Synopses & Reviews
The very existence of diversionary wars is hotly contested in the press and among political scientists. Yet no book has so far tackled the key questions of whether leaders deliberately provoke conflicts abroad to distract the public from problems at home, or whether such gambles offer a more effective response to domestic discontent than appeasing opposition groups with political or economic concessions.
Diversionary War addresses these questions by reinterpreting key historical examples of diversionary warsuch as Argentina's 1982 Falklands Islands invasion and U.S. President James Buchanan's decision to send troops to Mormon Utah in 1857. It breaks new ground by demonstrating that the use of diversionary tactics is, at best, an ineffectual strategy for managing civil unrest, and draws important conclusions for policymakersidentifying several new, and sometimes counterintuitive, avenues by which embattled states can be pushed toward adopting alternative political, social, or economic strategies for managing domestic unrest.
Diversionary War investigates whether leaders use military adventure to distract the public from domestic problems and, if so, whether such gambles pay off.
About the Author
Amy Oakes is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the College of William and Mary. In 2009-2010, she was a research fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.