Foulweather Friends: Violence and Third-Party Support in Self-Determination Conflicts
41 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2018 Last revised: 14 Feb 2019
Date Written: April 10, 2018
This paper investigates how violence in self-determination conflicts influences bilateral foreign policy. I argue that a general preference for international stability causes third parties to support rebel groups when violence reaches high levels, when they gain territorial control, and when major powers officially recognize. In these conditions, third parties perceive a new status quo to be nigh: unrecognized statehood. Ongoing instability encourages foreign policy that encourages the development of the proto-state, even when third parties have no intention of legally recognizing. Importantly, I also show that targeting of civilians erodes third-party support of the perpetrating side. I demonstrate these relationships using a latent variable model of support for separatists, built on bilateral military, diplomatic, and economic exchange data. Notably, my measure is also unaffected by third-party concern for setting counterproductive precedent towards self-determination movements, an issue known throughout the literature on legal recognition.
Keywords: secession, self-determination, separatism, civil war, sovereignty, foreign policy, intervention, rebel diplomacy, rebel governance, legitimacy, latent variable model
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