31 Οκτωβρίου 2015

An Agent-Based Model of the Acquisition of U.S. Client States - Part I.


Προτού περάσουμε στο πρώτο μέρος της μελέτης των Stephen Majeski (University of Washington) και David Sylvan (Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva) με θέμα «An Agent-Based Model of the Acquisition of U.S. Client States» προηγείται μια σύντομη περιγραφή της έννοιας client-state (κράτος-πελάτης) και της σχέσης του με τον πάτρωνα (patron state) [και μια συμπληρωματική αναφορά στην έννοια του «προτεκτοράτου», η οποία αν και ξεπερασμένη έχει την αξία της]. H περιγραφή είναι από το έργο Guide to International Relations and Diplomacy:

A client state is country that is economically, politically, and/or militarily dependent upon another state - usually a great power. The relationship is a bilateral, and normally beneficial one, with mutual, although different, obligations. The client state tends to be one that is diplomatically isolated, if not an actual 'pariah state', due to its policies or the circumstances of its creation. It is often militarily powerful but economically weak.

Contemporary examples of client states during the Cold War were Israel and South Korea for the United States, and Syria, Iraq, Libya and Ethiopia for the Soviet Union. But client states are not a phenomenon exclusive to the twentieth century. Nineteenth-century Europe saw the Balkan states, for example, as clients of the great powers.

The patron supplies the client with arms and uses its influence and veto on the client's behalf in the United Nations and other international organizations in exchange for the client's military and intelligence services. Thus both Israel and Syria provided their respective patrons with captured weapons, intelligence about the activities of the rival superpower in the region and access to port facilities and airfields. The client is not, however, the patron's puppet... The client is able to exercise this independence because of its regional importance as a Trojan Horse for its patron or because of support for it within the domestic political structure of the patron state.

Both superpowers (the USA and the USSR) found clients among states that were considered part of the 'periphery' in regional sub-systems due to their ethnic and historical differences from the majority of states in the region. Other states became clients when the circumstances of their creation led them to become diplomatically isolated in the international community. Often a state becomes a client because it is the enemy of the rival patron's client... However, because they had invested so much in a client, the super-power patrons were loath to terminate the relationship. They also feared that if too much was required of the client, it would attempt to seek another patron, as did Egypt in 1974-1975 and Somalia in 1977.

The United States has traditionally feared the loss of a client due to a military coup or a popular revolt overthrowing a ruler rather than due to a ruler seeking a change of patron.

Protectorates are dependent or not fully sovereign states. Because they were often deemed too weak and lacking in organizational structure to be responsible for meeting their external obligations under international law, they were legally restricted. The territorial integrity of a protectorate was guaranteed under a treaty negotiated with the protecting power. In most cases, these territories were being 'protected' from other great powers, to the benefit of the 'protecting power'. Very often, the 'protected' state formed an important link in an imperial chain, had geostrategic value and provided financial and trade benefits, allowing the great power a way of protecting its empire more economically than outright annexation or colonization would permit. Indigenous dynastic interests were generally guaranteed domestically, but external action was severely circumscribed... Attempts to establish joint protectorate control over Morocco and Ethiopia were examples of semi-protectorates, sometimes called international protectorates... Protecting powers were few in number. The imperial powers of Britain, France, Russia and the United States shared a near-monopoly in the field. A new type of subservient state came into existence in Eastern Europe under Soviet communist control after the Second World War. Essentially tie facto protectorates, they were legally independent of external control and were called 'satellites'... Partly to block the resurgence of protectorates, the United Nations Charter provides for the right of self-determination for all peoples, and a General Assembly resolution of 1960 called for the independence of all territories and the end of colonialism.

Η Hellenic Republic αποτελεί περίπτωση υποχωρητικού, υποτακτικού και μη διεκδικητικού client state το οποίο κατά περιόδους υποτροπιάζει σε χειρότερες μορφές. Την περίοδο που διανύουμε παρατηρείται η παρακμή ή η αυτονόμηση των πελατειακών κρατών ή κρατών-πελατών των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών. Το Ισραήλ, η Τουρκία και η Σαουδική Αραβία αποτελούν χαρακτηριστικές περιπτώσεις πελατειακών κρατών που αυτονομούνται ή προσπαθούν να αυτονομηθούν (και να κερδίσουν βαθμούς ελευθερίας) από τον πάτρωνα τους. Η Ελλάδα αποτελεί περίπτωση πελατειακού κράτους που παρακμάζει. Το Ιράκ, η Βοσνία-Ερζεγοβίνη και η Συρία αποτελούν περιπτώσεις κρατών-πελατών που διαλύονται (αργά ή γρήγορα, ενδογενώς ή εξωγενώς). Η Σιγκαπούρη και η Νορβηγία αποτελούν περιπτώσεις πρώην πελατειακών κρατών που αναβαθμίστηκαν στο status του κυρίαρχου κράτους.

