Visiting Fellow

Dr Payam Ghalehdar

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel: +49 (0)203 379-5230
Tel: +49 (0)201 7204-212 (KWI)
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: payam.ghalehdar@spam


Dr Payam Ghalehdar joined the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Visiting Fellow. He conducted his research in Research Unit 2 'Global Cultural Conflicts and Transcultural Cooperation' from April to August 2017.

Research Project at the Centre

Origins of Overthrow—Emotional Frustration and US-Imposed Regime Change

Why has regime change, defined as military intervention aimed at forcibly transforming a target state's domestic political authority structure, been a long-standing practice in US foreign policy? Extant theories fail to provide sound answers. Realist approaches, for example, under-predict the recurrence of regime change if great powers should have no reason to intervene in weaker states. Similarly, democracy promotion arguments overstate the causal importance of the US desire to expand liberty globally.

This book project presents a novel explanation. It argues that the practice of regime change is predicated upon what I call 'emotional frustration', an anger-arousing emotional state that is brought about by a foreign leader's obstructive behavior perceived to be rooted in implacable hatred. While obstruction is ubiquitous in interstate interactions, I claim that the combination of hegemonic expectations towards a target state and the perception of hatred shape the extent to which a foreign leader's conduct evokes an emotional response on the part of foreign policy elites. Regime change becomes an attractive foreign policy instrument to decision-makers who seek to discharge their emotional frustration.

To illustrate its emotion-based argument, the project features four historical case studies based on a wealth of primary sources and declassified archival material. I demonstrate how US-imposed regime changes in Cuba (1906), Nicaragua (1909–12), the Dominican Republic (1965) and Iraq (2003) reveal heretofore overlooked patterns of emotional frustration that have time and again animated US regime change decisions.

Research Interests

  • International Relations Theory and International Security
  • US Foreign Policy
  • Regime Change and Military Interventions
  • Emotions and Foreign Policy Decision-Making
  • US-Iran Relations

Current Projects

  • The Origins of Overthrow (book project)
  • Emotional Frustration and the Sources of US Regime Change (paper project)
  • To Promote or Prevent Democracy? Causal Beliefs about Regime Efficacy and the Choice of Regime Types in Military Interventions (paper project)
  • The Obama Doctrine and the Perception of Adversaries (paper project)


10/2015-09/2016 University of Cambridge, UK
Department of Politics and International Studies
Lecturer in International Relations (fixed-term)
04/2015-09/2015 University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Institute of Political Science
10/2010-03/2015 European University Institute, San Domenico di Fiesole, Italy
Department of Political and Social Sciences
PhD Researcher
02/2014-04/2014 University of Queensland, Australia
School of Political Science and International Studies
Visiting PhD Researcher
09/2012-06/2013 George Washington University, Washington, USA
Institute for Security and Conflict Studies
Visiting PhD Researcher
12/2009-07/2010 Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), Germany
Research Associate
09/2007-07/2009 University of Mannheim, Germany
Department of Political Science
M.A. Student
09/2007-06/2008 John Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA
Department of Political Science
Visiting Graduate Student
09/2006-01/2007 Uppsala University, Sweden
Department of Government
Visiting Undergraduate Student
10/2004-06/2007 University of Mannheim
Department of Political Science
B.A. Student

Selected Publications

Ghalehdar, Payam (2016): Konsistenz bitte! Fiaskos als Divergenz zwischen Reden und Handeln <Consistency please! Fiascos as a Divergence between Talking and Acting>, Zeitschrift für Politik 63 (2): 184–95.

Ghalehdar, Payam (2014): Der traumatische Verlust eines Verbündeten: Warum die Vereinigten Staaten die Islamische Republik nicht anerkennen <The Traumatic Loss of an Ally: Why the United States Does Not Recognize the Islamic Republic>, in: Andreas M. Bock and Ingo Henneberg (eds.), Iran, die Bombe und das Streben nach Sicherheit: Strukturierte Konfliktanalysen, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 205–24.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • University of Cambridge (MPhil courses 'Theory and History of US Foreign Policy' and 'Foreign Policy Analysis')
  • University of Duisburg-Essen (B.A.-level course 'Development Processes and Issues in Iran')
  • ECPR Summer School on Methods and Techniques ('Case Study Methodology', teaching assistant)

