1992) stressed the need to apply "overwhelming force" and belittled experts who called for surgical strikes or incremental attacks. Reagan's Defense Secretary Weinberger (1984) also noted that if troops were to engage in combat, they should do so "wholeheartedly." Haass (1999) criticizes the use of limited operations that rely only on air power and are unwilling to provide ground support. Support for the overwhelming force hypothesis exists if the operations involve ground troops in combination with other elements of firepower, such as air and naval resources.

Incrementalism Hypothesis: This argument suggests that the United States used relatively low levels of force in the post-Cold War era. Such policies have had the support of President Reagan's Secretary of State George Shultz, who insisted that American diplomacy would be hamstrung by the military's reluctance to become involved in "limited" wars (Mokhiber and Young, 1999). Former President George Bush (1993) also trumpeted the successful application of incremental uses of force. At a West Point speech, Bush (1993) stated "The United States should not stand by with so many lives at stake and when a limited deployment of U.S. forces, buttressed by the forces of other countries and acting under the full authority of the United Nations, could make an immediate and dramatic difference, and do so without excessive levels of risk and cost." Lake (1996) also supported the selective use of force over its massive application in most circumstances. Peceny (2000) also finds that policymakers in the post-Cold War era were reluctant to commit wholeheartedly to the use of combat troops, and tended to shy from paying "high costs" to achieve their goals. Therefore, support exists for this hypothesis if American interventions tend to be limited in scope and escalations do not involve significant numbers of ground troops during the operation.

Target Politics Hypotheses
Other hypotheses tested include characteristics of the target state. These include the domestic political regime of the country receiving the United States military operation, as well as its support for the deployment of American troops within its borders.

Protect or Promote Democracy Hypothesis: A significant number of scholars have analyzed the connection between American military actions abroad and the desire to maintain or spread liberalism in the international system. Peceny (1995), for example, finds that 80 percent of United States interventions since the Cold War can be classified as "pro-liberalization." Using Polity III data, Meernik (1996) generally concurs with Peceny's findings that a disproportionate number of American military actions were designed with democratic goals in mind. In a comprehensive study of American interventions during the Cold War, Hermann and Kegley (1998) also find support for such arguments. They found that U.S. interventions which intended to protect or promote democracy produced an increase in liberalization within the target state, especially during democracy's "third wave" (Hermann and Kegley, 1998). Friedman (1993) postulates that the post-Cold War era doctrine may replace the policy of communist containment with an enlargement of the liberal democratic community. Lake (1996) supports this idea, identifying one of his key foreign policy goals "to preserve, promote and defend democracy." Even Clinton foreign policy critic Holmes (2000) says "to the extent that we can, we should help nations adopt democratic institutions that safeguard liberties." Support for this hypothesis occurs if America intervenes in a disproportionate number of democracies.

Consent Hypothesis: Wary of being trapped in a quagmire facing an unsupportive domestic population, the United States is likely to prefer operations within a friendly country. The operation is apt to be better received by the people (though not everyone is likely to be pleased) if its government has given tacit approval to the United States military operation. Lake (1996) posits a role for the United States in "helping other nations build themselves." A lack of cooperation with the target state's government may also hinder the United States' ability to achieve its foreign policy goals. Hermann and Kegley (1998) find that gunboat diplomacy is the least effective strategy for changing a target's domestic political institutions. Support for this hypothesis exists if the target state has provided consent to the United States military operation.

Multilateral Assistance Hypotheses
A final set of hypotheses to analyze involves cases where the United States decision to send troops abroad receives the full backing of an international organization. The decision to coordinate such military policies might provide legal justification for American actions abroad. Additionally, if other states also deploy troops, the backing of an international organization can also provide allies integral for the success of the mission

United Nations Hypothesis: The United Nations, the world's largest international organization, does provide a legal framework for a number of military actions, especially if humanitarian issues are at stake (Roberts, 2000).10

Authorization from the United Nations Security Council (of which the United States is a permanent member) also sanctions a series of enforcement actions (Roberts, 2000). Former President George Herbert Walker Bush (1993) also makes the case for deploying United States forces in conjunction with other armies, with the full authority of the United Nations, when lives are at stake. Therefore, not only does United Nations support provide legal cover for American actions, but it also enables the United States to gather support for its mission from fellow UN members. Support for this hypothesis exists if the United Nations approves of the United States military operation.