Είτε θα γίνεις κυρίαρχο κράτος (και όχι subordinate σε υπερεθνικούς παράγοντες) είτε η μοίρα σου θα είναι η λιβανοποίηση, βοσνιοποίηση, φινλανδοποίηση, πορτορικανοποίηση σου (στο πιο «ευρωπαικό» και μεταμοντέρνο).

David Sylvan
Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva

Stephen Majeski
University of Washington

Paper prepared for presentation at the 44th Annual Convention of the International Studies. Association, Portland, February 25 - March 1, 2003


United States foreign policy in the twentieth century has arguably been built around the creation and protection of client states. This tendency both antedates the cold war and continues after its end. We lay out the elements of a theory of U.S. client state acquisition (for the entire period from 1898 to the present) based on two motives, each with several associated mechanisms: helping “endangered” states from “enemies” in the region; and “getting one’s ducks in a row” to prepare a war or set up alignments to ward off a new one. In both cases, client status is consensually arranged between the U.S. and the client; ceiling and diffusion effects may also enter into client acquisition. These mechanisms are then modelled using simulation; the model contains certain agent-based elements. Preliminary analysis of the model indicates that 1) the model generates fairly stable results; 2) it tracks the historical cycles in US client acquisition (periodic spikes) fairly well though it systematically under represents the number of clients that the US accumulates.


In a series of papers, we have argued that one of the fundamental components of U.S. foreign policy for over a century has been the acquisition and protection of client states. United States security and well-being is seen as revolving around the maintenance of particular regime types in various states; and from time to time, U.S. officials have felt it important to take on (but not, apparently, to discard) additional clients. This policy, moreover, has been largely unchanged since the U.S. first began to expand overseas. Of course, the mechanisms of U.S. client maintenance are considerably more sophisticated now than they earlier were, and the U.S. reach is now global in a way that might have been seen as exaggerated in earlier, supposedly isolationist periods. By the same token, the U.S. has in the last century gone through at least three major eras, with the Cold War as demarcator. Nonetheless, we would argue that the continuities of U.S. policy, as regards the acquisition and protection of clients, far outweigh the historical differences.

In making this claim, we have for the most part been focusing more on the maintenance of client states than on their acquisition in the first place. Thus, the U.S. reacts toward its clients in remarkably similar ways, no matter whether we are talking about Santo Domingo in 1903 or Bosnia in 1995. For example, when a client is in trouble -- say from domestic opposition seen as likely to endanger the regime type -- the U.S. will predictably opt for an escalation ladder, involving increasingly “noisy” means (whether by itself or via proxies), each taken over from tasks the client is deemed as unable to accomplish. Such means of protecting clients, we have argued, stem to a considerable degree from micro-processes of how U.S. foreign policy recommendations are put together, chosen among, and called into question. Those microprocesses are discernible over decades, and we see no sign of changes in either them or the policies they generate.

However, the fact that client states are maintained in the same way now as in the past tells us little about why they became client states to begin with. If clients were never, to paraphrase the famous phrase about the British Empire, acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness, the circumstances of their acquisition vary considerably. Some were swept up in en bloc, as part of a general policy of alliance-construction; others, gradually and with considerable trepidation, as the least bad way of responding to particular, highly specific dangers. We have shown elsewhere how much the process of client acquisition depends on the client’s being seen as having clearly demarcated place characteristics; but those characteristics, in turn, can be highly varied.

The issue, then, is whether it is possible to come up with one or more mechanisms of client state acquisition capable of accounting for the apparently broad range of U.S. motives over the last century. This paper puts forward two such mechanisms which, we argue, are at the core of client acquisition in almost every instance of its occurrence (the two, which we shall discuss below, are Israel and Saudi Arabia). Those mechanisms, in turn, give rise to temporal and spatial patterns of acquisition which track quite well actual historical patterns; they also suggest likely future scenarios and shed light on certain counterfactual situations.

