State Preferences, Viable Alternatives, and Covert Action

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2020

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Abstract

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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Citation

Roberts, Jordan P (2020). State Preferences, Viable Alternatives, and Covert Action. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/21020.

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