A regime legitimacy explanation of African peacekeeping
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The American military needs to understand what incentivizes some African nations to participate in peacekeeping in order to strengthen the incentive structure so that high levels of peacekeeping will continue. The main argument advanced in this thesis is that regimes that are attempting to increase their structural legitimacy are more likely to volunteer for peacekeeping missions to gain international political legitimacy, as well as domestic social and economic legitimacy. This hypothesis is based on a synthesis of constructivism and political economy. The constructivist perspective argues that regimes that govern societies with identities and norms based on protecting others can gain domestic legitimacy through benevolent external actions; this same argument holds true for increasing international legitimacy by following international norms. This hypothesis is also based on a political economy argument that the monetary benefits from peacekeeping are transmitted throughout the military and society, resulting in domestic legitimacy. Quantitative results show that a state's structural legitimacy is correlated to its level of peacekeeping in a U-shaped curve, meaning that states attempting to increase their legitimacy participate at a higher-than-expected level. Likewise, the case study of Rwanda's involvement in the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur illustrates that the Rwandan Patriotic Front government reaps economic, social and political benefits from peacekeeping that strengthen that regime's legitimacy.
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