Reputation And International Politics

Reputation And International Politics

  • Winner of the 1997 Edgar S. Furniss Award (Mershon Center for International Security Studies)

By approaching an important foreign policy issue from a new angle, Jonathan Mercer comes to a startling, controversial discovery: a nation's reputation is not worth fighting for. He presents the most comprehensive examination to date of what defines a reputation, when it is likely to emerge in international politics, and with what consequences. Mercer examines reputation formation in a series of crises before World War I. He tests competing arguments, one from deterrence theory, the other from social psychology, to see which better predicts and explains how reputations form. Extending his findings to address recent crises such as the Gulf War, he also considers how culture, gender, and nuclear weapons affect reputation. Throughout history, wars have been fought in the name of reputation. Mercer rebuts this politically powerful argument, shows that reputations form differently than we thought, and offers policy advice to decision-makers.