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Statements of Resolve
Achieving Coercive Credibility in International Conflict

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  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316621387

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  • Statements of resolve - in which leaders indicate that their country is committed to a position and will not back down - are a fixture of international conflict. However, scholars have not agreed on how much these statements affect conflict outcomes or which conditions give them coercive credibility. Statements of Resolve argues that an important and underappreciated factor influencing the impact of resolved statements is the ability to follow through. Roseanne W. McManus explains how adversaries analyze a leader's ability to follow through on statements and shows that perceptions of the ability to follow through are influenced not only by military capabilities but also by less obvious domestic political conditions. Through rigorous statistical tests based on quantitative coding of US presidential statements and case studies of three Cold War conflicts, this book shows that resolved statements can effectively coerce adversaries, but only when a sufficient physical and political ability is present.

    • Presents a theory based on rigorous formal modeling in an accessible way, catering for students without a mathematical background
    • Provides a comparison of several existing theories about the effectiveness of resolved statements, so readers can gain insight and weigh the theories' strengths and weaknesses
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    Awards

    • Honourable mention, 2018 Best Book Award, Conflict Processes Section, American Political Science Association
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The factors that influence the credibility of leaders is a critical topic for international politics. In this fascinating new book, Roseanne W. McManus shows what makes leaders credible, and why. Her multi-method approach significantly advances our understanding of credibility and conflict by demonstrating that statements of resolve are most effective at influencing adversaries when leaders have both the military and domestic political capacity to follow through on their public statements. I highly recommend this book to all interested in international politics.' Michael Horowitz, University of Pennsylvania

    'When do statements of resolve constitute credible signals of state intentions, and when are they merely cheap talk? This multi-method study demonstrates that a state's military and political capacity to follow through on coercive threats plays a major role in influencing the perceptions and behavior of international adversaries. Statements of Resolve is an important theoretical and empirical contribution with significant policy implications.' Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors' Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University, New Jersey

    'Do international adversaries consider the president's ability to follow through with threats when responding to the US? Do American domestic circumstances enter into their calculations? McManus addresses these questions by measuring observable domestic political factors, such as the president's popularity and the hawkishness of veto players, to show - through able and careful quantitative analyses as well as enlightening case studies - that adversaries attend to domestic factors in evaluating the credibility of presidential statements. Her case studies of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Reagan's relations with the Soviet Union, the US during the Vietnam War show how other countries attend to varying constraints presidents face. Those interested in domestic politics and foreign policy and in international bargaining, in particular, will place Statements of Resolve very high on their lists of 'must-reads'.' Glenn H. Palmer, Executive Director of the Peace Science Society and Professor of Political Science, Penn State University

    'Statements of Resolve significantly expands the current scholarly understanding of how statements of resolve elicit changes in adversaries' behaviours. An ability to follow through is a previously overlooked, but important, determinant of the efficacy of such statements. McManus' pathbreaking theory and new data lay the ground for future studies on foreign policy analysis and strategic interactions between states, as well as useful policy implications regarding ideal conditions in which political leaders can make statements of resolve effectively.' Jin Mun Jeong, International Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316621387
    • dimensions: 230 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • contains: 20 b/w illus. 18 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    Part I. Background and Theory:
    1. The ability to follow through and other conditions for statements' effectiveness
    Part II. Data on Statements and Statistical Analysis:
    2. Data on statements and when they are made
    3. The general effectiveness of resolved statements
    4. Evidence regarding the conditions for statements' effectiveness
    5. Relationship among the conditions for statements' effectiveness
    Part III. Case Studies:
    6. Cuban missile crisis
    7. Refreezing of the Cold War
    8. Vietnam war
    Conclusion
    Appendices
    Appendix 1. Formal model of the effect of veto players
    Appendix 2. Formal model of the effect of security in office
    Appendix 3. Content analysis dictionary
    References
    Index.

  • Author

    Roseanne W. McManus, Baruch College, City University of New York
    Roseanne W. McManus is an Assistant Professor at Baruch College, City University of New York. Before earning her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, she worked for four years at the US Defense Intelligence Agency, eventually rising to the position of Senior Analyst. Her dissertation, on which this book was based, was runner-up for the Kenneth Waltz Dissertation Prize from the American Political Science Association International Security and Arms Control section. She has articles published or forthcoming in International Organization, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Peace Research, and International Interactions.

    Awards

    • Honourable mention, 2018 Best Book Award, Conflict Processes Section, American Political Science Association
    • Winner, 2019 Outstanding Book in Foreign Policy, International Studies Association

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