This paper is divided into four parts. We begin with a conceptual discussion of what client status means and how it has worked for the United States historically. We then turn to a discussion of the two acquisition mechanisms, explaining each one and illustrating it with several examples. Next, we formalize these mechanisms as an agent-based computational model, “walking through” the model’s code (it is written in Java, and implemented in the RePast simulation environment). Finally, we present the results of the model’s simulation, both in terms of its “fit” with the historical patterns discussed above and in terms of particularly interesting trends and counterfactuals.

Client States

At least as far back as ancient Rome, powerful political units have acted through a network of clients. To the patron, the advantages of having clients rather than, say, imperial provinces are twofold: the administrative and political costs of administering clients are considerably less than those occasioned by direct rule; and to have clients (referred to by the Romans as “friends”) is significantly more flattering to one’s self-image as a free political unit than to have subjects. Counterbalancing these benefits, of course, is an obvious disadvantage: clients, by virtue of their formal independence, are often obstreperous and able to manipulate the patron for their own ends. If two or more clients enter into conflict with each other, or if they are judged to be utterly incompetent, the patron will feel compelled to step in; this, historically, is how client networks were transformed into formal empires.

The reverse is also true. When imperial provinces revolt, especially when such revolts take place simultaneously or in rapid succession, the costs of putting down the rebellion are often too high for the empire as a whole to be maintained. The temptation is then great to grant formal independence to the remaining provinces. If regimes deemed to be compliant can be set up (often staffed by former provincial officials and by bureaucrats from the metropole), provinces can be transformed into clients. This, in sum, is what the French and to a lesser degree the British succeeded in doing during the era of decolonization; it is what the Russians have been attempting after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

As these examples illustrate, client state networks also require considerable resources to maintain. Frequently, the patron needs to provide economic and military aid; and if the client in question is faced with an insurgency, the patron also needs to move troops and ships to help in stamping out the revolt. This can be an expensive proposition, particularly over long distances and in the face of well-armed rebel forces. Similarly, the costs of maintaining military bases are quite high. These various resource requirements help explain why the British engaged in successive retrenchments and why, quite apart from any concerns about democracy, the French have found it increasingly difficult to maintain their network of African clients.

For several decades, the United States has had the single largest network of client states. They fall into several, quite distinctive, categories. First come states with whom the U.S. has a formal military alliance. These include most of Latin America (via the Rio Pact); the original and some of the more recent NATO countries; Australia and New Zealand; Japan; and South Korea. A second group comprises states with whom the U.S. has intimate military ties, furnishing extensive military aid and maintaining close links with the indigenous armed forces. These include several states in the Middle East, such as Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia; they also include states with whom the U.S. formerly was allied, such as the Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan, or with whom there are long-standing political links, such as Indonesia and, for many decades, Ethiopia. Most states in this category also receive extensive U.S. economic aid. Third come pro-Western states with whom the U.S. has close economic and military ties. These include various states in the Caribbean and Pacific, as well as several African countries, such as Uganda and, formerly, Liberia fell into this category for many decades. Since the (first) Gulf War, several states in the Red Sea or Gulf area would also be included here. Fourth are formally neutral but pro-Western states with whom the U.S. maintains not only significant economic connections but, increasingly, military links as well: Sweden is the most prominent case in point. Fifth, although their status as U.S. clients is by no means firmly cemented, are several newly independent states in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, such as Bosnia, Tajikistan, and, most recently, Afghanistan. In our view, at least 60 states today are American clients.

What these states all have in common is that the maintenance of their type of regime (though not by any means the individual leaders or political groupings comprising any given regime) is a) considered by the U.S. government as a legitimate matter of concern, which b) is worth considerable political and, if need be, economic and military efforts, should it be seen as endangered. In addition, the dominant political forces in each of these states also c) consider that characteristics a) and b) are themselves normal and legitimate. This, then, is a more complete definition of client states.

In order for regime maintenance to be an American goal and for that goal to be accepted as legitimate by the regime, the U.S. must receive explicit permission to engage in surveillance. This phenomenon is at the core of the concept of a client, and serves both as a measurement criterion for categorizing states and as a distinctive feature separating patron-client relations from related phenomena such as alliances. As a measurement criterion, looking for whether or not surveillance exists leads us to treaties and executive agreements permitting the U.S. to have military attachés and other sorts of overseers, but also, and more fundamentally, to the types of activities frequently reported routinely in daily cables and other messages from the embassy to Washington. This last point is important, since in the early years of the last century, U.S. bureaucratic mechanisms were not nearly as developed as they have subsequently become (e.g., military aid programs had not yet become regularized; there were no CIA stations; and so forth). By the same token, these mechanisms have now become common, so that any kind of U.S. bilateral relations with a given country are more likely than not to involve some sort of militaryto-military contacts, even if surveillance is not terribly extensive.