NATO Hypothesis: Though the United States is an important member of the United Nations, it may rely upon other sources of multilateral sanction and support if it finds itself stymied by a U.N. Security Council vote or veto. It may work with its fellow members in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has an integrated command structure for multilateral action lacking in the United Nations. Peceny (2000) demonstrates how the United States used NATO airstrikes against the Bosnian Serbs when the United Nations was hamstrung by inaction. Daalder and O'Hanlon (2000) justify American actions in the Balkans as a "natural outgrowth of the U.S. leadership role in NATO." Furthermore, the authors note a bonus benefit NATO affords the United States: significant strategic support. "Our European allies contribute well over three-quarters of the military manpower in both NATO operations and pay more than 90 percent of the bill to help sustain peace in the region (Daalder and O'Hanlon, 2000)." Therefore, support for this hypothesis exists if a disproportionate number of United States military operations have been approved by the NATO alliance.

Unilateralism: It may be the case that the United Nations is unwilling to become involved in situations where NATO has already begun operations, or vice versa. Therefore, we also examine whether one or both organizations have approved the mission, as well as cases where the United States acts alone.

Research Design
Case Selection
In this analysis, I used the USMO data provided by a previous project (Tures, 2002). This USMO dataset begins with a list of American military operations generated by the Federation of American Scientists ( The new dataset, however, includes several cases not included in the global security dataset, including updates. These cases were gathered after a comprehensive review of information sources. Each operation includes a number and a name to distinguish it from other cases. The USMO name is based upon the name of the operation in question.

Spatial-Temporal Domain
The USMO data collected includes all cases of American military deployments beyond its borders in all regions of the world. The time frame of data collection begins in 1991 and concludes in May of 2002.

Domestic Politics Hypotheses: To gather the data necessary to examine the Overextended Hypothesis, I gathered information from Federation of American Scientists (FAS) cases occurring between 1945 and 1990 and compared them to numbers generated by the USMO cases. In collecting data on election years, those cases from the presidential election years (1992, 1996, 2000) are paired with cases from "off-year" elections, where all of the House of Representatives and one third of the United States Senate faces the voters (1994, 1998, 2002). Increasingly, United States military actions do play a role as an election issue in these cases (McMurray, 2002; Will, 2002). Finally, I examined whether the President in charge during the intervention was from the Democratic or Republican Party.

National Interest Hypotheses: To evaluate the hypotheses, I examine the USMO gathered data on target countries that have an alliance with the United States. This includes membership in NATO, the Rio Pact, ANZUS, and a series of bilateral agreements with Asiatic countries. Another source of USMO data comes from a variable that captures region of intervention (Americas, Europe, the Middle East, East Asia, Africa, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union, and Australia). United States military operations that take place in Europe, the Middle East or East Asia are considered "areas of interest." U.S. operations in the Americas are considered located in "areas of proximity."

Military Policy Hypotheses: USMO data includes the type of operation. American military operations might include conventional ground forces, air strikes, naval bombardment, evacuation, interdiction, border control, humanitarian relief, military advisers/training, monitoring cease fires, commando raids, demobilization and non-conventional ground operations. The presence of any of the first three categories in any United States military operation is judged to have used sufficient American firepower at the onset of the operation. To determine whether America has engaged in incrementalism, I examine levels of escalation to look for cases where there was (a) no combat action, (b) subsequent combat action, but ground forces not committed, (c) subsequent deployment of combat troops, (d) conventional ground troops already engaged in combat (no escalation therefore) or (e) no change in level of combat forces (air power or naval bombardment continue without ground troop combat).

Target Politics Hypotheses: One the three variables used to test the target politics hypotheses is regime type. To determine whether a country is a democracy or not, we use scores generated by the Freedom House dataset ( Countries receive a score of 0, 1 or 2 depending on whether the country was not free, partially free, or free. USMO cases where the country was free at the time of the intervention are considered examples of "protect democracy" while USMO cases into partially or not free cases are judged to be examples of "promote democracy." Finally, target consent to the operation is gathered through the judgement of the coders. Categories include no consent, partial consent (at least one entity with some legitimacy to regime control invites the intervention), and full consent (the official government agrees to the United States military operation).

Multilateral Assistance Hypotheses: The USMO team collected data for several variables which is relevant for the tests of these hypotheses. The first involves gathering information on whether or not the United Nations approved of the American military action. The second variable captures whether or not the United States military action received NATO approval. The third variable examines whether the United States acted without UN or NATO approval.

