Deterrence by Diplomacy

Deterrence by Diplomacy

Anne E. Sartori
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Deterrence by Diplomacy
    Book Description:

    Why are countries often able to communicate critical information using diplomacy? Why do countries typically use diplomacy honestly, despite incentives to bluff? Why are they often able to deter attacks using merely verbal threats? International relations theory is largely pessimistic about the prospects for effective diplomacy, yet leaders nevertheless expend much time and energy trying to resolve conflicts through verbal negotiations and public statements. Deterrence by Diplomacy challenges standard understandings of deterrence by analyzing it as a form of talk and reaches conclusions about the effectiveness of diplomacy that are much more optimistic.

    Anne Sartori argues that diplomacy works precisely because it is so valuable. States take pains to use diplomacy honestly most of the time because doing so allows them to maintain reputations for honesty, which in turn enhance their ability to resolve future disputes using diplomacy rather than force. So, to maintain the effectiveness of their diplomacy, states sometimes acquiesce to others' demands when they might have been able to attain their goals through bluffs. Sartori theorizes that countries obtain a "trade" of issues over time; they get their way more often when they deem the issues more important, and concede more often when they deem the issues less important. Departing from traditional theory, this book shows that rather than always fighting over small issues to show resolve, states can make their threats more credible by sometimes honestly acquiescing over lesser issues--by not crying "wolf."

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4944-4
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Part I Introduction
    • CHAPTER 1 Introduction
      (pp. 3-16)

      This book is about deterrence and diplomacy. An attempt at deterrence is a counter-threat. It is a threat by one state to use military force if another state does not refrain from some undesired, threatened action. For example, a state may threaten to invade another state or to subject it to an economic blockade. The threatened state may attempt deterrence by counter-threatening to start a war if the first state goes through with the invasion or blockade.

      At a casual glance, it is not clear that deterrent threats ever should succeed, because states that do not intend to fight have...

  5. Part II How Bluffs Can Hurt a State’s Diplomacy, and Honesty Provides the Ability to Communicate
    • CHAPTER 2 The Failure of Chinese Diplomacy, 1950
      (pp. 19-42)

      At the end of World War II, the United States proposed, and the Soviet Union accepted, a division of Korea into two occupation zones. The Japanese, who had occupied Korea, were to surrender to the Soviets north of the 38th parallel, and to the United States south of that line. At the time of the Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945, Soviet forces were in Korea, as far south as the parallel, and U.S. forces would not arrive for another few days. After unsuccessful negotiations, the division of the country became further entrenched with elections in the south in May...

    • CHAPTER 3 A Reputational Theory of Diplomacy
      (pp. 43-72)

      As the previous chapter illustrated, states that recently have been caught bluffing have difficulty convincing others that this time is different than the previous one, that they consider the present issues more important and their present threats are not bluffs. Paradoxically, the existence of reputations for bluffing allows diplomacy sometimes to be credible; the desire to avoid a reputation for bluffing leads states to use diplomacy in a straightforward manner much of the time.

      This chapter presents a reputational theory of diplomacy. I show that diplomacy is effective precisely because it is so valuable. When states are irresolute, they are...

  6. Part III Evidence That Honesty Matters
    • CHAPTER 4 Reputations for Honesty and the Success of Diplomacy
      (pp. 75-110)

      Why can a state use diplomacy to change an adversary’s mind about its willingness to fight now over the particular issues at stake? In the previous chapter, I argued that the ability to use diplomacy is a boon to states; when a state’s diplomacy is effective, it attains its goals at little or no cost. States with reputations for honesty have incentives to use diplomacy honestly, in order to avoid acquiring reputations for bluffing, which would hurt their ability to use diplomacy in the near future. States’ incentive to use diplomacy honestly when they have reputations for honesty explains why...

    • CHAPTER 5 The Broader Importance of Reputations for Honesty
      (pp. 111-120)

      The previous chapter showed that this book’s theory of diplomacy predicts patterns of behavior that occur in real international disputes. This match between the theory and the data increases confidence in the theory as an explanation of diplomacy.

      While the previous chapter was concerned with “theory testing,” this one evaluates the broader importance of reputations for honesty from an empirical perspective. It also studies the effect of the balance of forces on dispute escalation. The theory and the empirical tests in chapters 3 and 4 show that states’ reputations for honesty have an important effect on their decisions about whether...

  7. Part IV Conclusion
    • CHAPTER 6 Conclusion
      (pp. 123-128)

      Few scholars would say that they are pessimistic about diplomacy, but many theories suggest otherwise. In particular, many realists and deterrence theorists argue that military might has a substantial influence on crisis behavior, and that diplomacy and deterrence work—but primarily for the strong, and much less for the weak. Their arguments suggest that diplomacy itself is either superfluous or ineffective.

      This book explains when and why diplomacy has value beyond military strength in allowing states to attain their foreign-policy goals. To make this argument, I reconceptualize diplomacy and deterrence as forms of “cheap talk.” In common parlance, cheap talk...

  8. Part V Appendixes
    • APPENDIX A Characterization of the Equilibrium
      (pp. 131-145)
    • APPENDIX B The Impact of Communication on War and on Welfare
      (pp. 146-148)
    • APPENDIX C Implications of the Theory
      (pp. 149-150)
    • APPENDIX D The Effects of Power Status, Contiguity, and Democracy
      (pp. 151-152)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 153-160)
  10. Index
    (pp. 161-164)