Patron-client relations are conceptually distinct from alliance relations. The former, as we have said, involve oversight by the patron of the client’s internal affairs, with the client giving its assent (even if reluctantly) to this oversight. Alliances, however, tend to be restricted more to external attack and, importantly, need not involve surveillance. Hence, the U.S. can be allied to a given state, in the sense of guaranteeing its security in case of external attack, but without protecting the regime in question against many potential domestic enemies. Conversely, the U.S. can oversee the client’s performance without giving the kinds of guarantees (and weapons transfers) typically involved in alliance relations (in these cases, the client frequently nags the patron for more, and more sophisticated weapons, not to mention explicit military guarantees). Of course, most clients are also allies, and vice-versa, but the two concepts are sufficiently different that they not only should be differentiated but should also be seen as not falling along a common dimension (e.g., security).

It is important to understand that client status need not involve lining up with the patron on many foreign policy matters, nor, indeed, that relations between the two are peaceful and harmonious. Clients may and often do take a stance on various items at odds with that of the patron, and this possibility may be strengthened by understandable feelings of resentment on the part of the client at its status. Since, for the patron, what counts is maintenance of regime type; this more overriding concern may even facilitate the client blackmailing the patron. However, when push comes to shove, it is understood by both sides that the patron’s basic goal and its surveillance means are legitimate. Put in standard political science terms, we can say that the status of being a patron, while undoubtedly connected with the patron being powerful or influential, in the end is conceptually distinct. Rather, patron status is in effect a mode of governance, a kind of hegemony, and one all the effective precisely for its doubly voluntary character.

It should also be pointed out that multiple levels of patron-client relations are possible. Clients of the United States can themselves be patrons for other states. What we do exclude, for logical and practical reasons, is that a client of a client is also the client of its patron’s patron, i.e., that a country like the U.S. can, as it were, reach down directly to a client while the latter also keeps its client status via, say, a former colonial power. We rule this out simply because, given the intrusiveness of surveillance and the notion of responsibility for regime-type maintenance, it simply is not possible for two patrons to be surveilling the same client for more than a limited time (in the end, the “middle” client either solves the problem or passes it to the U.S.). A second patron may extend security guarantees to the “lower” client, but it can only do so with the consent of the “middle” client, qua patron of the “lower” client.

Most U.S. clients are states with perfectly stable regime types. They do not require obtrusive surveillance or (except for economic and military aid) significant assistance. However, if the situation is deemed to warrant it, surveillance can easily become more intensive and assistance granted. Some regimes are seen as considerably more endangered. In such cases, U.S. officials engage in active policies aimed at buttressing the regime. These policies go well beyond transferring resources; they frequently involve daily advice to politicians, bureaucrats, the military, and various other political forces in the country. Of course, certain regimes are sufficiently thin in trained administrators that they rely routinely on the U.S. for advice even when there is no imminent danger in sight. At times, however, the client is faced with a problem for which its own resources, even buttressed by U.S. aid, are insufficient. In those cases, U.S. intervention may be resorted to.

We will return to this issue below, when we discuss motives for acquiring clients. With these points in mind, we can now give a kind of stylized chronology of U.S. client acquisition. It should be kept in mind that this list is neither complete nor, as of yet, entirely verified. As we indicated, client status can only be ascertained when cable traffic is examined (and not only the cables deemed most worthy of being published by the State Department’s own historians). What we did, as a second-best alternative, is to use treaties and military base agreements, along with reading through various of the volumes in the Foreign Relations of the United States series, supplementing both with particular secondary sources. It will be noted that we skip over most of the 1980s, due to paucity of any kinds of primary source materials; we also surely under represent a number of small Caribbean and Pacific island states.

