The US Congress and United Nations peace-enforcement operations during the first Clinton administration
This thesis explores Congress's influence on America's post-cold war involvement in UN peace operations. It examines how while both the Bush and Clinton administrations envisaged greater participation in UN peace-enforcement operations in the early 1990s, due to congressional opposition, this new thinking (referred to throughout as `UNPE') did not develop into a lasting doctrine. The first chapter defines UNPE as a foreign policy approach and contextualises it in US history. Arguing that Congress is not deferential towards the executive branch in foreign policy issues, the second chapter illustrates statistically that the post-1989 Congress was conservative, partisan and assertive in foreign policy and use of force issues. The third chapter considers how lawmakers create collective outcomes. It discusses how the case chapters will examine claims that congressional policy is left to a handful of policy specialists and what factors influence lawmakers' voting decisions. Considering both institutional and individual behaviour, the thesis focuses analysis on the US response to three 1990s crises: Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia. That each case demonstrates that lawmakers are prepared to challenge presidential attempts to use force abroad is used to question the two presidencies interpretation of interbranch foreign policy making. The case chapters also find that most lawmakers were not especially active in dealing with the cases. Rank and file members were typically more active than their party leaders, but House and Senate foreign policy committee members were responsible for the more onerous legislative tasks relating to the cases. The evidence also suggests that representatives typically supported bills introduced by party colleagues and senators with similar ideological viewpoints tended to vote together. In explaining how collective outcomes are reached, the thesis avoids attempting to construct a theoretical perspective that exclusively aligns with a party or committee government theory. It explores what role foreign policy committees and party leaders and whips played in the cases, and concludes that Shepsle and Weingast's recommendation that selecting insights from seemingly incompatible party government and informational perspectives helps build a realistic depiction of the congressional decision making process.