Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Political Science

First Advisor

Kadera, Kelly M.

First Committee Member

Lai, Brian

Second Committee Member

Mitchell, Sara McLaughlin

Third Committee Member

Thies, Cameron G.

Fourth Committee Member

Kim, Jae-On


Why do third-party interventions in civil wars sometimes positively contribute to fast conflict resolutions and post-war development and sometimes backfire? To solve this puzzle, I present a conceptual framework that links the motives and methods of intervention to civil war outcomes and post-war development. Two contrasting motives, self-interest and humanitarian concerns, lead to different intervention types. Self-interest prompts states to undertake unilateral and biased intervention. Humanitarian concerns encourage states to engage in multilateral intervention through the UN with a biased position. Interveners are more prudent in the use of force. They resort to violent methods only when critical security interests are at stake or when extreme humanitarian disasters occur.

The method of intervention reflects interveners' motives and significantly influences civil war processes and post-war development. The effects of intervention on civil war duration and outcome, however, tend to be inconsistent with interveners' intentions. I find no empirical evidence that external intervention is likely to make civil war shorter. Whether interveners are motivated by humanitarian concerns or self-interest, they tend to fail to achieve their best outcome: a faster victory for their protégé or a faster negotiated settlement. Instead, biased interveners succeed in retarding military victory by their protégé's rival. Neutral interveners play a role in delaying time until government victory, regardless of their intention.

The effects of intervention on post-war development are somewhat consistent with interveners' intention. Multilateral intervention motivated by humanitarian concerns tends to promote post-war well-being by increasing resources available for post-war reconstruction. On the other hand, unilateral intervention tends to impede the improvement of post-war quality of life. The use of force also has negative impacts on post-war development. The reason is that those interventions pursing self-interest produce a less-respondent government and reduce available resources. Military victory is more likely to improve post-war quality of life than is a negotiated settlement. However, the positive effects of military victory are realized only when a group wins a victory without biased support from foreign powers. I find that multilateral intervention using nonviolent methods and having an unbiased stance may be the best way for the international community to help post-war development.


Civil War, Post-War Development, Third-Party Intervention


viii, 212 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 198-212).


Copyright 2012 Sang Ki Kim