UCD John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies 
UCD John Hume Institute for Global Irish StudiesUCD Crest


“Twentieth Century American Involvement in Foreign Ethnic Conflict: Inconsistent Interventions or Patterned Policies?”

Supervied by: Jennifer todd

Overview of Project
Following World War II, the United States of America emerged as a global economic, political and military powerhouse. One avenue through which the USA asserted its power was a willingness to intervene in the internal ethnic conflicts of other sovereign states. Yet, despite being actively involved in a number of foreign internal conflicts throughout the last sixty years, the degree to which the USA maintained involvement within these ethnic conflicts has varied greatly from conflict to conflict, decade to decade, via the president in office and within each specific struggle.

Thus, the goal of this research project is to determine why and how the strength, intensity and level of American involvement within foreign ethnic conflicts has varied greatly throughout the latter half of the twentieth century. This project will utilize methodological comparisons between six case studies including Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Macedonia, Rwanda, Guatemala and Israel-Palestine, hoping to isolate the factors that drive the executive level’s willingness to increase or decrease US involvement and alter foreign policies in regards to each case. These specific ethnic conflicts have been chosen for their similar timeframe of conflict outbreak, ethnic tensions, a comparable length of US involvement, as well as for their notable differences in US interests, US domestic ethnic ties, geographic location and conflict intensity. The six case studies will be compared for shifting levels of US involvement intensity and US dedication to conflict resolution, both within their own conflict and against the other cases, ultimately aiming to determine if it is possible to read across conflicts in order to make predictions, comparisons and conclusions about what drives unbalanced American foreign policies, intervention inconsistencies and executive level involvement variations within foreign ethnic conflicts.