Why do some leaders and segments of the public display remarkable persistence in confrontations in international politics, while others cut and run? The answer given by policymakers, pundits, and political scientists usually relates to issues of resolve. Yet, though we rely on resolve to explain almost every phenomenon in international politics—from prevailing at the bargaining table to winning on the battlefield—we don't understand what it is, how it works, or where it comes from. Resolve in International Politics draws on a growing body of research in psychology and behavioral economics to explore the foundations of this important idea. Joshua Kertzer argues that political will is more than just a metaphor or figure of speech: the same traits social scientists and decision-making scholars use to comprehend willpower in our daily lives also shape how we respond to the costs of war and conflict. Combining laboratory and survey experiments with studies of great power military interventions in the postwar era from 1946 to 2003, Kertzer shows how time and risk preferences, honor orientation, and self-control help explain the ways leaders and members of the public define the situations they face and weigh the trade-offs between the costs of fighting and the costs of backing down. Offering a novel in-depth look at how willpower functions in international relations, Resolve in International Politics has critical implications for understanding political psychology, public opinion about foreign policy, leaders in military interventions, and international security.
Abstract: Why do some leaders and publics display remarkable persistence in war, while others "cut and run" at the first sign of trouble? Why did the French remain in the First World War despite having suffered nearly a third of a million soldiers killed, missing, or wounded in the Battle of Verdun alone, while the United States immediately halted its military operations in Somalia after 18 of its soldiers were killed during the Battle of Mogadishu? Although resolve is one of the most frequently used independent variables in International Relations, used to explain everything from developments on the battlefield to deliberations at the bargaining table to decisions at the ballot box, we have very little sense of why some actors are more resolved than others. I argue that resolve is an interaction between situational stakes and dispositional traits; by pointing to a series of dispositional characteristics frequently studied in a growing body of research on willpower in behavioral economics and social psychology (time and risk preferences, honor orientations, and trait self-control), I disaggregate the costs of war and explain why certain types of actors are more sensitive to the costs of fighting, while others are more sensitive to the costs of backing down. I test this argument at the micro-level with laboratory and survey experiments, and at the macro-level with Boolean statistical analyses of great power military interventions from 1946-2003. The macro-level analyses suggest that resolve indeed boosts the probability of victory, finding evidence in favor of country-level situational and leader-level dispositional sources of resolve.
Mercer examines reputation formation in a series of crises before World War I. He tests competing arguments, one from deterrence theory, the other from social psychology, to see which better predicts and explains how reputations form. He extends his findings to address contemporary crises such as the Gulf War, and considers how culture, gender and nuclear weapons affect reputation.
This volume brings together the recent essays of Richard Ned Lebow, one of the leading scholars of international relations and US foreign policy. Lebow's work has centred on the instrumental value of ethics in foreign policy decision making and the disastrous consequences which follow when ethical standards are flouted. Unlike most realists who have considered ethical considerations irrelevant in states' calculations of their national interest, Lebow has argued that self interest, and hence, national interest can only be formulated intelligently within a language of justice and morality. The essays here build on this pervasive theme in Lebow's work by presenting his substantive and compelling critique of strategies of deterrence and compellence, illustrating empirically and normatively how these strategies often produce results counter to those that are intended. The last section of the book, on counterfactuals, brings together another set of related articles which continue to probe the relationship between ethics and policy. They do so by exploring the contingency of events to suggest the subjective, and often self-fulfilling, nature of the frameworks we use to evaluate policy choices.
Power, Security, and the Future of International Politics
Author: Robert S. Ross
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Category: Political Science
Assessments of China's importance on the world stage usually focus on a single dimension of China's increasing power, rather than on the multiple sources of China's rise, including its economic might and the continuing modernization of its military. This book offers multiple analytical perspectives—constructivist, liberal, neorealist—on the significance of the many dimensions of China's regional and global influence. Distinguished authors consider the likelihood of conflict and peaceful accommodation as China grows ever stronger. They look at the changing position of China "from the inside": How do Chinese policymakers evaluate the contemporary international order and what are the regional and global implications of that worldview? The authors also address the implications of China's increasing power for Chinese policymaking and for the foreign policies of Korea, Japan, and the United States. Contributors: Robert Art, Brandeis University; Avery Goldstein, University of Pennsylvania; G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University; Byung-Kook Kim, Korea University; Jonathan Kirshner, Cornell University; Jeffrey W. Legro, University of Virginia; Jack S. Levy, Rutgers University; Qin Yaqing, China Foreign Affairs University; Robert S. Ross, Boston College; Akio Takahara, University of Tokyo; Tang Shiping, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Wei Ling, China Foreign Affairs University; Zhu Feng, Peking University
Within the realist school of international relations, a prevailing view holds that the anarchic structure of the international system invariably forces the great powers to seek security at one another's expense, dooming even peaceful nations to an unrelenting struggle for power and dominance. Rational Theory of International Politics offers a more nuanced alternative to this view, one that provides answers to the most fundamental and pressing questions of international relations. Why do states sometimes compete and wage war while at other times they cooperate and pursue peace? Does competition reflect pressures generated by the anarchic international system or rather states' own expansionist goals? Are the United States and China on a collision course to war, or is continued coexistence possible? Is peace in the Middle East even feasible? Charles Glaser puts forward a major new theory of international politics that identifies three kinds of variables that influence a state's strategy: the state's motives, specifically whether it is motivated by security concerns or "greed"; material variables, which determine its military capabilities; and information variables, most importantly what the state knows about its adversary's motives. Rational Theory of International Politics demonstrates that variation in motives can be key to the choice of strategy; that the international environment sometimes favors cooperation over competition; and that information variables can be as important as material variables in determining the strategy a state should choose.
The Psychology of Leaders in International Conflict
Author: Keren Yarhi-Milo
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Category: Political Science
How psychology explains why a leader is willing to use military force to protect or salvage reputation In Who Fights for Reputation, Keren Yarhi-Milo provides an original framework, based on insights from psychology, to explain why some political leaders are more willing to use military force to defend their reputation than others. Rather than focusing on a leader's background, beliefs, bargaining skills, or biases, Yarhi-Milo draws a systematic link between a trait called self-monitoring and foreign policy behavior. She examines self-monitoring among national leaders and advisers and shows that while high self-monitors modify their behavior strategically to cultivate image-enhancing status, low self-monitors are less likely to change their behavior in response to reputation concerns. Exploring self-monitoring through case studies of foreign policy crises during the terms of U.S. presidents Carter, Reagan, and Clinton, Yarhi-Milo disproves the notion that hawks are always more likely than doves to fight for reputation. Instead, Yarhi-Milo demonstrates that a decision maker's propensity for impression management is directly associated with the use of force to restore a reputation for resolve on the international stage. Who Fights for Reputation offers a brand-new understanding of the pivotal influence that psychological factors have on political leadership, military engagement, and the protection of public prestige.
The South China Sea has long been regarded as a major source of tension and instability in East Asia. Managing the risk of possible conflict over disputed claims in the South China Sea has been a significant challenge for regional relations. This book explores international politics and security in the South China Sea. It outlines the history of the South China Sea disputes, and the efforts that have been made to resolve these, assessing the broader strategic significance of the region for major geopolitical powers. In addition, new challenges have emerged of resource management, environmental protection, and most recently, of the security and safety of shipping against the threats of piracy and maritime terrorism. The book discusses the convergence of traditional and non-traditional security issues now appearing to provide a basis for co-operation in the South China Sea. It shows how the challenge of establishing co-operative relations is now being met, largely through agreement between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China in 2002 on the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and a range of recent measures for functional co-operation.