Results of Analysis
Domestic Politics Hypotheses

Analysis of all United States military actions since the end of World War II show that America has engaged in 263 military actions. A third of these occurred before 1991, while the United States initiated 176 of these between 1991 and 2002. Therefore, the United States commenced roughly 66 percent of its interventions in the last 12 years, as opposed to the previous five decades. Debates may still rage over how overextended the American military is, but few can dispute that there has been a sizable jump in the number of U.S. military actions since the end of the Cold War.

Critics have charged the Clinton Administration with responsibility for the bulk of these post-Cold War military actions. In fact, more than 68 percent (120) occurred during Clinton's tenure as president. The other 32 percent (56 cases) occurred while George Herbert Walker Bush and his son George W. Bush were in the Oval Office. But it is important to note that Clinton controlled the presidency for 66 percent of the years, so the numbers roughly correspond to the number of interventions conducted by each party. The number of interventions during Democratic presidencies are not significantly different from the number of United States military operations during Republican administrations. This provides some support for Eland's (2002) assertions that Clinton is not the only factor responsible for an overworked military.

Arguments by Ostrom and Job (1986) and James and Oneal (1991) concerning military action and election year cases are supported by the data. American leaders generated nearly twice as many military actions (112) during election years than non-election years. Evidently, United States foreign policymakers feel that they can generate a "Rally 'Round the Flag" Effect, which would offset any potential costs from body bags and budgets.

National Interest Hypotheses
In assessing where American military leaders dispatch their troops abroad, we find that in roughly one third of all cases (61) does the United States send forces to a fellow ally. As for "relevant regions," the United States chose to intervene 13 times in Europe, 23 times in the Middle East (almost exclusively in the Persian Gulf) and 17 times in East Asian countries. These cases constitute roughly 30 percent of all USMO cases. Those who feel the United States chooses to conduct its operations closer to home find nearly as many cases of intervention into the Americas (49 cases). Though the Americas region represents the modal category for regional cases, they represent only 27.8 percent of all USMO cases. Yet if we define national interest as a combination of regions of interest combined with proximate regions, we find that more than half of all interventions (58 percent) occurred in this "zone of national interest." The other USMA cases occurred in Africa, Central Asia, the Former Soviet Union, and Australia.

Military Policy Hypotheses
When the United States did send its troops to another country, we find that in only 10 percent of all cases did America's military begin the operation with conventional ground operations (including commando raids), an aerial strike, or a naval bombardment. All other cases were initiated with less combat, ranging from training and evacuations to humanitarian relief and monitoring cease-fires. Analysis of force and escalation revealed that 134 of the 159 less combative operations continued to refrain from using massive amounts of firepower. Seven cases escalated from less combative to either aerial or naval action. Some 22 additional USMO cases involved committing ground troops to conventional operations. The remaining operations already had some prior combative experience. Even though a minority of cases involved a significant amount of firepower they doubled in number after the initial operation had begun, showing at least some support for the incremental hypothesis.

Target Politics Hypotheses
Does the United States intervene to protect or promote democracy? Results from this analysis are somewhat unclear. Roughly 44 percent of all United States military actions were deployed in a country considered "Not Free" by Freedom House. Another 34.6 percent of all American interventions in the post-Cold War era targeted a partly free country. The remaining cases involved American actions within a free country. But if we code all cases of not free and partly free governments as non-democracies, we find that nearly 80 percent fall under the category of "promote democracy." Yet it remains unclear whether American actions in a place like Saudi Arabia are made with liberal motives in mind.

As for issues of consent, about 64 percent of countries provided Americans with permission to conduct operations within their sovereign territory. In another 13 percent of all cases, some degree of consent was provided.

Multilateral Assistance Hypotheses
A number of United States military operations (48 percent) sought and received the approval of the United Nations in the post-Cold War world. In another 28 percent of all cases, NATO provided its blessing to the American military action. An examination of all cases with either UN or NATO approval reveals that in 21 percent of all cases, both international organizations provided permission for the USMO case. Another 34 percent of all cases had sanction from at least one of the multilateral groups. That means that in a majority of all cases, Americans pursued and won approval from at least one (and sometimes both) international organizations when conducting its military policies.

Summary of Findings
Since the end of the Cold War, the Americans have increased their military actions abroad, regardless of the political party in charge, typically during election years. These conflicts typically began with little or no combat, but several escalated to more serious levels of hostility.

Many of these actions took place either close to home or in regions of interest to the United States, such as Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. Few targets in question were aligned with the United States, and even fewer provided full freedoms to their own people. However, most granted their permission to the operation. In a majority of cases, the United States chose to seek approval from an international organization, such as the United Nations or NATO.

