Monica Toft in The National Interest — Why is America Addicted to Foreign Interventions?

February 22, 2018

The United States engaged in forty-six military interventions from 1948–1991, from 1992–2017 that number increased fourfold to 188.


At a time when the United States is preparing to increase Pentagon spending and escalate troop deployments overseas, an analysis of U.S. military interventions since the country’s founding highlights two important and related dynamics.

First, the empirical distribution of military interventions––that is, the deployment of U.S. armed forces to other countries––is not evenly distributed; and in fact is highly skewed, in terms of frequency, to favor the historical period following the end of the Cold War (1991).

Second, U.S. military interventions since WWII have only rarely achieved their intended political objectives. That is, the United States has lost more than won; and when it has “won,” it has generally won at a cost far in excess of what would have been considered reasonable prior to the intervention.

This leads to an important puzzle: if U.S. military interventions are failing more often, what accounts for the dramatic increase in their use since 1991? READ MORE

Leave a Reply

Disclaimer | Non-Discrimination | Privacy | Terms for Creating and Maintaining Sites