Essence of Victory in International Relations
Perceptions of victory and defeat in crises and wars appear to be heavily influenced by prior biases, the subjective experience of the drama itself, and the manipulation of opinion. These act differently on different groups, and hence can produce remarkably different evaluations of the same event. These perceptions, over and above the material terms of settlement, are crucial because they make or break political careers, destroy or solidify alliances, and leave a legacy of praise and blame that shapes history itself. Understanding these sources of bias is vital for policy-makers who wish to hold on to power during and after crises, and for the public and media, if they are to hold democratic leaders accountable. The attached paper, forthcoming in Security Studies, presents the model using the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis as a case study. In the seminar I look forward to discussing this and the wider ongoing book project, which examines the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the 1973 Yom-Kippur War, the 1993 intervention in Somalia, and the current War on Terrorism.
Published: Friday, September 24, 2004
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