Implications and Future Directions
What can we expect in the coming years? It appears that American appetite for action abroad has only increased since the end of the Cold War. Such interventions are likely to continue, regardless of which party holds office. These military operations engaged by the United States are likely to follow the electoral cycle, with deployment rates increasing every two years. Such operations will typically be "low key," conducted in concert with the target state and international organizations, with a minimal level of combat. Yet several of these operations will possibly experience a dramatic escalation of events after the initial operations have commenced.

Events following the attacks of September 11, 2001 are likely to generate a series of similar operations. America has already conducted military actions in Afghanistan and proposes to do so in Iraq. But many of the post-September 11 USMO cases are apt to follow the patterns previously outlined. Countries like Georgia, the Philippines and a series of Central Asian countries known as the "'stans" have already coordinated actions with the United States. In the aftermath of the bombing of Bali, Southeastern Asian nations such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore will likely make similar requests.

Though we know more about the who, what, where and when about United States military operations, this information remains relatively descriptive in nature. We need more explanatory analysis concerning our results. Such information would broaden our exploratory hypotheses to examine not only the areas America deploys its forces, but also the cases where the United States refrains from taking action. More connections should be established between our variables to test whether, for example, Democrat Presidents prefer to intervene in free states or non-free states. Such information will provide us with not only the ability to provide a more sophisticated forecast of where and when such American military actions occur, but also explanations for why soldiers like Sgt. Jackson are deployed into countries where a new type of enemy awaits. Will it be to support democracy, as Thomas Friedman (1993) speculated, or will it involve replacing an old security threat (communism) with a new one (terrorism)?

End Notes
1.Ironically, many of these datasets do not include as many cases as they are capable of. For example, the Blum (1999) dataset incorporates many covert cases not involving United States military force, but ignores many overt cases. Grossman (2001) notes that his list does not include, among other things, "offshore shows of naval strength…military exercises…non-combat mobilizations, the permanent stationing of armed forces…the use of small hostage rescue units, most uses of proxy troops, foreign disaster assistance, military training and advisory programs not involving direct combat…and many other military activities."
2. For example, Blum (1999) describes a United States military action to include support for the Greek military coup of 1967. Blum's title reads "F*** Your Parliament and Your Constitution…". The descriptions of many of these cases read like a conspiracy novel. I am not saying the United States did not attempt to covertly overthrow the Costa Rican government in 1970 (as Blum alleges), but there is little evidence among scholarly literature to support coding such an event in the same category as the Gulf War and the Invasion of Panama.
3. Ironically, conservatives have also taken to criticizing the current Republican administration for excessive militarization. Eland (2002) contends that George W. Bush has used the military more excessively than Clinton ever did.
4. Daalder and O'Hanlon's (2001) article questions maintaining No Fly Zones "at a time when U.S. armed forces overseas may be overextended." It is important to note that this article was published on February 18, long before the terrorist attacks that stimulated a military response.
5. Holmes (2000) contends "Thus, to the President, extending U.S. military protection to the Albanian Kosovars was on par with expanding the list of federally protected groups to include homosexuals." Holmes also describes the Clinton Doctrine as the "equal rights agenda with a vengeance." Equally colorful is Holmes' assertion that "we should not employ military force for this purpose, reserving it instead for self-defense, defense of vital national interests, and the liberation of deserving oppressed peoples (Holmes, 2000)." One must wonder how the term "deserving" is defined.
6. Some datasets do not distinguish between cases where the target grants permission for the deployment, as opposed to cases where such authorization is not granted. Tillema's dataset (1997) is an exception, covering cases where consent is provided, as well as those deemed hostile by the target.
7. Peceny (2000) also notes that support for United States military actions knows no party-line, given liberal Democratic Party support for intervention into Haiti, as well as Republican Party conservative support for action against the Serbs in Bosnia.
8 . Not all views of rushing to an ally's defense are positively received in the United States. Eland (1998) contends that wealthy allies rely upon American defense to forego spending on their own security measures.
9. President George Herbert Walker Bush (1993), however, touted his decision to intervene in the Somalia conflict as part of Operation Restore Hope.
10. Holmes (2000) worries that the Clinton doctrine and its emphasis on multicultural humanitarian missions serves as a terrible trap for the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

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Editor's Note: John A. Tures is assistant professor of political science at LaGrange College, LaGrange, Ga., USA.

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