Rathbun, Brian C. 1973-

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Rathbun, Brian C. 1973-


Born July 5, 1973. Education: Duke University, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1995; University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D., 2002.


Home—Bloomington, IN. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer, educator. McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, assistant professor, 2004-06; Indiana University, Bloomington, assistant professor, 2006—. Legislative aide for Senator Evan Bayh (DIN), 2003-04.


Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation Dissertation Fellowship, 1999-2000; Social Science Research Council Dissertation Fellowship, 2000-01; Friedrich Ebert Foundation Research Fellowship, 2001; Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2005.


Partisan Interventions: European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2004.

Contributor of articles to scholarly publications, including International Studies Quarterly, Political Science Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and German Politics and Society.


Brian C. Rathbun is a professor of political science whose research and teaching interests include international security and international institutions, comparative politics of political parties and social movements, Western European politics and European integration, and human rights and peacekeeping. These interests coalesced in the writing of the 2004 work Partisan Interventions: European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans. Here Rathbun attempts to demonstrate how ideological differences among political parties can result in completely different interpretations of what constitutes a country's national interest. As major events and crises take place internationally, such differences of interpretation assume a magnified importance. Rathbun takes as his example in this study the nations of Germany, France, and Great Britain, each of which played major roles in the crisis in the Balkans in the 1990s. The author carefully follows and details major disagreements between the political parties in each nation during the 1990s as to how best to deal with humanitarian interventions and the creation of a European Union security force for the Balkans. The resulting differences of opinion between the right and the left regarding such intervention were clearly visible in the resolution of conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo. For Rathbun, the different approaches to international humanitarian intervention were not so much a matter of culture or even of historical precedent, as they were of an ideological split between left and right.

It is Rathbun's contention that left-wing parties, as compared to those of the right, are less willing to rely on force in such circumstances, and they are additionally more ready to operate in a multilateral context to achieve humanitarian ends. Rathbun interviewed numerous senior government and party officials, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officials, United Nations ambassadors, military leaders, and defense experts to compile the data for Partisan Interventions.

Reviewing Rathbun's work in the Political Science Quarterly, Susan L. Woodward observed, "This study is a serious contribution to the literature on the domestic sources of foreign policy and the role of ‘ideas’ as against either ‘national culture’ or ‘electoral profit.’" Woodward, however, faulted Rathbun for ignoring key events in the Bosnian crisis of the 1990s, as well as for labeling the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 a "humanitarian intervention." Writing in German Politics and Society, Charles King felt that Partisan Interventions was a "carefully argued book." King further noted that, as Rathbun's book was developed through the extensive use of interviews and analysis of public debates and speeches, the manner in which such sources were used was particularly important. Of this aspect, King commented, "The paragraphs on method at the beginning of the book are models of their kind: a careful summary of how the author ‘read’ primary texts and public statements, making inferences about speakers' motivations only after careful cross-checking."



Choice, January, 2006, A.R. Brunello, review of Partisan Interventions: European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans, p. 931.

European History Quarterly, July, 2006, James Gow, review of Partisan Interventions, p. 478.

German Politics and Society, fall, 2006, Charles King, review of Partisan Interventions, p. 117.

Political Science Quarterly, spring, 2006, Susan L. Woodward, review of Partisan Interventions, p. 155.

West European Politics, September, 2006, Nebojsa Vladisavljevic, review of Partisan Interventions, p. 859.


Indiana University Web site,http://www.indiana.edu/ (March 22, 2008), faculty profile.

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