Who Blinked? Performing Resolve (or Lack thereof) in Face-to-face Diplomacy
Publication in refereed journal


摘要Leaders often emerge from a face-to-face interaction with an implicit understanding on who is expected to stand firm and, conversely, to back down, on a disputed issue. How is that possible? In this article, I develop a theory of resolve performance. I argue that expressions of resolve are speech acts. To establish resolve, leaders must perform such acts competently, there and then, both verbally and behaviorally. A successful (or what speech act theory calls “felicitous”) performance also depends on the reaction of one’s counterpart. By virtue of the intersubjective belief they share about their respective performances—who has carried the day and who has “blinked”—a “focal point” often arises regarding how they are expected to proceed on the disputed issue. I elaborate on several types of speech acts leaders use to perform resolve (threats, implicatures, assertions, and challenges), and illustrate my theory with an in-depth case study on the two days of meetings between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961. The leaders left the summit with the focal point that Kennedy was irresolute and Khrushchev was emboldened to make a move on Berlin. I discuss how such a focal point led to escalation of tensions between the two superpowers and what can be learned about the causal significance of face-to-face diplomacy in international politics.
著者Seanon S. Wong
期刊名稱Security Studies
頁次419 - 449

上次更新時間 2021-28-11 於 00:24