This study examines executive foreign policy decision-making in the United States in order to investigate the most influential factors that affect the degree of commitment of U.S. interventions in genocide. This analysis applies the poliheuristic theory to the executive decisions made in response to the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, Bosnia, through a multi-method research approach, incorporating process tracing of primary source documents and archival research. This study shows that domestic pressures, especially appeasement of the selectorate, the most prominent influences affecting the commitment and type of intervention executed. Application of poliheuristic theory to these cases also shows that factors such as the influence of advisor(s), international pressure, media attention, and advocacy efforts appear to play a minimal role in influencing the Clinton Administration. The results of this study are significant for international relations theory, as well as informing strategies of advocacy and policy response to cases of genocide.


Lantis, Jeffrey


Political Science


Social and Behavioral Sciences


poliheuristic, theory, genocide, response, executive, administration, clinton, foreign policy, decision-making, decision, making, leaders, mass atrocity, policy maker

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Elizabeth Paige Kittner