Informal imposed hierarchies in world politics and internal instabilities in subordinate states: the Afghanistan and Iraq cases

Taş Yetim H.

Third World Quarterly, vol.44, no.5, pp.985-1002, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/01436597.2023.2171391
  • Journal Name: Third World Quarterly
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, American History and Life, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Geobase, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, PAIS International, Political Science Complete, Public Administration Abstracts, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.985-1002
  • Keywords: Informal imposed hierarchy model, subordinate states, Afghanistan, Iraq, civil war, FOREIGN-AID, DOMESTIC POLITICS, REGIME CHANGE, CIVIL-WAR, INTERVENTION, AUTHORITY, PEACE, SOVEREIGNTY, CONFLICT, AMERICA
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


© 2023 Global South Ltd.In international relations, hierarchy is generally understood as the relational contract by which two states legitimately acknowledge their superior and subordinate ranks. Empirical studies, however, show that some states experience distinctive hierarchical patterns, such as military intervention and nation-building. This study calls them the ‘informal imposed hierarchy’ (IIH after this) because they all install favoured leaders, governmental structures and/or troops in target states without the consent of the target states’ population. Using state clusters from 1945 to 2003, we found that four sorts of states experienced IIHs: those having counter-hegemonic actors, signalling a move to the rival hierarchy, seeking an exit door from the current hierarchical system, and perceived to present new security risks (e.g. terrorism). IIH likely generates instability since it installs and protects illegitimate rulers in the target state. It can aggravate internal war in subordinate states with single-party governments or heterogeneous communities. In order to assess the model’s and the arguments’ explanatory power, the study selects the relevant universe cases. The next, it examines pre- and post-Soviet eras in Afghanistan and the 2001 and 2003 US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as control cases. These cross-cases illustrate the change of IIH’s motives over time and across hierarchies.