Interventionism—the manipulation of the internal politics of one country by another—has long been a feature of international relations. The practice shows no signs of abating, despite the recent collapse of Communism and the decline of the Cold War.
In The Political Economy of Third World Intervention, David Gibbs explores the factors that motivate intervention, especially the influence of business interests. He challenges conventional views of international relations, eschewing both the popular "realist" view that the state is influenced by diverse national interests and the "dependency" approach that stresses conflicts between industrialized countries and the Third World. Instead, Gibbs proposes a new theoretical model of "business conflict" which stresses divisions between different business interests and shows how such divisions can influence foreign policy and interventionism. Moreover, he focuses on the conflicts among the core countries, highlighting friction among private interests within these countries.
Drawing on U.S. government documents—including a wealth of newly declassified materials—he applies his new model to a detailed case study of the Congo Crisis of the 1960s. Gibbs demonstrates that the Crisis is more accurately characterized by competition among Western interests for access to the Congo's mineral wealth, than by Cold War competition, as has been previously argued.
Offering a fresh perspective for understanding the roots of any international conflict, this remarkably accessible volume will be of special interest to students of international political economy, comparative politics, and business-government relations.
"This book is an extremely important contribution to the study of international relations theory; Gibbs' treatment of the Congo case is superb. He effectively takes the "statists" to task and presents a compelling new way of analyzing external interventions in the Third World."—Michael G. Schatzberg, University of Wisconsin
"David Gibbs makes an original and important contribution to our understanding of the influence of business interests in the making of U.S. foreign policy. His business conflict model provides a synthetic theoretical framework for the analysis of business-government relations, one which yields fresh insights, overcomes inconsistencies in other approaches, and opens new ground for important research. . . . [Gibbs] provides a sophisticated analysis of the conflicts within the U.S. business community and identifies the complex ways in which they interacted with agencies within the government to form U.S. foreign policy toward the Congo. . . . This is a well-crafted analysis of a critical case of U.S. postwar intervention which should be of general interest to scholars and others concerned with the domestic bases of foreign policy."—Thomas J. Biersteker, Director, School of International Relations, University of Southern California