U.S. Policy Responses to Potential Transitions
March 7, 2013
Every three weeks, a major political crisis begins somewhere in the world. The United States intervenes in less than a fifth of them. But that is still a new U.S. intervention about every two months. And almost all of them are civilian interventions; less than a third involve the military.
CSIS has released a new dataset of “potential transitions” worldwide, covering responses to 758 political crises between 1989 and 2010, including 134 civilian and military interventions. The report describes the dataset and presents the results of the initial analysis. Its recommendations focus on the disconnect between the high demand for civilian power and the support civilian institutions have for responding to such crises, and on the importance of caution and moderation when deciding whether and how to intervene.