Reputation and International Politics

Overview

By approaching an important foreign policy issue from a new angle, Jonathan Mercer comes to a startling, controversial discovery: a nation's reputation is not worth fighting for. He presents a comprehensive examination of what defines a reputation, when it is likely to emerge in international politics, and with what consequences.

Mercer examines reputation formation in a series of crises before World War I, testing competing arguments—one from deterrence theory, the other from ...

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Overview

By approaching an important foreign policy issue from a new angle, Jonathan Mercer comes to a startling, controversial discovery: a nation's reputation is not worth fighting for. He presents a comprehensive examination of what defines a reputation, when it is likely to emerge in international politics, and with what consequences.

Mercer examines reputation formation in a series of crises before World War I, testing 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. Throughout history, wars have been fought in the name of reputation. Mercer rebuts this politically powerful argument, shows that reputations form differently than we thought, and offers policy advice to decision-makers.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Mercer's startling challenge to accepted wisdom deserves wide attention."—Patrick Morgan, The Mershon Review

"A book full of fascinating and suggestive insights into the cognitive processes relevant to international relations."—Steve Rosen, American Political Science Review

"This imaginative and provocative book is an important contribution to a long-neglected question and is essential reading for any historian or international relations theorist interested in the role of reputation in international politics."—Jack Levy, International History Review

"This excellent book is well written, detailed, and thought-provoking."—Choice

"Mercer's argument is a welcome addition to the theoretical literature because it represents the first clear statement of a non-rational, choice-based theory of reputations."—Paul Huth, Security Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801474897
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2010
  • Series: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Reputation and Deterrence Theory 14
2 Reputation and Psychology 44
3 The First Moroccan Crisis 74
4 The Bosnia-Herzegovina Crisis 110
5 The Agadir Crisis 154
6 Conclusion 212
Index 229
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