Working Papers

Local Partners for Local Problems: When Does Foreign Intervention Trigger Local Blowback? (under review)

Under what conditions does foreign intervention trigger blowback in the target state? Despite doctrinal shifts in the way great powers approach external statebuilding, the risk of blowback — or the negative, unintended consequences of military intervention against foreign regimes — remains a chief concern for foreign policy elites. This paper provides conceptual clarification to the logic of blowback by outlining a theory through which foreign intervention triggers local retaliation against the incumbent regime and its foreign patrons. It tests the theory’s hypotheses on original survey data from Baghdad, Iraq. I find that popular support for the anti-ISIS coalition is a function of the interactive relationships between foreign patrons, local clients, and specific forms of security assistance. Contrary to what the logic of blowback would suggest, more "invasive" forms of intervention — including airpower and the presence of foreign combat troops — do not alienate local civilians if foreign assets work in support of local combatants who enjoy ex ante support. 

Choosing Sides: Recruitment Patterns of Pro-Regime Combatants in Civil War (with Matthew Nanes)

In civil wars, why do individuals join pro-government militias rather than official state security forces? States frequently delegate some portion of their monopoly on violence to unofficial militias which operate outside the state’s chain of command but fight against the same opponents. Individuals who wish to participate in hostilities must choose not only on which side of the conflict to fight but also with which force to fight. Given that a combatant sides with the regime, why would he not join the state security forces (SSF)? We argue that the decision depends on an individual’s reasons for fighting. Individuals motivated by the outcome of the conflict and survival of the incumbent regime will join the SSF, while those seeking to profit from the fighting itself will join a pro-government militia (PGM). We test this argument using a survey of approximately 3,000 police officers and pro-government militia members in Iraq.


Peer-Reviewed Articles

Rosenberg, Andrew S., Knuppe, Austin J., and Bear F. Braumoeller “Unifying the Study of Asymmetric Hypotheses,” Political Analysis, Volume 25, Issue 3 (July 2017): 381-401, DOI: 10.1057/pan.2017.16

Wu, Joshua Su-Ya and Austin J. Knuppe, “My Brother’s Keeper: Religious Cues and Support for Foreign Military Intervention,” Politics and Religion, Volume 9, Issue 3 (September 2016): 537-565, DOI: 10.1017/S1755048316000390

Knuppe, Austin J., “Handcuffing the hegemon: the paradox of state power under unipolarity,” International Politics Reviews, Volume 2, Issue 2 (October 2014): 61-71, DOI: 10.1057/ipr.2014.22


Non Peer-Reviewed Work

Oliver, Timothy L. and Austin J. Knuppe, “Britain’s Strategic Culture in Context: A Typology of National Security Strategies,” in British Foreign Policy and the National Interest: Identity, Strategy and Security, ed. Timothy Edmund, Jamie Gaskarth, and Robin Porter (London: Palgrave MacMillian, 2014), DOI:10.1057/ 9781137392350_12