Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Jennifer Morrison Taw

Rights Information

© 2017 Rachel I. Lang


This thesis challenges the assumption that states are rational unitary actors by examining how, in the United States, the personality traits of the president determine whether or not he will choose military intervention when the domestic and international conditions align to render it a possibility. These conditions are filtered through the lens of the president's own cognitive schema, which cannot be purely rational and, moreover, is likely to include a mélange of traits that converge to create a marked preference for action, reinforced and incentivized by the domestic political system. If Bill Clinton provides an example of the interventionist impulse among U.S. presidents in his actions in Bosnia, Barack Obama offers an exception through his restraint in Syria. Today, the Trump presidency raises questions about the likelihood of U.S. involvement in the enduring Syrian Civil War.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.