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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

8 - Buying Allies


In this chapter, we examine the issue of allies for sale. In an effort to curry favor with influential outsiders, domestic candidates change their policy positions. If a superpower enjoys hegemony in a country, and local parties have weak programmatic roots, the result are more pliant allies. Competition from other powers changes the picture. Platforms shift less, with the power with greater willingness to invest more benefiting from a net policy move in its direction. It is important to note that it takes parties that care to a different degree for their programmatic bases (paying different costs for deviating from their ideal point) for political polarization in target states to actually increase under external pressure. In such cases, interventions become costly for outsiders: they benefit from the increased polarization and so pay up. The empirical cases of Brazil and Italy both show cases of growing polarization and high costs for the United States, competing against Communist parties and sympathizers. In one case, the right candidates kept winning, in the other, they narrowly lost. Faced with a similar scenario of outside interests in its elections, Finland exhibited a different dynamic. Due to the strong programmatic bases of its parties, superpowers saw little platform change in the Finnish case. This helped motivate them to get out of Finnish politics.