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Autocratic Regimes and Foreign Policy

Summary and Keywords

The foreign policy of autocratic regimes reflects the research interest in the international behavior and decision making of domestic actors in nondemocratic regimes. The regime type (its nature, structure, leadership constellation, legitimation strategies, relation between leadership and public) thus is presumed to have explanatory power for the foreign policy actions and decisions of autocratic actors.

Keywords: autocracy, totalitarianism, regime type, foreign policy, liberal turn, democratic peace theory, domestic structure approach, autocracy promotion


The study of foreign policy in autocratic regimes has historically lacked systematic analysis. The reasons are threefold: First, the very early works on autocracies, namely the classical studies on totalitarianism which produced insights on the foreign policy dimension were mainly case driven and remained largely unconnected among them. Therefore, this principally prolific phase did not generate a coherent theoretical body on the foreign policy dimension. Although in the next phase, namely the study of authoritarianism in the 1970s and later, scholars generally provided more comparative perspectives in their empirical analysis, foreign policy remained a largely neglected aspect when it came to theory building as well as to systematic empirical studies. Second, for a long time, the field of international relations did not consider internal structures of states as relevant; states rather were conceived as black boxes and unitary actors in the international game of power. The realist approach intentionally focused on systemic characteristics and, by the same token excluded the domestic sphere from the international politics. Only due to the new theoretical turns—liberalism, neoinstitutionalism, and constructivism in the 1990s—did domestic structures gain center stage as key factors for foreign policy behavior. Since then, one of the “most pressing concerns in the study of international relations today is to develop a systematic account of the impact of domestic politics on foreign policy” (Farnham, 2004, p. 411). Different from international relations, an inherent research interest in foreign affairs is principally looking into the black box of the state—especially actors and processes of decision making. The criticism of the early scholars of foreign policy analysis, namely that it “lacks comprehensive systems of testable generalizations” as well as it lacks causal explanations and “if–then” hypotheses (Rosenau, 1966, p. 32) can also be applied to the analysis of the regime type. Over decades a sustained and forceful theorizing with the regime type as an independent variable for explaining foreign policy decisions of nondemocratic regimes rarely took place. And finally fourthly, as scholars reiterate to underline (inter alia: Walker, 1990; Hermann, 2001), foreign policy displayed a democratic bias resulting in a neglect of nondemocratic countries (besides the outstanding examples of the Soviet Union or China). This led foreign policy to the desideratum: “Thus, the nature of the regime itself, with all its particular strengths and weaknesses and predispositions, must be made a central part of any analysis of the domestic roots of foreign policy” (Hudson, 2013, p. 142).

Despite this claim, scholars mostly did not seek communication with those who gathered expertise in the analysis of regime types. This is even more surprising because regimes studies experienced a notable upsurge more or less at the same time as domestic structures “came back into” international relations, namely in the 1990s. Having stated this lack of communication between the relevant subdisciplines, it becomes obvious that one central intention of this article is to include the most relevant (and different) views on the autocratic foreign policy (a) to provide an overview of the different approaches and (b) to fill a desideratum, namely connecting (and here is also a postulate) the different strands of analysis on autocratic foreign behavior or international actions.

This article first provides an overview of the findings on autocratic foreign policy of the classical autocracy literature of the 20th century. The recent literature on authoritarianism often ignores those classical works and the substantive corpus of theoretical and empirical knowledge produced—example given in research on totalitarianism. Contrary to that tendency, this article includes meaningful approaches and results from the classical autocracy studies to bring them to the attention of the actual debate on the external behavior of autocratic governments. In a second step then, an overview is given regarding the different phases in foreign policy analysis and the focus (or lacking focus) on the regime type. The article concludes by identifying remaining lacuna and exposing future desiderata.

For the general study of foreign policy in light of the regime factor, it is important to carefully consider the root concepts of democracy and autocracy. Considerable problems can arise from indistinct reference to the one or other regime, for example, in assessing findings in the context of the democratic peace theory. Authors rightly emphasize the shakiness of conclusions about conflict behavior and the war proneness of democracies or autocracies without having a clear definition of what is democratic or autocratic. Therefore, for the study of autocratic foreign policy it is important to provide a definition of autocracy. Here, the term autocracy (Karl Loewenstein, 1935) follows the dichotomous typology of democracy and autocracy whereby autocracy embraces all nondemocratic regimes. This typology is parsimonious and at the same time unsatisfactory yet it only offers a definition ex negativo. Actually, defining autocracy without referring to democracy has not been successful up to now. A convincing and theoretically saturated endeavor is to set criteria: legitimation of rule, access, structure, claim and way of rule and the monopoly of rule (Merkel, 2010, pp. 40–41).

Within the category of autocracies, further subtypes can be subsumed: first, these are the totalitarian regimes (including the posttotalitarian variant); second, one basic and seminal distinction was drawn between totalitarian and authoritarian regimes (Linz, 1975), but these distinctions are beyond the scope of this article. Here, the term autocracy is used to differentiate between totalitarian and authoritarian subtypes. As long as historical cases such as Bolshevik and Communist Soviet Union, Italian Fascism, and German National Socialism are to be included in any scrutiny, this differentiation makes sense to ask for possible distinct impacts on international behavior. A more recent typology suggests three autocratic subtypes based on the type of rulers—personalist, military, or one party (Geddes, 1999). This approach has been complemented and further developed by others (e.g., Hadenius & Teorell, 2006; Magaloni, Chu, & Min, 2013) who inter alia include monarchies or multiparty systems as further subtypes. The problem of these typologies, however, is that they limit their focus on the rulers and their access, and disregard such relevant criteria like legitimation of rule, structure, scope and way of rule—all criteria which may matter for foreign-policy decision making.

Theoretical and Empirical Findings: What Classical Studies on Totalitarianism Tell about Autocratic Foreign Policy

Scholarly knowledge of foreign policy in autocratic regimes can return to different sources, beginning with the 20th century: On one side, it has been nurtured to a great extent by the rich literature on totalitarian states. This often went hand in hand with regional or country experts working on a specific region or country and generating findings on autocratic foreign policy in a determined context. Thus, for example, the aggressive wars by Hitler’s Third Reich had been studied in the context of the research of totalitarianism; the same applies to the broad community of Sovietologists investigating on the foreign policy of the Soviet Union, also after the end of World War II, and the sinologists in regard to China. In research on totalitarianism, as well as in regional area studies, case-oriented work prevailed.