A Partial List of U.S. Client States, with Approximate Dates of Acquisition

1898 Cuba (ends 1959)
1900 Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti, Dominican Republic
1903 Panama
1939-40 Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil; Canada;
also Liberia (ends mid-1980s)
1943 China (ends 1949)
1945 Italy, Saudi Arabia
1946 Argentina, Philippines
1947 Greece, Turkey
1948 France, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Portugal, Sweden, Austria; Korea; Israel
1949 West Germany
1950 Taiwan, Thailand
1951 Japan, Australia, New Zealand
1952 Ethiopia (ends 1974; resumes mid-1990s)
1953 Spain, Iran
1954 Pakistan
1955 South Vietnam (ends 1975)
1957 Lebanon (ends 1975)
1963 Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Jordan
1964 Laos
1967 Indonesia
1974 Tunisia
1976 Egypt
1977 Malaysia
1981 Singapore
1982 Belize
1984 Brunei
1991-92 Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Djibouti
1994 Uganda, Bosnia

Some notes on particular cases: South American states had mostly economic ties with the U.S. until the late 1930s, when in preparation for a possible war, swarms of military attachés were sent south and surveillance began on a large scale. Italy was occupied by U.S. troops, but was a recognized state by 1945; Truman was ready to intervene overtly to prevent a domestic Communist takeover even before the CIA’s efforts in the 1948 elections. In 1948, the Marshall Plan went into effect and its counterpart funds mechanism provided a powerful means of surveillance; interestingly, the Swiss, who participated in the Plan, were given an exemption from counterpart fund control; the Irish, who also participated, had most of their funds semi-controlled by the UK (and therefore remained a client of the UK for decades more); see Till Geiger, “Why Ireland Needed the Marshall Plan but did not Want It: Ireland, the Sterling Area and the European Recovery Program, 1947-1948,” paper, Queen’s University of Belfast. Sweden, in spite of being a neutral, participated eagerly in the Plan and also, although refusing NATO membership, established close military ties with the U.S. Dates for Japan and Australia and New Zealand are cautious, depending for the first on dates of the peace treaty and for the latter two on the economic mechanisms involved in the security arrangements negotiated that year. Iran was offered aid (and accepted some of it) earlier, but only after Mossadeq’s overthrow were full surveillance mechanisms put in place. Jordan was offered client status in the Eisenhower Doctrine but its refusal led the U.S. to continue letting Britain remain as its patron for some years further, when Hussein’s entreaties became too insistent to ignore. Indonesia could be entered a year earlier, during the immediate chaos of the countercoup, but not back in the 1950s, even when the U.S. gave up the idea of fomenting a military revolt against Sukarno. Tunisia could be as early as 1968, depending on the weight given to particular military accords. Bosnia is highly ambiguous: it was on a client trajectory (see Holbrooke’s memoirs) by 1994, but surveillance now seems devolved on the European Union. The cases of Afghanistan, Qatar, and Tajikistan are too recent (and involve too many secret agreements) to be sure if they are full-fledged clients, or merely are military bases and the recipients of security guarantees.

It is evident that these clients were not acquired in a single, continuous process. There were major waves of acquisition, following or preceding wars; there were also frequent, near-yearly acquisitions in the late 1940s, the 1950s, and portions of the 1960s and 1970s. (These two patterns will be at the core of our discussion, below, of the two motives and mechanisms for client acquisition.) By the same token, some of these cases involved formal military alliances, others, bilateral, at times informal, arrangements (for example, Israel was mostly supplied with weapons by European states throughout the 1950s and well into the 1960s; the U.S. eschewed formal military arrangements in those years; yet on an annual basis, top Israeli ministers visited Washington and bargained over weapons and economic assistance).

Just as the temporal pattern and institutional modalities of U.S. client acquisition fall roughly into two categories, so too do the statuses of those clients prior to the moment of their acquisition. On the one hand, there are a number of states which were not only independent for a long time but indeed were not clients of any other state; this is the case for many Western European states and also the South American and, to a certain degree, the Central American ones (the establishment of the state of Panama is an egregious counter-example). On the other hand, there are many states, notably in Asia and the Middle East, which used to be colonies of a European state. The U.S. “took over” many of these clients because either they were no longer under the surveillance of a patron or their former colonial master, as patron, was deemed to be incompetent in protecting them from danger. In either case, the client was facing a problem which it was unable to solve on its own, or even with the help of its European patron. In the latter circumstance, we can see the U.S. as “inheriting” the client from the European patron; in the former circumstance, the U.S. “inherits” the problem from the client itself.

Note that in its pattern of involvement in Asia and the Middle East (and to some degree in the Western Hemisphere as well), the U.S. has opted over and over for a different mode of governance. European states, for the most part, established colonies; the U.S., with rare exceptions, did not. While it is true that the Europeans have themselves set up clients (the British did this extensively in the 19th century and the French in Africa after independence), this is far less prevalent among them than it is for the U.S. There may be deep historical or ideological roots to this European/American difference; but what is clear is that the U.S. pattern is precisely a consistent pattern, with vanishingly few exceptions.

