This book uses a comparative case study approach to examine how security cultures change under the impact of political shocks and learning through failure. The book thus analyzes the security cultures of Germany and the United States as they evolve under the impact of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995. The thesis thereby also enhances our understanding of German and U.S. foreign policies. Using paired observations for controlled comparison, the thesis employs process tracing to examine the nature and quantity of change. The case studies demonstrate that security cultures influence the assessment of political situations, restrain policy objectives, and condition the range of issues to which political attention is devoted. Both cases reveal that security cultures affect the evaluation of policy options and the choices that are made. The thesis argues that different transformations of German and U.S. security cultures led to divergent political behavior particularly with regard to the use of force, resulting in more forceful and effective interventions in Bosnia and a reframing of future interventions in third-party conflicts. Domestic reactions to the Bosnian war transformed the security culture in Germany, whereas reactions in the U.S. triggered a re-ranking of cultural preferences. Understanding how security cultures change and evolve through exogenous and endogenous factors improves the chances of policy success in today's challenging international environment.
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