The Effect of Domestic and Foreign Pressure on Israeli Decisions to Use Limited Military Force

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The influence of domestic politics on international relations is a very popular theme in US foreign policy analysis. Numerous studies have demonstrated that presidents sometimes tried to improve their public ratings by adopting populist militant foreign policies. The question is whether such behavior is characteristic of democracies in general, or limited to the United States. While there is no reason to assume that in other democracies, or even non-democratic regimes, aggressive actions against a foreign threat will likewise receive popular support, other states that lack superpower capabilities do not have as much freedom of action as the United States. Smaller states must be more cautious in their behavior, since they are more susceptible to foreign pressure than the United States. This argument is illustrated by analyzing patterns of Israeli limited military actions against its neighbors between 1950 and 1982, which reveals that despite popular demands within the Israeli parliament to pursue more militant policies, the government tended to restrain its actions when faced with foreign pressure from the United States, Great Britain, and the United Nations Security Council.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)677-694
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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