By David P. Auerswald
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Additional info for Disarmed Democracies: Domestic Institutions and the Use of Force
Sometimes it is so intended and constitutes a deliberate tactic; in other cases the act or the issue develops an unintended symbolic signi‹cance. Executives have to worry that legislative attempts to overturn executive policies could serve as such a focal point. They are domestically costly and thus credible (Spence 1973) and can cut through the background noise of normal diplomatic relations (Wohlstetter 1962). An international opponent might base its behavior on these obvious domestic cues. Executives confronted by powerful legislatures face these potentially dangerous circumstances.
For instance, the executive may be able to declare a national emergency or dissolve the legislature by decree, preventing it from taking action. The latter allows the executive to use force even when confronted by legislative opposition. An example might be a president vetoing a bill mandating sanctions instead of military combat. Executives possessing all three components of the agenda control ideal type have total agenda control. These executives possess a veto over the use of force, initiation power to use force, and a veto over alternatives to military force.
S. presidents to neutralize congressional opponents and shift agenda control back in the executive’s favor. President Reagan’s appeals for aid to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels show an executive capitalizing on a divided legislature to cement short-term control of con›ict policy. Hypothesis (3c): If the legislature can overturn or hinder the executive’s use of force but is extremely divided, then the executive will be less reluctant to use force than he might otherwise be. S. behavior highlights the logic behind hypothesis (3c).