Truly, the idea that politics within a state influence politics among states is as old as the study of foreign policy; it can be traced back even to Thucydides (Schultz, 2013, p. 478). However, in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century, studies were very much devoted to the primacy of foreign policy. The literature on totalitarian regimes and their foreign policy therefore reflected an important paradigmatic change in the consideration of the relation between domestic and foreign policy. Thus, scholars pointed to the fact that both dimensions—domestic and international—were interconnected and even more: that foreign policy constituted a function of the different ideologies (Bracher, 1970; Weinberg, 1971). Contrary to the traditional view of many historians at that time, scholars on totalitarianism argued that the emergence of totalitarian regimes directed the focus on domestic decision making to explain the expansionist approach. Be it the Bolshevist concept of world revolution or the Fascist and the National Socialist imperialism—they were shaped by the interwovenness of domestic and foreign policy (Bracher, 1960, pp. 320–322). In the Soviet Union and in Fascist Italy, foreign policy gained momentum only after a longer phase of domestic power consolidation and, similarly, National Socialist foreign policy only became active after the Gleichschaltung and the internal installation of the control apparatus. The strategic planning and the formulation of the foreign policy goals, however, had already taken place during the early phase of those regimes. Even more, those strategic goals determined the specific way of domestic power consolidation. The works of Sigmund Neumann and of Franz Neumann proved the claim of an ideologically based National Socialist foreign policy that was effective in every phase and from the very beginning of the regime (S. Neumann, 1942; F. Neumann, 1942). In the case of National Socialism, Bracher holds that the successful seizure of power (Machtergreifung) removing all controls and hurdles in the domestic realm constituted the precondition for the expansionist policy (Bracher, 1960, pp. 359–360).

One central characteristic that crystallizes in those studies is not only the notorious war proneness of the totalitarian states, but the fact that—as Sigmund Neumann formulated—“The dictatorial regimes are governments at war, originating in war, aiming at war, thriving on war” (S. Neumann, [1942] 1965, p. 230). Neumann emphasized the dynamic character of those regimes being their inner structure and their driving force shaped by the idea of permanent revolution which is reflected in the foreign policy and its main trait, namely expansion (S. Neumann, [1942] 1965, p. 257). Very similarly, war was identified as the “normal situation” for the Soviet regime (Gurian, 1963, p. 76). Although this status of “unceasing tensions” and “perpetual war” may also refer to the internal situation, it indicates the close interrelation between the domestic and the international dimension. The declared Communist aims of ending international exploitation and achieving the Communist world revolution embody already a strong mission for an accordingly shaped foreign policy. In contrast, Friedrich and Brzezinski notice a difference in the behavior toward war between Nazism and Fascism on one side, and Communist on the other which they attribute to the ideology (Friedrich & Brzezinski, [1956] 1965, pp. 357–361). They state that the first glorify war, explaining that glorification with the ideological stress on collective command over the individual, while for Communists war would not constitute an end in itself but only a necessary means to the Communist end. Moreover, the authors underline that war for Communism is only one means within others. Thus, Communist leaders also believed in peaceful coexistence between the Communist and the capitalist world, not least because of the alleged scientific assumption that capitalism is doomed.

Although the authors do not present a systematic account of totalitarian foreign policy, several relevant aspects can be extracted from their work (Friedrich & Brzezinski, [1956] 1965, pp. 353–363). As a primary feature, they characterize world-revolutionary appeals as part of totalitarian dictatorship, which again underlines the ideological grounds of foreign policy. “There can be little doubt that, without an outward projection against a real or imaginary enemy, these regimes could not marshal the fanatical devotion the system requires for survival” (Friedrich & Brzezinski, [1956] 1965, p. 353). In sum, the authors point to the “operational differences between democracies and totalitarian relations with the world” (Friedrich & Brzezinski, [1956] 1965, p. 357). Again, their work is far from a systematic analysis, but important explanatory factors stand out: First, ideology does not only explain the world-revolutionary and expansionist character of the totalitarian foreign policy in general but also the variance in foreign policy strategies between the different totalitarian regimes. Thereby, the essential role that ideology had been attributed by the studies of totalitarianism (especially by H. Arendt, 1951, and Friedrich & Brzezinski, 1956) extends beyond the domestic dimension equally explaining the impact of ideology on the behavior of totalitarian rulers in the international sphere. Second, the studies indicate that the implementation of the foreign policy goals heavily depended on the installation of the totalitarian regime with its comprehensive system of control over all areas of political, economic, and societal life, the elimination of any opposition or veto player and the reliance on the mass movements or mass support reached by agitation and propaganda. Hence, the regime transformation constituted the condition for the further steps in foreign policy.

Foreign Policy Analysis and Regime Types

Foreign policy analysis must address the variable regime types and the variance of regime types—democratic, autocratic or another third type like hybrid regimes. How did and does foreign policy analysis address, first, the nature of the regime type and its influence on external behavior and foreign-policy decisions and, second, the variance of regime types? Which kind of regime-sensitive theoretical and conceptual approaches have been produced in foreign policy analysis? And how did this theoretical work transfer into empirical studies? To trace these aspects, this section will follow Hudson’s division into the classic scholarship (1954–1993) and foreign policy analysis from 1993 to 2017 (Hudson, 2005, 2013). It goes without saying that the attempt of such a tour d’horizon cannot present more than the main threads and always runs the danger of leaving out the one or the other work. Therefore, the main focus is on those approaches that deliberately base on the premise that the regime type has an explanatory power and contributes to a systematic conceptualization of this variable. This does not mean that many empirical studies have also treated determined relevant cases of autocratic governments and aspects their foreign policy; most are single-case studies that are often descriptive and lack hypotheses regarding regime type.

Foreign Policy Analysis: Classic Scholarship and Regime Types

In the 1960s, the prolific attempt of several scholars of foreign policy analysis to address two identified shortcomings of their discipline opened up new ways of theorizing. In both cases, James Rosenau among others played a leading role. On one side, the traditional separation between international politics and domestic politics was called into question, resulting in the modelling of the complex interaction between the national and the international dimension like for example linkage-politics (Rosenau, 1966) or the permeated state (Rosenau, 1966). On the other side, Rosenau articulated a harsh criticism of the state of foreign policy analysis, especially referring to the deficient accomplishment in systematic theorizing on the domestic aspects of foreign policy (1966). He denied the capability of producing causal explanations, of systematizing identified domestic factors and their potential impact on external behavior, and of not going beyond the pure description of historical and single-country cases (Rosenau, 1966, pp. 31–40).

