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Warning about War
Conflict, Persuasion and Foreign Policy

$99.99 (C)

  • Publication planned for: October 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108486071

$ 99.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • What does it take for warnings about violent conflict and war to be listened to, believed and acted upon? Why are warnings from some sources noticed and largely accepted, while others are ignored or disbelieved? These questions are central to considering the feasibility of preventing harm to the economic and security interests of states. Challenging conventional accounts that tend to blame decision-makers' lack of receptivity and political will,  the authors offer a new theoretical framework explaining how distinct 'paths of persuasion' are shaped by a select number of factors, including conflict characteristics, political contexts, and source-recipient relations. This is the first study to systematically integrate persuasion attempts by analysts, diplomats and senior officials with those by journalists and NGO staff. Its ambitious comparative design encompasses three states (the US, UK, and Germany) and international organisations (the UN, EU, and OSCE) and looks in depth at four conflict cases: Rwanda (1994), Darfur (2003), Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014).

    • Provides the first comprehensive answer to the warning-response problem in conflict prevention and peace studies
    • Provides a theoretical framework for studying persuasion in foreign policy, which could be applied beyond conflict warnings
    • Gives a comparative study of states and international organisations as responders/recipients of warnings
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Meyer, De Franco, and Otto show that the problem of warning needs to be conceptualized broadly and seen as part of an interactive foreign policy process, with important warners being not only government officials, but NGOs, the media, and informal advisors. The sophisticated analysis is supported by detailed case studies drawing on a wide variety of unusual sources, and the result is a book of great interest.' Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor, Columbia University and author of How Statesmen Think

    'Warning about War is essential reading for all those who study and work in the field of conflict and atrocity prevention. It makes a significant contribution to our understanding of when warnings about violence are heeded, and what warners could do to make their messages more persuasive. Meyer, de Franco and Otto argue that warnings about conflict take place in the wider context of foreign policy-making, and they provide an innovative conceptual and theoretical framework for explaining when and why warnings have an effect on foreign policy-makers. Case studies include the Rwandan genocide and the more recent Russian-Ukrainian conflict.' Karen Smith, London School of Economics and Political Science

    'A fascinating study of how and when warnings about future conflict are listened to. The authors show that warnings are rarely as clear or as numerous in the actual event as they later seem in hindsight, making the job of warning of and preventing conflicts and humanitarian crises even more difficult than many believe.' Erik J. Dahl, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey

    'There has been a surge of academic interest in improving conflict predictions, often based on the premise that early warning can help promote early action to prevent conflict outbreaks or limit escalation, but often very little attention to how policy makers respond to prediction and when it is likely to motivate action. Popular discourse often tend to see conflicts and disasters as predictable, and criticize politicians for failing to act, with limited attention to the problems of hindsight bias and the difficulties in predicting conflict ex ante. This book summarizes a sustained research program on when warnings are likely to lead to action and what makes warnings more or less persuasive. It will deserves to be read by all scholars interested in conflict prediction, conflict management, and how to bridge the gap between research and policy.' Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, University of Essex and Peace Research Institute, Oslo

    'Warning about War: Conflict, Persuasion and Foreign Policy makes a tremendously valuable contribution to the study of and strategy for conflict prevention, and the ‘warning-response gap’ in particular. It draws on extensive research, integrates literatures across subfields too often treated separately, and builds its analysis through mixed methodologies. In so doing it both advances theoretical understanding of these crucial issues and delineates policy recommendations to help close the warning-response gap.' Bruce W. Jentleson, William Preston Few Professor of Public Policy, Duke University

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: October 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108486071
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 156 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.58kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus. 7 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from October 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. Conflict warnings as persuasion attempts
    2. A theory of conflict warning as persuasion in foreign policy
    3. Inside-up warnings within states and international organisations
    4. Outside-in warnings I: persuasion by NGOs
    5. Outside-in warnings II: persuasion by journalists and media organisations
    6. (Mis-)identifying warnings and the problem of hindsight bias: the case of the Rwandan Genocide
    7. What makes individual officials persuasive warners? The case of the 2004 Darfur crisis
    8. Explaining differences in persuasiveness: the EU members states and the 2008 Five-Day War in Georgia
    9. Warning within EU institutions and the Ukrainian-Russian conflict of 2013–14
    10. When are warnings heeded and what can warners do?

  • Authors

    Christoph O. Meyer, King's College London
    Christoph O. Meyer is Professor of European and International Politics at King's College London. He is the author of The Quest for a European Strategic Culture (2007) and the editor (with Chiara De Franco) of Forecasting, Warning and Responding to Transnational Risks (2011). Meyer is currently co-leading an ESRC-funded project on learning and intelligence use in UK, German and EU foreign policy.

    Chiara De Franco, University of Southern Denmark
    Chiara De Franco is Associate Professor in International Relations and deputy head of the Centre for War Studies at the University of Southern Denmark. She is the author of Media Power and the Transformation of War (2012) and director of Protection Complexity: how EU, UN and AU practice protection of civilians, an international research project funded by the Danish Research Council.

    Florian Otto, Control Risks, Frankfurt
    Florian Otto is Associate Director at global risk consultancy Control Risks. Previously, he led the country risk analysis on Europe and Central Asia of Verisk Maplecroft. His research has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals such as Media, War & Conflict. He also regularly comments on current affairs and his analysis has appeared in various trade publications.

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