Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science


Political Science

First Advisor

Ellen B. Pirro

Second Advisor

Richard Mansbach


Despite the large body of literature produced by researchers attentive to the subjects of military intervention and the historical period known as the Cold War, little attention has been given to the effect that the tensions that existed during this time period on a global scale had on military interventions. Why have previous scholars missed this and why is it important? The body of existing literature looks at the effect the Cold War had on individual countries and examines individual conflicts, but overall trends are not examined in depth. This thesis proposes some theoretical propositions based on realist and constructivist literature, to explain why proxy conflicts (military interventions perpetrated on any state excluding the rival state) would decrease after the Cold War. This document examines this effect using the two most historically prolific military interveners of the time period, the United States of America and the Soviet Union/Russia, as proxies for the overall effect that the Cold War had on the global system with respect to military interventions. This thesis approaches the topic utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods. Qualitatively, it uses a case study of both states’ interventions in Afghanistan, one before and one after the Cold War. The case study found that, though there were small distinctions, there was no substantive difference in intervention before and after the Cold War. Quantitatively, this document utilizes data from the International Military Intervention Dataset to examine statistically the effect the Cold War had on the rate of military interventions during the identified time period. It found that, contrary to expectations, there was a constraining effect with respect to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It also found that in general, regardless of the time frame, the United States was a more interventionist state.


Copyright Owner

Johnathan Robert Vonderhaar



File Format


File Size

62 pages