To identify factors is not to trace their influence. To uncover processes that affect external behaviour is not to explain how and why they are operative under certain circumstances and not under others. To recognize that foreign policy is shaped by internal as well as external factors is not to comprehend how the two intermix over the other.

(Rosenau, 1966, p. 31)

Based on the uneasiness with the dogmatic separation between international relations and comparative politics, a group of scholars reflected on the interrelations between the both dimensions—national and international—and thus made important steps in transcending the incrusted boundaries between the two disciplines. This separation was perceived as a conceptual problem impeding the development of general theories on the external behavior (Rosenau, 1966, p. 53, 59). One result of this debate was Farrell’s volume, a landmark in the sense that the articles of that volume considered also the regime type (even if it was not called like this at that time; rather they spoke of “open” and “closed” societies) and proposed conceptualizations (at different degrees) (Farrell, 1966a). Rosenau (1966) suggested a pre-theory based on the assumption of three basic domestic attributes leading to fundamental differences in the foreign policies of their governments, namely size, economic development and political accountability. Thus here, one variable was “state of the polity” that could be open and closed (see the table in Rosenau, 1966, p. 48). In a later study, Rosenau & Hoggard pointed to various difficulties in these pretheoretical considerations (Rosenau & Hoggard, 1974, pp. 119–120) as the lack of specification of the kind of behavior that could result from the varying attributes (inter alia: state of the polity) and the lack of hypothesizing about the different effects. Therefore, Rosenau & Hoggard present an extension of the pretheory. They correlated the identified attributes—size, economic development and political accountability—with the conflict behavior and cooperative behavior of “national societies.” The result surprisingly pointed to internal factors as the more influential (Rosenau & Hoggard, 1974, pp. 121–142).

The further elaboration on the regime type factor in the 1960s and 1970s found its limits due to the unresolved classification of autocratic rule that could not be subsumed under “totalitarian.” The heyday of the theory of totalitarianism with protagonists like Hannah Arendt, Carl Friedrich, and Zbigniew Bzrezinski was somewhat exhausted, and scholars were in search of new and more adequate concepts for what Juan Linz later in 1975 named “authoritarianism” in his seminal article (Linz, 1975). But until then, there was terminological and conceptual uncertainty regarding how to classify evident nondemocratic countries that at the same time did not display the criteria of totalitarian rule described by Friedrich and Bzrezinski’s typology (1956, 1965). Therefore, it is not surprising that the concepts of “open” and “closed” societies have remained very diffuse and rough. Moreover, what has not been pursued is breaking down more in detail what exactly “closed” society means in terms of leadership, of actors constellation, of state-society relation, etc. The aspect of legitimation by ideology which already was been discussed in the work on totalitarianism was taken up and reconfirmed. Farrell even presumes that ideology plays a more important role in influencing the foreign policy of closed societies than philosophical motivations do in open societies (Farrell, 1966b, p. 173).

The argument that ideology or belief systems affect the behavior of individual decision makers and therefore their external behavior also was inherent in another research program that was followed after the seminal studies of Nathan Leites The Operational Code of the Politiburo (1951) and A Study of Bolshevism (1953). Later Alexander George (1969) re-examined Leite’s work based on the assumptions that decision makers vary significantly in choice propensities, beliefs, and personality traits and that these characteristics structure the decision maker’s range of goals and shape their analysis of alternatives (Walker, 1990, pp. 406–407). Empirical studies on the operational code mainly focused on democratic decision makers (mainly American, see Walker’s criticism, 1990, pp. 409–410). Moreover, these developed types of belief system were not regime sensitive. The aspect of the regime type—Bolshevism—is present in Leite’s work, but it has not been predominantly elaborated in the following studies of George, O. Holsti, or Walker.

The approach of national role conceptions—firstly presented by K. Holsti (1970)—equally attributed relevance to the domestic sources that influence role conceptions. Within structural factors like geography and location, natural, technical and economic resources, Holsti also counted aspects like socioeconomic demands expressed by parties, mass movements and interest groups, national values/ideologies/doctrines, and public opinion mood. These aspects are operationalized only for democratic systems and thus do not open the view for a comparative view on different regime types. How, for example, can the “public opinion mood” be operationalized in an authoritarian regime where no or restricted media pluralism exists and no freedom of expression is granted? Holsti himself points to the two deficits of his approach: that it provides a static description of the distribution of national role conceptions and that it does not offer a discussion of the sources of national role conceptions (Holsti, 1970, p. 294). Partially, this point was taken up later in the work elaborating on the role conceptions approach. Wish (1987), for example, makes an attempt to fill this gap correlating Rosenaus’s three attributes with the national role conception model. The result is that size and economic development strongly relate to the role conceptions, like dominance or influence, and the concern with territorial issues. Political orientation, however, the author finds more closely related to “motivational interests and issues of concern.” Without doubt, role theory as an empirical theory offers a fruitful view on international relations, but the question or whether the regime type and certain characteristics of different regime types influences role conceptions or not, has scarcely been problematized either by Holsti or his followers. Tellingly, articles in the 1980s continue speaking of “open” and “closed” nations without further differentiation. At that time, regime studies had already made a leap in classification, but this progress obviously is not reflected in the foreign policy models.

This leads to another disciplinary disconnection, namely between international relations and foreign policy analysis. Juliet Kaarbo’s critical view on the development of foreign policy analysis reveals some problematic aspects. She describes how foreign policy analysis in the 1970s and 1980s focused on single-country, single-case studies, and “islands of middle-range theories” with little cross fertilization, accumulation of knowledge, or attempted connections to international relations. According to Kaarbo, foreign policy analysts missed key opportunities to connect to international relations “with its inward-looking orientation” (Kaarbo, 2015, p. 193). The following central desideratum can be added to Kaarbo’s sceptical record: During the classical phase of foreign policy analysis scholarship, the regime type or the political system has only partially taken into account as a variable. Even if it had been integrated in descriptive or analytic frameworks in the form of the dichotomy of “open” and “closed” society, there was only few hypothesizing or theorizing about a possible causal effect of differing political systems like in Rosenau’s work. Moreover, many scholars of foreign policy analysis self-critically stated that most of the empirical work had focused on Western cases and, more than that, had a U.S. bias. “To date models of foreign-policy decision making have had a distinctly U.S. flavor. As a result the models have not fared as well when extended to non-U.S. settings, particularly to nondemocratic, transitional and less developed polities” (Hermann, 2001, p. 49). Consequently, the part of the world that during the Cold War was under nondemocratic rule did not find much scholarly attention.

