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    Understanding Congress's Role in Terminating Unpopular Wars: A Comparison of the Vietnam and Iraq Wars
    (Routledge, 2014) McHugh, Kelly A.
    I examine how Congress reacts when the president refuses to terminate involvement in an unpopular war. To address this, I devise a set of hypotheses based on David Mayhew’s work Congress and the Electoral Connection and seek to predict the conditions under which Congress will employ three strategies to end a war: enacting legislation, framing exit strategies, and privately lobbying the president. I test these hypotheses in two cases, the Vietnam and Iraq wars, and conclude that the hypotheses provide a compelling explanation for Congressional behavior during the two wars.
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    A Tale of Two Surges: Comparing the Politics of the 2007 Iraq Surge and the 2009 Afghanistan Surge
    (Sage Publishing, 2015) McHugh, Kelly A.
    This manuscript compares and contrasts the political obstacles faced by Bush and Obama when they sought to deepen U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I compare their efforts in three areas. First, I examine their attempts to rally public support for a surge by “going public” and making high-profile policy speeches. Second, I examine their attempts to silence congressional critics, by framing the choice as averting defeat. Finally, I examine each president’s attempt to quell a rebellion inside his administration. Although Bush failed to rally public support, he was able to implement the surge because he succeeded in unifying Republicans in support of his policy, and dividing and silencing congressional Democrats. Obama succeeded because he was able to successfully shape public opinion. This, in turn, allowed him to withstand criticism from hawkish Republicans in Congress and also rally the support of dovish Democratic elites.
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    How elected leaders prolong unpopular wars: Examining American policy during the Vietnam War and French policy during the Algerian War
    (Taylor & Francis, 2016) McHugh, Kelly A.
    I seek to explain why democracies often maintain involvement in peripheral wars years after public support has dissipated. Using insights from literature on prospect theory and framing theory, I argue that when a war becomes unpopular (largely because the public perceives it to be too costly to achieve the original goal of the war) elites who favor prolonging the conflict seek to “reframe” the debate; here elites attempt to convince the public that a rapid withdraw is in fact a more costly choice. Specifically, leaders will emphasize the reputational and security costs of a loss, and convince the public that a risky gamble—namely an escalation or expansion of the conflict—is the only war to avoid such a loss. I examine these propositions in two case studies: the Vietnam War during the period of 1968–1975, and the Algerian War during the period of 1956–1962.
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    No more Iraqs: analysing use of force decisions during the Obama administration
    (Routledge, 2021-02) McHugh, Kelly A.
    In this article, I focus on a subset of Obama's foreign policy views, namely his beliefs about the appropriate circumstances under which the United States should engage in armed conflict. I argue that the Iraq war served as a formative event in the development of Obama's worldview. He derived distinct lessons from this policy failure, leading him to articulate a restrictive set of conditions that should be met before the United States considered intervening in the internal politics of another nation, absent a direct threat to national security. I undertake a detailed examination of two case studies – the administration's debates leading to the 2011 intervention in Libya and the decision not to intervene in Syria in 2013 – and demonstrate how the lessons of Iraq shaped Obama's policy choices at critical junctures in the deliberations. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Global Change, Peace & Security is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
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    At War with Congress: War Powers Disputes during the Trump Administration.
    (Taylor & Francis, 2022) McHugh, Kelly A.
    During his four years in office, Congress made historic challenges to President Donald Trump's authority as Commander in Chief, twice invoking the 1973 War Powers Resolution. The first resolution, passed in 2019, expressed disapproval of the U.S.' logistical and material support for Saudi Arabia's campaign against the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen. The second challenge occurred in 2020 after Trump authorized a drone strike that killed Iranian Major General Qassam Soleimani. In response, Congress passed a WPR that stipulated that any future military action against the regime would require express legislative authorization. Using a case study approach, this essay examines why Congress chose to employ the WPR as a policy tool after decades of dormancy. Ultimately, I argue that a confluence of factors compelled majorities in both chambers of Congress to use the War Powers Resolution to make a powerful rebuke of the administration's policy. Drawing on a wealth of existing literature about the factors that impede or compel Congressional activism in use-of-force debates, I find that in both cases, members of Congress faced strong moral, legal, and strategic incentives to act, with few attendant political risks. As such, while the passage of two wars powers resolutions represented an important milestone in interbranch relations, it likely does not presage a new era of Congressional assertiveness in war powers. Keywords: U.S. foreign policy; Donald Trump; Congress [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Democracy & Security is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)