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Jonathan D. Caverley

Jonathan D. Caverley

Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2007-2008

 

Experience

Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2007-2008

Current Affiliation: Research Fellow, Dept. of Political Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

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By Date

 

2010

Winter 2010/11

"Explaining U.S. Military Strategy in Vietnam: Thinking Clearly about Causation"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 3, volume 35

By Jonathan D. Caverley, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2007-2008

Cost distribution theory suggests that the costs to the median voter in a democracy of fighting an insurgency with firepower are relatively low compared to a more labor-intensive approach. Therefore, this voter will favor a capital intensive counterinsurgency campaign despite the resulting diminished prospects of victory. Primary and secondary sources show that President Lyndon Johnson and his civilian aides were very much aware that, although they considered a main force-focused and firepower-intensive strategy to be largely ineffective against the insurgency in South Vietnam, it was politically more popular in the United States.

THE FULL TEXT OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE HERE UNTIL FEBRUARY 15.

 

 

Winter 2009/10

"The Myth of Military Myopia: Democracy, Small Wars, and Vietnam"

Journal Article, International Security, issue 3, volume 34

By Jonathan D. Caverley, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2007-2008

The problems of fighting an insurgency with a firepower- and capital-intensive strategy are well known, yet democracies have failed to adopt more effective strategies. Scholars have identified military bureaucracy and culture to explain this tendency, but it can also be attributed to a desire to shift the cost of war away from the less-wealthy voter, who is more apt to support less-effective, but less labor-intensive strategies, if they lower the cost of fighting. This theory explains Lyndon Johnson's decision to pursue a suboptimal counterinsurgency strategy in the Vietnam War.

 

 

2007

AP Photo

October-December 2007

"United States Hegemony and the New Economics of Defense"

Journal Article, Security Studies, issue 4, volume 16

By Jonathan D. Caverley, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 2007-2008

This paper proposes an alternate theory of technological hegemony that explains the U.S. policy of massive R&D investment in both the late Cold War and the current era of American preponderance. Modern weapons' complexity and economies of scale tend to produce monopolies, and the value chain for the production of these monopolistic goods is dominated by the systems integration techniques of prime contracting firms. In turn these prime contractors remain largely enthralled by U.S. market power. The United States gains international influence by controlling the distribution of these weapons. Put simply, technology with international political effects is likely to have international political origins.

 

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