Foreign Policy Analysis From 1993 to the Present: The Liberal Turn, Domestic Politics, and Regime Types

Since the 1990s, it has been widely acknowledged in international relations as well as in foreign policy analysis that domestic sources of international behavior need more theoretical and empirical study. The liberal and the constructivist turn implicate an important paradigmatic change in respect to the regime perspective as domestic factors are put into the front row. Liberalism emerged as a reaction to neorealism dismissing the assumption that the main actors of international politics are coherent states. In contrast to the rationale of systemic variables of foreign policy that had dominated the Cold War period and vis-à-vis the more “ambiguous environment” after 1990 the importance of domestic political concerns increased (Hermann & Hagan, 1998, p. 125). As the general liberal argument emphasizes the multitude of domestic state and also nonstate actors and their influence on the government’s decision making the door was opened also to look more closely to the nature of these domestic actors, their relationship and interaction patterns, and how different preferences transfer to decisions. Only since the 1990s has the link between regime type and foreign policy gained theoretical and empirical attention in international relations and also in foreign policy analysis (Hagan, 2010, p. 153). This is mainly due to two theoretical developments (i.e., the domestic structure approach and the democratic peace theory) and to generating large-n data sets, which unpacked democratic and autocratic regimes. Concentrating on the reinvigoration of domestic politics, this section provides an overview of the most important threads in scholarly work since the 1990s.

Different than earlier concepts of domestic structures that were elaborated in the 1990s, namely to “deal with the nature of the political institutions (the ‘state’), basic features of the society, and the institutional and organizational arrangements linking state and society and channelling the societal demands into the political system” (Risse-Kappen, 1991, p. 484; see also Risse-Kappen & Müller, 1993), the state structure can be analyzed according to various parameters. Firstly, the centralization versus fragmentation accounts for the concentration of power in a small group of decision makers. Second, the demand-formation in the civil society accounts for the mobilization potential of interest groups, societal organizations, etc. for political causes. Thirdly, the policy networks that link state and society account for the influence of intermediate organizations like parties and the political culture that shapes for example consensual decision making, distributive bargaining, or dissent in policy networks (Risse-Kappen, 1995, pp. 493–495). Societal actors are very much brought in by the liberal theory including substate and nonstate actors as variables in the decision making process because they can articulate their positions and mobilize for their interests. Likewise, public opinion is argued to be a critical variable. Risse-Kappen (1991) shows that public opinion matters for foreign policy, but in different degrees. The variation, as he holds, can be attributed to the different domestic structures thus functioning as an intermediate variable.

In summary, the domestic structure approach made an important contribution to the analysis of the internal environment and possible explanatory factors for international behavior. It opened the black box of the state and its internal dimension, however, limiting itself to democratic systems without taking the next logical step toward a regime-sensitive differentiation. Thus, Risse-Kappen (1991, p. 512) explicitly points to the fact that his study only refers to liberal democracies and omits authoritarian regimes. As Milner states, the recognition of the interdependence of domestic and international dimensions did not produce any theory on the interaction between domestic politics and foreign policy (Milner, 1997, p. 234).1 Certainly, such a theory would require the conceptualization of regime types and their impact on international behavior.

Without doubt, since the 1990s, foreign policy analysis scholars have pushed to widen their approaches in terms of regime types. Another thread that also conceptually factors in the existence of different regime types is the research on decision units. Criticizing the dominant focus on democratic countries, the intention of the protagonists of this research field, Margaret and Charles Hermann, is to develop a framework that enables scholars to explore how foreign policy decisions are made in all types of countries (Hermann, 2001; Hermann & Hermann, 1989). They propose a classification into three types of decision units, namely predominant leaders, a single group, and a coalition of autonomous actors. A predominant leader would be a single individual leader who could make his decisions alone, if necessary; a single group encompasses a set of individuals, members of a single body who consult with each other; and finally the coalition consists of various actors (e.g., individuals, government representatives, agencies, interest groups, etc.) and no one by himself or herself has the ability to decide (Hermann, 2001, pp. 56–57). The examples Hermann provides for these types of decision units and their different decision making processes and also results refer to both democratic and autocratic regimes. A single group can be the Politburo of the Soviet Union as well as the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the United States. Although Hermann’s conclusion, that decision units involved in decision making shape the nature of the foreign policy and that the types of decision units makes a difference, is completely convincing, it leaves open the extent to which the structure of the regime type plays a role. The decision unit types may (or not) correlate with certain actors constellations, institutional settings, or logics of ruling in different regime types. Is the predominant leader a type that would mostly correspond to personalist autocrats like Franco? Or could this type also match a democratic regime? More questions arise regarding the arguments of the decision unit research: How does the presumption enter into this approach that domestic constraints on the decision making processes (civil society, interest groups, but also military in autocracies) display significant variation in different regime types? And how is the variation within the decision making units—depending on whether they are democratic or autocratic—taken into consideration?

A further example for the extension of a theoretical approach to nondemocratic regimes is made by Kinne (2005), who applies the poliheuristic theory of foreign policy to autocracies. Other important empirical testing of this theory, like that of Astorino-Courtois and Trusty (2000), does not consider the autocratic rule (here: of Syria) as variable or its implications at all. Kinne convincingly shows that a theoretical application of the poliheuristic theory for autocratic regimes is possible and meaningful. He also provides profound and differentiated findings about how foreign policy decision makers act in different autocratic subtypes (personalist, military and single party) and how actors and mechanisms vary across nondemocratic regimes.

This example leads to some interim conclusions: The more recent foreign policy studies contribute in a meaningful way to the liberal orientation in international relations always when studies have a strong theoretical basis or conceptualization and, consequently, when they integrate the regime type as an explanatory factor. As Kinne postulates, the analysis of autocratic foreign policy should not be an arbitrary exercise (Kinne, 2005, p. 126) but must take in to account in a systematic way the policy apparatus of nondemocratic regimes that function in a different way, that is, that the preferences and interests of autocratic leaders may be different and that institutional constraints and also impacts of societal actors differ from those of democratic regimes.

Democratic Peace Theory and Regime Type: What Democratic Peace Tells Us about Autocracies and War

The debate over the impact of regime type and foreign policy gained enormous momentum induced by the democratic peace theory, which yielded far-reaching normative grounds and opened the way for substantive empirical analysis. Additionally, the testing of the theory stimulated methodologically rich studies, namely mostly large-n studies. Eventually, the democratic peace theory offered the linking of the authoritative subdisciplines such as political philosophy and comparative politics.2 Hagan rightly emphasizes that the democratic peace theory and the inherent change that was stimulated therewith resulted from two innovations (Hagan, 2010, p. 6155). First and most important, the theoretical innovation by Michael Doyle’s seminal work (1983) presented a fresh perspective on Kant’s international liberalism. And second, the empirical innovation was made possible by new data sets such as the Correlates of War data as well as better technological possibilities for statistical analysis.