Of course, not all U.S. clients remain in that status. At times, revolutions or other domestic upheavals result in major changes in regime type, leading to the “loss” of the client. Often, the U.S. is led to intervene overtly or covertly to contain or head off such upheavals, and there are no guarantees that intervention of this sort will succeed. (The issue of intervention has until recently been the principal focus of our research.) Nonetheless, we would observe that the U.S. has a fairly successful track record: most of its clients stay in that status for many decades, and rarely require intervention. It may be that this stability is due to a kind of selection bias, in which the U.S. only becomes a patron for clients it thinks can survive, but whatever the reason, some states have been U.S. clients for over a century now. This also suggests that states do not “graduate” from client status. Even if things look stable and there is no sense of urgency, the U.S. will routinely cast a gimlet eye on elections, investment laws, and other facets of the client’s “internal” life. Hence it was that in the mid-1970s, when it appeared for a while that the PCI might win the Italian elections, Kissinger suddenly began speaking out on Italian politics. The same is true of Mitterrand’s first term in office and, quite recently, of the various assurances sought from and given by Lula in Brazil.

Finally, and with rare exceptions, it is worth noting that the U.S. client acquisition seems to have little to do with either power or profit; instead, as we will argue below, U.S. acquisition of clients was and is undertaken to maintain or restore order and stability, which were or are at that moment threatened (or potentially threatened). Of course, American policy makers are not averse to promoting economic interests, nor are they shy about projecting power. But, as various scholars have already emphasized,10 U.S. policy is that of a hegemon, who sees itself as beset by problems which it (often reluctantly) has to solve, since its clients (who themselves may be patrons) are simply unable to do so themselves. We would note that this sense of being dragged into new commitments is not uncommon among hegemons; British policy in the nineteenth century was marked by a similar sense of self.

Why and How Does the U.S. Acquire Clients? Motives and Mechanisms

From the prior discussion, it is clear that the U.S. has been in the business of acquiring and protecting clients for a long time. Why have generations of U.S. foreign policymakers chosen to acquire clients? Since 1898, and arguably before, the United States has had political, economic and security interests to foster and protect on an increasingly global scale. For sure, particular interests have emerged, evolved, and changed. Threats, created by the particular enemies of the day that threaten those interests (revolutionaries, communists, drug traffickers, authoritarian despots, narcoterriosts, religious fanatics, kidnappers, pirates, among others), have come and gone. In our view, what has been a constant, across time and space, are the overarching U.S. goals of law and order, and stability. U.S. foreign policymakers have consistently believed that their political, economic, and security interests of the day require order and stability. From time to time, of course, those interests may indicate that certain regimes should be countered or even overthrown (or, for many decades, that U.S. clients should lose their colonial empires), but such actions are always seen as a restoration or, conversely, the initial establishment of a certain kind of just international order.

In the American view, the way in which order is indicated is via the existence of states with regimes which know their place in this order and which uphold its current principles. Such regimes must be defended; otherwise order is by definition threatened. This defense is partly against external threats; but to U.S. policymakers, the principal threats to such regimes are internal. Accordingly, existing clients must be scanned and surveilled on a regular -- ideally, a daily -- basis; and such is precisely the role of the enormous U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy as it is implanted in each U.S. client.13 (Of course, this bureaucracy took quite a while to be built up, but by the late 1940s it was well in place.) But since U.S. clients may themselves have clients, those clients too should be scanned regularly to check on their health, even if this scanning might not be as frequent or as intrusive as for U.S. clients and even if it is directed more at “sub-clients” with regimes reported already to be shaky.

We originally had thought that the U.S. would not be surveilling clients of its clients (e.g., Britain’s clients) for the reasons presented above. However, a careful reading of one of the classic cases where the U.S. took over a client from its former patron (Greece in 1947) suggests that the U.S. was scanning the situation in the non-client for a year.

So too should “free agents” -- i.e., clientless states -- be scanned (though not necessarily surveilled widely and deeply), since if they are threatened or plunge into chaos, this risks spreading and undermining international order. If such signs appear in either sub-clients or free agents, then, other means failing, it is a natural step for the U.S. at least to consider solving those problems itself; and this implies taking on the actor in question as a client.

Stephen Majeski - University of Washington.
David Sylvan - Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva.

End of Part I