Northwestern Events Calendar


International Relations Speaker Series: Sarah Kreps, "Purely Partisan Warriors? A Study of Legislative Rhetoric in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars"

When: Friday, January 17, 2020
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, 201 (Ripton), 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Stephen Monteiro   (847) 491-7451

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Please join the International Relations Speaker Series for a session with Sarah Kreps, Professor of Government and Adjunct Professor of Law at Cornell University, on "Purely Partisan Warriors? A Study of Legislative Rhetoric in the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars "


In this research, we subject legislative position-taking to both theoretical and empirical scrutiny.  That legislators take foreign policy positions primarily on the basis of partisanship echoes research on the use of force emphasizing the primacy of partisan forces in driving legislative pushback against and political checks on the commander in chief (e.g. Howell and Pevehouse 2005, 2007).  Yet the focus on partisanship gives short shrift to other factors traditionally held to influence legislative behavior that might also guide members’ public position-taking in the international arena. Members of Congress might also be driven by ideological loyalty. In the context of military force, hawks would generally favor more aggressive postures than doves. Commitment to ideology would suggest that legislators’ positions on the use of force would transcend party, in which case doves, more likely to be Democrats, would continue to challenge a co-partisan who proposed the use of force, and hawks, more likely to be Republicans, would be willing to grant their opponent a foreign policy victory to maintain policy consistency (Hollis and Smith 1986, 27; Kreps et al 2018; Schultz 2005).  If this dynamic holds, congressional checks may not disappear in unified government – but they may arise primarily in Democratic administrations.



Dr. Kreps is the author of four books, including, most recently, Taxing Wars: The American Way of War Finance and the Decline of Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2018), which deals with the causes and consequences of how advanced industrialized democracies such as the US, UK, and France pay for its wars.  She has also written two books on drones, including Drones: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press, 2016) and Drone Warfare (Polity Press, 2014; with John Kaag).  Her first book was called Coalitions of Convenience: United States Military Interventions after the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2011) and analyzed military interventions carried out over the last decade.

Dr. Kreps has held fellowships at the Council on Foreign Relations (and is a life member), Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs. She has a BA from Harvard, MSc from Oxford, and PhD from Georgetown. Between 1999-2003, she served on active duty in the United States Air Force.

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