Based on this revitalized Kantian assumption, democratic peace research generated a rich body of empirical studies to test the theory. The findings support robustly—and here scholars are at near consensus—that democratically governed states rarely go to war with each other. This does not mean, however, that democracies are generally less engaged in violent conflicts; they are less warprone toward democracies but not toward autocracies. Moreover, scholars also found that autocracies are more peaceful toward one another than in mixed dyads (Oneal & Russett, 1997; Gleditsch & Hegre, 1997). Having sketched this basic and established knowledge, the possible causal factors of the democratic peace phenomenon become evident, and here different explanations are competing (Risse-Kappen, 1995; Leeds & Davis, 1999; Hagan, 2010, pp. 6156–6157).

A first cluster of arguments refers to a normative explanation arguing that democratic regimes externalize their norms in dealing with other national actors in world politics. As democracies base their internal functioning on regulated political competition, compromise solutions to political conflicts, and peaceful transfer of power, they favor the same norms and behavior in international politics (Dixon, 1993; Maoz & Russett, 1993; Russett, 1993). According to this argumentation, it is less so the institutional structure that constitutes a constraint for violent behavior in democracies, and more the norms and cultural perceptions, as well as practices. At the same time, however, Russett underlines that the cultural/normative and the structural/institutional explanations are not neatly separable as “institutions depend on norms and procedures” (Russett, 1993, p. 40).

Another cluster of theoretical explanations focuses on structural or institutional constraints that executives are confronted with; such constraints can result from politically relevant actors or from the public (Gaubatz, 1991; Morgan & Campbell, 1991; Bueno de Mesquita & Lalman, 1992). Here, the work of Bueno de Mesquita et al. offer a central point of reference (inter alia, Bueno de Mesquita, Morrow, Siverson, & Smith, 1999; Bueno de Mesquita, Smith, & Siverson, 2004). Their game-theoretical approach includes two main constraints for leaders: The winning coalition consists of the relevant supporters of the government without which the regime would not be able to survive, and the selectorate, for example, citizens that influence the selection of government leaders. All political leaders must satisfy a winning coalition to remain in power and it is the size of the winning coalition (large or small) that determines the conflict behavior of different regimes. As democratic states are assumed to have larger winning coalitions, they would choose wars more carefully and would try harder to win because they would be voted out of office if they were to fail. Autocratic states, having generally smaller winning coalitions, can choose to accept less favorable chances of victory because they may placate supporters with private goods. The latter assumption, however, implies that all authoritarian subtypes are similar regarding their winning coalition3 which limits the explanatory power of the “selectorate theory of war” as it cannot unravel why some autocracies are more belligerent (e.g., Weeks, 2014, p. 8). Thus, according to selectorate theory, the main difference between the logics of acting (be it the ruler or an insider of the winning coalition) is derived from the coalition size, assuming that all actors perceive the world in the same way, which may be too vague a premise. A further critique refers to the fact that selectorate theory explains how domestic institutions affect the decision to use force once the conflict has arisen, but does not refer to how the dispute develops or to how different regimes handle such conflict situations (see also Weeks, 2012, 2014).

A meaningful alternative explanation beyond these two strands is offered by the constructivist perspective of Risse-Kappen (1995), who holds that enmity or friendship in the international system are neither derived from inherent features of the international distribution of power (realism) nor from the domestic structures of a state as such (liberalism), but rather they are socially constructed. In that regard, intersubjective perceptions count as well as collective identification processes defining “in-group” and “out-group” (Risse-Kappen, 1995, pp. 502–506). The democratic character of one’s domestic structures leads to such a collective identification among actors of democratic states and the definition of an “in-group.” Among autocratic leaders, however, it would be rather unlikely that a similar collective identity and “sense of mutual responsiveness” could emerge as there is “nothing in their values that would prescribe mutual sympathy, trust and consideration” (Risse-Kappen, 1995, pp. 505–506). Therefore, cooperation among autocracies would arise out of narrowly defined self-interest. More recent developments in regional cooperation schemes such as ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América) initiated and pushed forward by the former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez indicate that autocratic regional protagonists or “authoritarian gravity centres” (Kneuer & Demmelhuber, 2016) are interested in creating, first, an environment of like-minded, authoritarian regimes, securing their own regime stability (self-interest), and also—in a broader sense—a regional stability where democratic ambitions in the neighborhood (for example upheavals, calls for higher human rights standards) can be pre-empted and thus precluded. At the same time, however, autocratic regimes may strive to construct a “regional regime identity” to legitimize their own regime satisfying domestic legitimacy claims as well as the ones in their environment. This regional regime identity—in this case the bolivarianismo—is deliberately propagated as a dualistic friend-foe mindset and a counter-model to the perceived hegemonic “Western” and liberal democratic model (Kneuer et al., 2016). Hence, the question as to whether autocratic regimes are not willing or able to establish cooperation needs further analysis; this also applies to the motives for possible cooperation. Autocratic cooperation may not be value-based (like presumably democratic cooperation), but there are good reasons to think that it can be driven by autocrats’ concerns of legitimizing their regime domestically and even be driven by the idea of constructing an identity of like-minded regimes.

