This article argues that there is a need to question whether parliamentary involvement actually leads to the intended effects of increased democratic deliberation and responsiveness. We compare the unintended consequences of parliamentary votes on the use of force in two ‘most-different cases’: Canada and Germany. Despite substantive differences in the formal war powers of their parliaments, we find that military deployment votes on Afghanistan led to less democratic deliberation and responsiveness. Applying rationalist institutionalism, we argue that the deployment votes incentivised major parties to collude together to lessen debate on the Afghan mission, despite increasing public opposition and media attention. Rather than enhancing deliberation and responsiveness, as assumed by proponents of greater parliamentary involvement in military decisions, these parliamentary votes effectively diminished the willingness of parties to debate the mission.

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Keywords deployment votes, elite collusion, parliament, unintended consequences, war powers
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Journal British Journal of Politics and International Relations
Lagassé, P, & Mello, P.A. (Patrick A). (2018). The unintended consequences of parliamentary involvement: Elite collusion and Afghanistan deployments in Canada and Germany. British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 20(1), 135–157. doi:10.1177/1369148117745681