Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

Face-to-Face Diplomacy: Social Neuroscience and International Relations, Marcus Holmes

Reviewed by David Traven

BUY

 

According to many international relations (IR) scholars, uncertainty about intentions is a key cause of war in the international system. In The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, John Mearsheimer argued that because “uncertainty about intentions is unavoidable,” “states can never be sure that other states do not have offensive intentions to go along with their offensive capabilities” ([New York: W.W. Norton, 2001], 31). As a result, states have strong incentives to try to maintain their security by increasing their power—a process that leads to the security dilemma.

In this trailblazing piece of scholarship, Marcus Holmes shows that this pessimism about the ability of states to understand the intentions of others is unwarranted. Drawing on an exhaustive review of recent findings in neuroscience, Holmes shows that face-to-face diplomacy can help states understand each other’s intentions in ways that help them avoid the security dilemma and promote international cooperation.

For many IR scholars, talk is cheap. As a result, there is a strong tendency to view face-to-face interaction as a relatively useless form of communication. In Face-to-Face Diplomacy, Holmes argues that this view flies in the face of diplomatic practices going back to at least

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

WEBINAR
The History and Future of Planetary Threats: Fareed Zakaria’s Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World
December 8, 2020

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

Editor’s spotlight

Voting and the Electorate

The Racial Gap in Wait Times: Why Minority Precincts Are Underserved by Local Election Officials
STEPHEN PETTIGREW

The Impact of Voter Fraud Claims on Voter Registration Reform Legislation
MARGARET GROARKE

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Presidential Selection and Democracy   PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS