State Preferences, Viable Alternatives, and Covert Action
This dissertation seeks to build a model of when and where the United States
engaged in covert action during the Cold War. This study introduces novel data on
American covert action during the cold war, as well as new data on the presence of
viable alternative (VA) governments throughout the Cold War. It describes the
distribution of both these phenomenon across both space and time, and tests an
argument about where the U.S. chose to employ covert action during the Cold War. The
statistical results show that the U.S. was likely to employ covert regime change against
potential targets aligned against the U.S.-led order in which there was a viable
alternative government for the U.S. to partner with. The U.S. was likely to engage in
covert regime maintenance to prop up states aligned with with U.S.-led order in which
there was a viable alternative government the U.S. desired to keep out of the power.
Finally, subversion was most probable against targets who stood against the U.S. order,
but in which there was no viable opposition for the U.S. to partner with.
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