The Costs of Conversation: Obstacles to Peace Talks in Wartime, Oriana Skylar Mastro
Wars begin when diplomacy fails. And in most cases of interstate conflict, wars end after diplomacy resumes. Research on war has made tremendous progress in understanding why states abandon the bargaining table and resort to fighting even when a peaceful and less costly deal theoretically exists. Much less has been said about when and why belligerents choose to return to that table. We consequently have limited capacity to understand conflict resolution or to offer practical counsel to policymakers.
In The Costs of Conversation, Oriana Skylar Mastro takes a significant step forward in addressing these issues and in challenging a common yet empirically dubious view in international relations scholarship that wartime diplomacy is “cheap talk.” Mastro outlines what she calls the Costly Conversations Thesis (CCT), which explains why belligerents adopt an open or closed diplomatic posture during war—that is, whether or not they are willing to engage in direct and unconditional negotiations. The key claim of the CCT is that states may refuse to negotiate while fighting because they fear that it is costly in signaling one's weakness and a reduction in one's war aims.
Two factors guide this calculation. The first is the risk of adverse in
To continue reading, see options above.
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
The Atomic Bomb Saved Lives
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 Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY
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.
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.