Dr Philip Liste

Dr. Blayne Haggart

Prof. Dr Marianne Marchand

Dr Tamirace Fakhoury

Dr Adam Sandor

Prof. Dr Claudia Derichs

Dr Stephen Adaawen

Dr Dr Ariel Hernández

Prof. Dr Frank Adloff

Dr Bettina Mahlert

Dr Franz Mauelshagen

Prof. Dr Dr Marlies Ahlert

Dr Zeynep Sahin Mencutek

Dr Mariana Nardone

Dr Ying Shen

Prof. Dr Andreas Thiel

Dr Esref Aksu

Dr Micheline van Riemsdijk

Prof. Dr Wouter Werner

Dr Pol Bargués-Pedreny

Dr Burcu Bayram

Dr Isaline Bergamaschi

Dr Felix Bethke

Dr Sarah Van Beurden

Jun.-Prof. Dr Manuel Borutta

Gerardo Bracho

Dr Morgan Brigg

Prof. Dr Lothar Brock

Prof. Stephen Brown

Prof. Dr Susanne Buckley-Zistel

Prof. Dr Bettina Burger-Menzel

Dr Alessandra Cappelletti

Prof. David Carment, Ph.D.

Dr Paula Castro

Dr Ayse Cavdar

Prof. Dr Gerald Chan

Prof. David Chandler

Prof. Hongming Cheng

Prof. Dr Manjiao Chi

Prof. Andrew Cooper

Prof. Dr Larry Crump

Prof. Dr Susan Erikson

Dr Alejandro Esguerra

Prof. Dr Isabel Feichtner

Dr Peter Finkenbusch

Jaroslava Gajdošová, Ph.D.

Prof. Noemi Gal-Or, Ph.D., LL.B.

Dr Daniel Gaus

Mneesha Gellman, Ph.D.

Dr Payam Ghalehdar

Prof. Faten Ghosn

Dr Gianluca Grimalda

Dr Jennifer Gronau

Dr Stefan Groth

Prof. Dr Eric Grynaviski

Dr Petra Gümplová

Prof. Dr Gunther Hellmann

Dr Heike Hennig-Schmidt

Prof. Dr Pablo Holmes

Dr Joe Hoover

Prof. Dr Jon Hovi

Prof. Meibo Huang

Dr Abou Jeng

Prof. Dr Anja Jetschke

Prof. Dr Jonathan Joseph

Dr Yannis Kallianos

Dr phil. habil. Otto Kallscheuer

Prof. Dr Babacar Kanté

Prof. Dr Ina Kerner

Dr Kai Koddenbrock

Mag. Dr Martina Kopf

Prof. Dr Bernd Lahno

Prof. Siddharth Mallavarapu

Dr Xavier Mathieu

Aysem Mert, Ph.D.

PD Dr Christian Meyer

Dr Charmaine Misalucha-Willoughby

Dr Elisabetta Nadalutti

Dr James Nyomakwa-Obimpeh

Dr Dirk Peters

Dr Steven Pierce

Prof. Elena Pulcini

Prof. Dr Sigrid Quack

Dr Salvador Santino F. Regilme

Dr Nicole Renvert

Dr Mathieu Rousselin

Dr Galya Ruffer

Dr Olivia Rutazibwa

Mag. Dr Ariane Sadjed

Dr Shirin Saeidi

Prof. Dr Enrique Saravia

Dr Andrea Schapper

Prof. Dr Klaus Schlichte

Dr Jessica Schmidt

Dr Mario Schmidt

Prof. Dr Ulrich Schneckener

Prof. Jan Aart Scholte

Dr habil. Birgit Schwelling

Dr Katrin Seidel

Dr Balraj K. Sidhu

Dr Deepshikha Shahi

Dr Abdolkarim Soroush

Prof. Detlef Sprinz, Ph.D.

Dr Holger Straßheim

Dr Ángela Suárez-Collado

Dr Liam Swiss

Prof. Dr Christian J. Tams

Margret Thalwitz

Dr Peter Thiery

Prof. emerit. Arild Underdal

Dr rer. pol. Winfried Veit

Dr Wanda Vrasti

Prof. Dong Wang

Dr Hung-Jen Wang

Prof. Dr Herbert Wulf

Prof. Dr Dvora Yanow

Dr Fariborz Zelli

Prof. Dr Shirin Zubair