After the first wave of statistical analysis testing the theorizing on democratic peace, a second generation of studies has emerged and is still being produced, connecting to the basic findings of democratic peace, but focusing on the international behavior of autocratic regimes. Thus, Peceny, Beer, and Sanchez-Terry (2002) undertake an important step in differentiating the residual category of authoritarian regimes according to Barbara Geddes’s (1999) typology in personalist dictatorships, single-party regimes, and military regimes and testing the conflict behavior of these authoritarian subtypes. Generally speaking, authoritarian regimes (very similar to democratic ones) are less likely to engage in militarized interstate disputes than are mixed dyads. Consequently, the separate peace among democracies is not as unique as thought. A further result is that different authoritarian subtypes show varying patterns of conflict behavior: Personalist and military regimes did not fight one another (between 1945 and 1994). Single-party regimes, in contrast, were involved in wars against each other during that period. The findings on this variation within autocratic regimes have been challenged by studies such as those of Lai and Slater (2006) and of Weeks (2012, 2014) which detect that military regimes are more belligerent than party regimes (or democracies). These authors base on a more refined typology that Geddes or the selectorate theory offers distinguishing regimes based on military or on party institutions with either personalist or collective decision making processes. Lai and Slater (2006) argue that, alongside the locus of decision making power, the infrastructural institutions have to be included. These institutions (military or party) do not only constitute restrictions to the rulers, as the selectorate theory assumes but, at the same time, the basis on which authoritarian rulers maintain social control and elite cohesion. Therefore, these institutions influence the conflict propensity inasmuch party institutions are more likely to ensure the tenure of a leader “because these organizations are more effective suppressors of both elite defection and mass mobilization” (Lai & Slater, 2006, p. 123) while military regimes lack the same level of control over masses and elites alike. Week, who equally dissents with selectorate theory, follows Lai’s and Slater’s typology and additionally focuses on the domestic audience (strong or weak) (Weeks, 2014, p. 6). She also finds that personalist leaders, be they civilian (“bosses”) or military (“strongmen”), are indeed more likely to initiate conflicts than nonpersonalist regimes with constrained leaders (“machines”), namely single-party regimes. The latter even are not more belligerent than democracies.4

Within this debate on autocracies and war, the theory of diversion was revitalized (Levy, 1989). This contested theorem, predominantly referring to democracies, found new attention and produced a small but interesting body of studies on diversion by autocratic regimes (Levy & Vakili, 1992; Miller, 1995; Gelpi, 1997; Lai & Slater, 2006; Pickering & Kisangani, 2010). In the context of theorizing on the link between regime type and war, the idea that rulers recur to conflictive international behavior to deflect the domestic audience from internal conflicts was transferred to autocratic regimes. The general intuition had been that autocratic regimes would have less need for such action because, different from democracies, they could use coercion to react to domestic unrest. But Levy and Vakili (1992) postulated not to dismiss so easily diversionary action for autocracies. Their theoretical argument emphasized two goals for diversionary action by autocrats: Increasing material resources to reward supporters of the regime (co-option) and increasing or at a minimum maintaining the acceptance by various societal groups (legitimacy) (Levy & Vakili, 1992, pp. 121–122). Other reasons could be the maintenance of the internal unity of the regime itself. The authors’ empirical study on the Falkland/Malvinas war initiative by the Argentine military junta that had been facing various domestic threats supported their argument. In a subsequent step, Pickering and Kisangani (2010) aimed to generate findings on different autocratic regime subtypes and their proneness to diversion: The results, however, did not give a clear picture. According their account, leaders in single-party regimes seem prone to using external military force when they face the type of domestic political challenge that most threatens their rule, namely rising levels of elite unrest. Notwithstanding, personalist and military regimes also use military force overseas when elite unrest increases. In a comparison between two personalist regimes (Spain and Portugal) and three cases of military rule (Greece, Argentine, and Chile), Kneuer (2013) found diversionary action in all military regimes (even if, in the case of the Beagle-Conflict between Chile and Argentine, the status of war was not reached) while neither Franco nor Salazar/Caetano followed such a pattern.5 This result supports the assumption that military regimes have more difficulty in gaining acceptance in the public and producing loyalty within the relevant regime supporters, and thus have more trouble generating legitimacy than personalist regimes, which can control society and elites by personalist (also affective) appeals as well as by more coherent, well defined missions.

The first and second generations of democratic peace studies highlight the variation among authoritarian subtypes in conflict initiation and conflict behavior. As Weeks (2012) points out, many authoritarian regimes may face powerful domestic audiences composed by strong regimes, elites. Therefore, future studies must consider the preferences of these actors (elites as well as domestic audiences). To trace the sources of these preferences, it makes sense to return to sociological or constructivist arguments (Weeks, 2012, p. 343), taking a closer look at the influential actors in the ruling elite, as well as other political and societal actors and their preferences. This postulate connects with methodological aspects. Studies of regime (sub)types and war mainly relied on quantitative analysis. The results, of course, very much depend on the conceptualization, typologies, statistical tools, and data sets. This can produce contradicting findings, as shown previously. Without understating the contribution of quantitative studies, to be meaningful for democratic peace theory there is also a need to dive deeper into thick comparative views. It is important to understand how conflictive behavior of autocratic rulers evolve and take shape. Does external aggression already belong to the foreign policy program of the governing elite when it comes to power? Does it develop as an option due to internal or external reasons? And do domestic and external factors interact and contribute? Another aspect relates to the findings on totalitarian foreign policy, namely the role of ideology in the formulation of aggressive foreign policy goals. Even if fully fledged ideologies have been in decline since 1989, nationalism and religious fundamentalism as mindsets have taken their place. Such ideational influences on the international behavior of state and also nonstate actors need deep analysis in case studies or small-n studies.

Comparative Politics And “New Autocracy Studies”

Coming from a completely different research direction, regime studies—although reluctantly—dedicated themselves to the international dimension or external factors primarily of democratization since the 1990s.6 The literature can be divided into four main bodies: (a) studies on contagion (diffusion effects), (b) imposition (regime change by military intervention/by force), (c) promotion of democracy, and (d) conditionality as a special case of democracy promotion especially referring to the European Community/European Union and its enlargement policy. The mixed record of democratization that became evident in the 2000s comprised, on the one hand, unsuccessful and paralyzed democratic consolidation with the result of hybrid or defective regimes and, on the other hand, autocratic resilience in some world regions (Middle East). Finally, there also loomed a new kind of autocratic regime that not only proved to be immune to a further dissemination of democracy, but rather displayed a considerable self-assertiveness in representing an alternative model (Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Vietnam, etc.). Those regimes clearly offered resistance to the global script of democracy that had been broadly formed in the international community during the 1990s. More than that, relevant autocratic regimes began to get active in antagonizing this so perceived hegemonic democratic model with their own alternative governance models (the managed democracy in Russia, the participatory democracy in Venezuela, etc.). Scholars in regime studies in consequence turned their attention to the phenomenon of “new authoritarianism” named “competitive” (Levitsky & Way, 2010) or “electoral” (Schedler, 2006). The main characteristic of these regimes consist in the existence of democratic institutions (including elections even if flawed) and competition. But this competition is unfair and incomplete, and the power balance and the horizontal accountability are clearly damaged in favor of the incumbents that concentrate power in their hands to the detriment of the legislative and the opposition. Less reluctantly than in the case of democratization, the new research on autocratic regimes also began to address the international dimension.

