Words of War: Diplomacy as a Tool of Conflict | 2022 | Events
When, why, and how do belligerents choose to negotiate in the midst of war? I argue that wartime negotiations are an underappreciated and highly strategic activity that not only help to settle wars, but also to manage, fight, and potentially win them. I outline a theory of wartime negotiations that explains when negotiations will occur during conflict, as well as their likelihood of being sincere (and thus more likely to end a war) or insincere (and thus more likely to promote the war effort). I support my claims using a combination of statistical analysis of daily-level data on fighting and negotiating over two centuries of interstate war. My work challenges an assumption held by both scholars and practitioners that it "cannot hurt" for third-party actors to promote diplomacy during war and contradicts a long-standing belief in international relations research that wartime negotiations are a mechanical reflection of the battlefield that have no strategic value beyond ending hostilities.
Eric is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at UCLA. He received his B.A. in International Relations at New York University, where he was valedictorian of the College of Arts and Science. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at Stanford University and was also Zukerman Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Sciences at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). Eric’s research focuses on interstate diplomacy, information gathering and sharing during crises, and applications of machine learning and text analysis techniques to declassified documents related to conflict and foreign policy. His dissertation received the 2018 Kenneth Waltz Prize from the American Political Science Association’s International Security Section. This work is currently being converted into a book manuscript that develops a theory and creates new quantitative data regarding the role and strategic use of negotiations in the midst of war.