First Advisor

Gary Scott

Term of Graduation

Spring 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Political Science


Political Science




Intervention (International law), Civil war



Physical Description

1 online resource (137 pages)


There is a longstanding debate in the international relations discipline over the relative influence of self-interest and norms on the behavior of states. This study will seek to contribute to this debate by investigating what motivates states to engage in a specific type of behavior, which I will call collective intervention. The multinational operations, which have attempted to resolve internal conflict in places like the Congo, Lebanon, El Salvador, Cambodia, Somalia and Bosnia, are the result of this behavior. Dozens of states, of diverse economic standing, military capability, geographic region, and political ideology have participated in these operations. This study simply asks why. Thus, its thesis question can be formulated as follows: why have states consistently initiated, and participated in, collective interventions with the goal of resolving internal conflict? The study will analyze two answers to the thesis question. The first relies exclusively on the concept of self-interest. States participate in interventions because it is in their interest to do so. A defender of the second answer would admit that self-interest influences states, but would argue that certain international norms must be included in order to produce a complete explanation. Thus, states support interventions, at least in part, to uphold certain social norms of acceptable behavior. Through an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of these positions m accounting for the behavior patterns present m the issue-area of collective intervention, the study will argue that the second answer is the stronger. Thus, it will conclude that at least within the issue-area of collective intervention, norms are a significant influence on state behavior.


In Copyright. URI:

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Persistent Identifier