Foreign policy indeed seems to gain relevance as an additional instrument of autocratic power consolidation. The fact that autocracies may be geographically surrounded by “grey zone” regimes (neither fully consolidated democracies nor autocracies whose development, namely democratization or regression toward autocracy, remains undetermined) may motivate autocracies to prevent liberalization and progression toward democracy, and even to export their own autocratic governance model. Studies on the foreign policy of these authoritarian regimes are still very rare, but there are some quite promising approaches. One relates to the topic of promotion of autocracy. Analogously to the study of the promotion of democracy, authors for an impetus and strategies of promoting autocratic ideas, values, institutions, policies, etc. that autocratic leaders actively promote in other countries (Bader, Grävingholt, & Kästner, 2010; Burnell & Schlumberger, 2010; Burnell, 2011; Jackson, 2010; Vanderhill, 2013).

Although scholars can return to concepts of democracy promotion, the behavior of autocracies cannot be simply treated as the same phenomenon just going in another direction. A case can be made that the strategies of autocratic rulers rather can be understood “as reactions to the previously prevailing democracy promotion agenda, but not as its mirror image.” (Whitehead, 2014, p. 23). Authoritarian regimes after the end of the Cold War showed varying types of behavior such as resistance to democratic influence7 via assistance or promotion activities—be it state-run or by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—using concrete measures to insulate their countries from such influence (Gershman & Allen, 2006) and prevention of democracy. Autocratic sponsorship would be the intentional assistance to elite incumbents helping them resume or attain their power (Tansey, 2016a). Finally, the more narrowly defined intentional, actor-centered, and active autocratic promotion implies an export of an autocratic governance model, including a broad array of elements which can include institutional settings, procedures, policies, ideas or administrative techniques (Kneuer & Demmelhuber, 2016; Tansey, 2016a).

Defining the scope of what scholars understand by autocracy promotion still remains a task. Moreover, it is possible that an autocracy may use all of the methods described above, also in a sequenced manner. Russia, for example, very early started to block democracy promotion activities; after the Colored Revolutions one central aim became to prevent popular unrest, demonstrations by democratic groups and liberalization in general. In addition, Putin also supported other autocratic rulers such as the Belarussian President Lukaschenka or the Ukrainian President Yanukovych, whom he tried to keep in power with a broad array of means. And finally, Putin is not only interested in exporting certain procedures and practices (example given for electoral manipulation), but also a certain antiliberal mindset, which encompasses traditionalist, conservative values like family and homophobia, as well as anti-plural positions, e.g., in regard to media. Thus, respective laws and other administrative techniques (e.g., for media control) are “export goods” offered by autocratic rulers.

In the few existing studies, authors agree that autocracy promotion needs to fulfil at least three conditions: agency, intentionality, and an ideological motivation (Burnell, 2010; Tansey, 2016a, 2016b; Way, 2015). These requirements reflect the findings of democracy promotion studies: promotion is understood as direct, deliberate, and intentional activities to install and consolidate a certain regime. Tansey underlines the problems of defining autocracy promotion and therefore proposes a “strict definition” based on agency, intention and ideological motivation (Tansey, 2016a, 2016b, pp. 33–54). In fact, his parameters are neither so new (as they were already carved out in the context of democracy promotion) nor so strict. There arise some restrictions, however, in Tansey’s interpretation of these criteria. Thus, there is no doubt that for being categorized as autocracy promotion an actor has to have the intention of promoting a determined political model underpinned by a certain ideational or belief system. But of course, this primary intention can be accompanied by other goals, such as stabilizing the regional environment or additional trade advantages. Notably, democracy promotion has also gone and still goes together with different motives. The EU, for example, openly and deliberately combined democratization and regional stabilization in its Eastern enlargement strategy, and also clearly followed economic interests. Hence, ideational motives are not the sole basis both in democracy and autocracy promotion.

Another still unresolved aspect is the account of the dynamic development of foreign policy strategies of autocratic rulers that can depend on changed domestic conditions, changing interests or individual perceptions as well as on the development in their regional environment neighborhood. One major deficit in the studies so far is that they mostly speak of “bolstering” autocratic leaders; that means that the autocratic regime is assumed to already be installed and working. Autocratic rulers like Putin or Chávez, however, were/are surrounded by defective democracies which they addressed to export their autocratic governance models in those countries. These activities can include active influence before the like-minded regime is in power; Chávez, for example, supported Evo Morales in Bolivia already during his first electoral campaign and tried the same in Peru; and one of Putin’s instruments of autocracy promotion consists in strategy, instruments, and action plans for electoral manipulation to be applied in other countries in the near abroad (Marin, 2016). Autocracy promotion presumably targets not only the consolidation of already existing autocracies but also influencing hybrid regimes or defective democracies. Furthermore, the instruments of autocracy promotion are another blind spot. Here, more systematic empirical studies are needed regarding what and how potential autocratic promotors offer and export.

As several authors underline, one central difference between democracy and autocracy promoters is that the latter do not aspire to a global transformation toward autocracy (Burnell, 2011; Whitehead, 2014). Therefore, it makes sense to focus the regional context; Kneuer and Demmelhuber (2016; see also Kneuer et al., 2016) assume that it is the regional context in which on the one side autocratic actors can most effectively influence authoritarian structures, processes, etc., and on the other side where autocratic diffusion takes place. The authors suggest considering interactions on a regional level to capture (a) the motives as well as concrete measures for the promotion of external autocratic actors and (b) the diffusion pathways of autocratic elements that then are adopted by domestic actors.

Finally, important contributions to the new research of autocratic regimes stem from Comparative Area Studies or from area specialists. Scholars working on countries that attained new attention by being role models for the self-assertive international behavior—China, Russia, Venezuela, Iran—or on regions that show autocratic resilience (Middle East, Southern Eastern Asia, Africa) presented first empirical findings. Without doubt, the analysis of international behavior will constitute a critical topic for comparatists in the near future and more substantial work can be expected.

