Friday, October 23, 2020 12:00 PM
Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs
Comparative Politics and International Relations presents
A Point of Principle:
The Role of Rhetoric in International Bargaining
How does rhetoric affect international bargaining? In this
project, I provide evidence that when countries rely on moral over nonmoral
rhetoric, they decrease the probability of peaceful compromise and increase the
probability of a dispute escalating with military action. This language
operates through two pathways. First, moral language prejudices domestic
audiences against compromise, which makes it more difficult for politicians to
de-escalate the disagreement. Second, principled rhetoric provokes the other
side to dig in their heels and resist compromise during negotiations.
Opposition to compromise on both sides—a product of moral rhetoric—increases
the probability that at least one side will resort to force to resolve the
dispute. On the other hand, nonmoral language defuses the situation and avoids
dispute escalation. The project examines the effects of rhetoric on negotiation
breakdown and dispute escalation in a case study of the Falklands/Malvinas
dispute and a survey experiment of U.S. citizens.
Dr. Abigail S. Post
of National Security and Political Science
Abby Post is Assistant Professor of Political
Science and National Security at Anderson University in Indiana. She studies
the dynamics of coercive bargaining in international relations, mostly from a
psychological perspective. Her current book project examines the impact of a
government leader’s moral language on the willingness of a state to compromise
during international negotiations. Her dissertation, “It’s the Principle at
Stake: Rhetoric and Compromise in International Bargaining,” received the John
McCain Dissertation Award in 2019. Her research has been published in The Journal of Conflict Resolution
and International Interactions. Post holds a Ph.D. in Foreign Affairs
from the University of Virginia.
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