U.S. Policy Responses to Potential Transitions

Data and analysis on U.S. and international responses to protests, conflicts, and coups since 1989.

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. Under what circumstances does the United States decide to intervene? How does it intervene when it wants to influence events? The Program on Crisis, Conflict, and Cooperation (C3) collects and analyzes data to answer these questions.

  • U.S. Policy Responses to Potential Transitions: A New Dataset of Political Protests, Conflicts, and Coups, describes the dataset, reports initial findings about patterns of U.S. intervention, and offers a framework for making decisions about whether and how to intervene in foreign crises.
  • The CSIS Potential Transitions Dataset v1.0 (1989-2010) focuses specifically on U.S. responses to these crises. Access to the full dataset may be requested using the form below. As funding becomes available, future editions will include major crises in the 2011-2013 period; new variables for civilian and military interventions by other countries (e.g., France, Germany, Iran, UK) and multilateral organizations (e.g., UN, NATO, AU, GCC); and new variables describing more features of each crisis.