Lacuna, Desiderata, and the Need for Future Research

This overview leads to two main conclusions: First, as the research interest of foreign policy different from international relations always has been looking into the black box of the state, foreign policy analysis can contribute in a meaningful way to the analysis of authoritarian foreign policy. Even more, it is the appropriate subdiscipline for this endeavor. But, second, in terms of the analysis of authoritarian foreign policy and external behavior, the focus of foreign policy analysts on (a) the domestic realm and (b) relevant actors in decision making did not lead to a theorizing preoccupation with the regime type, as an independent variable for explaining foreign policy decisions before the 1990s. Desiderata are conceptual frameworks illuminating mainly the following theoretical conundrums: First, what influence do the regime type and its nature have on foreign-policy decision making? The challenge lies in differentiating not only in a dichotomous way democratic and autocratic regimes but also including those “grey zone” regimes like anocracies, hybrid regimes, defective democracies, and electoral or competitive authoritarian regimes. Second, unpacking the regime type, which means breaking down the regime type in its different features. Does the variation in institutional settings, leadership and their access to rule, their legitimation strategies, in the relationship between the leadership, relevant supporter groups and the public account for variation in foreign policy? To produce a conceptual framework knowledge of comparative politics and the study of regime type is needed. Therefore, a better bridging of foreign policy analysis and comparative politics remains a desideratum (this postulation is not new). And third, can variation (or not) of outcomes of foreign policy decision making be explained on the basis of regime types or regime subtypes? The research on conflict behavior is already quite elaborated but other subjects like promotion and cooperation of autocracies still need thorough study. After having focused intensively on the topics of autocratic war proneness, international relations, foreign policy analysis, and regime studies cannot provide many findings on other forms of external behavior of autocratic states so far. What about cooperation? Are autocratic regimes principally less interested in cooperation or less capable of setting up cooperation schemes? Or are the motivational basis for and the implementation of cooperation different to democracies?

Interestingly, one conclusion from the recent studies on conflict behavior of authoritarian regimes is the postulate to take closer look at the influential actors in the ruling elite, as well as other political and societal actors and their preferences (see Weeks, 2012). This postulate connects to methodological aspects. Studies of regime (sub)types and war mainly relied on quantitative analysis. The results, of course, very much depend on the conceptualization, typologies, statistical tools, and data sets. This can produce contradicting findings, as discussed previously. Without understating the contribution of quantitative studies, research in this field needs to be complemented by qualitative work in small comparative samples or medium-sized samples, for example, on the basis of qualitative comparative analysis. Large-n studies have proven to be meaningful for democratic peace theory, but there is also a need to dive deeper into thick comparative views. Foreign policy analysis provides a broad tool kit for such kind of analysis on leadership, its preferences, its belief systems, or its decision making patterns.

In the post-Cold War world with its multipolar structure, factors like legitimacy, acceptance or belief systems attain a different role. Autocracies can no longer rely on a powerful patron like the Soviet Union; they have to find acceptance in the international scenery. Acceptance continues to be a critical aspect. On the other hand, the Russian example proves that a new role (here, the loss of superpower status after 1991) can produce a severe external legitimacy deficit that the rulers tend to compensate for, also in a conflictive way. Future studies have to untangle this inner–outer interaction to answer many questions: How does the pressure of satisfy the quest for domestic legitimacy influences international behavior. Are domestic legitimacy deficits externalized, and if so, how? Do they fit into the concept of diversionary action? Which means of external legitimation strategies are aimed to be transferred into the domestic arena to generate legitimacy? Addressing the issue of legitimacy demands different theoretical approaches as well as different research designs more than rationalist quantitative studies. Constructivist approaches, discursive analyses, and small-n studies are appropriate for confronting this kind of puzzle.

An area that will demand closer inspection is the media in its various guises. Digital media must now be included in frameworks for domestic structures in terms of hybrid warfare, and the role of information and manipulated information distributed via social media to camouflage one’s own activities and mislead the enemy. False information (i.e., “fake news”) can have a significant impact on the international landscape just as the “leaking” or hacking of official sources. For example, tensions arose in 2015 between the United States and Germany in the tapping controversy involving the German Chancellor Angela Merkel by the U.S. National Security Agency.

There is still little theoretical and empirical knowledge about the mechanisms how domestic features translate into foreign policy. Again, the lack of any textbook of this kind underlines this lacuna. While area specialists had presented systematic work on totalitarian foreign policy, intense work on the foreign policy of the “new” autocracies after 1989 (with some exceptions like the study of Bader, 2015) is lacking. As those competitive or electoral authoritarian regimes display different institutional and procedural settings than, for example, the Cold War military or personalist regimes, it appears that foreign-policy decision making is different, that different institutional settings shape the decision making, that a different group of actors is relevant, and that different role conceptions of the country in the multipolar world play a role. But how can these potential differences be captured?

The relationship between regime type and foreign policy continues to be an underresearched field. Much more theoretical reflection is needed to understand not only the impact of domestic structures in terms of institutional settings but also the implications of potentially different ways of decision making in autocratic regimes, which cannot be separated from the motives and strategies of the rulers for their and the regime’s survival. Scholars of foreign policy analysis have to reflect on whether their frameworks are able to capture the specific conditions of foreign policy of authoritarian government structures and actor constellations, dealing with different motives and objectives, different interactions patterns, and decision making processes.

The task, therefore, remains to specify the independent variable, namely the regime type. International relations and foreign policy analysis should rely on comparative politics here, but at the same time be aware of the difficulties of typologies with only a small set of criteria (e.g., in the case of B. Geddes, access to rule). In fact, the analysis of the regime factor on foreign policy calls for breaking down the possible variance of international behavior due to autocratic subtypes. The scrutiny of autocratic foreign policy implies unpacking the concept of autocracy.


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                                                                                                                                                                                (1.) Her own recent study (together with Dustin Tingley) is guided by such theoretical goals considering central domestic sources of U.S. foreign policy such as interactions between the executive (President), legislative (Congress), interest groups, bureaucratic institutions, and the public (Milner & Tingley, 2016).

                                                                                                                                                                                (2.) Hill critically states that the democratic peace theory strangely has not attracted many foreign policy analysts, “despite the fact that the problem of the extent to which the internal nature of a state determines foreign policy is a central problem for FPA” (Hill, 2013, p. 244).

                                                                                                                                                                                (3.) Bueno de Mesquita, Morrow, Siverson, and Smith (1999, p. 793) state that in monarchies and military juntas the winning coalitions are small, and that in “some authoritarian states” (most probably referring to one-party states) while the selectorate differs, the winning coalition is always small.

                                                                                                                                                                                (4.) These findings also contradict selectorate theory and lead Weeks to not support the view that democracies in general are more selective about initiating international conflict than nondemocracies.

                                                                                                                                                                                (5.) The Colonial wars of Portugal cannot be counted as diversionary action.

                                                                                                                                                                                (6.) Protagonists in the theorizing on the international dimension of democratization are Laurence Whitehead and Geoffrey Pridham; Peter Burnell and Thomas Carothers on democracy promotion.

                                                                                                                                                                                (7.) Burnell calls it “anti-assistance” or “counter-promotion” (2011, p. 232), Whitehead (2014) “anti-democratic promotion.”