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date: 22 November 2019

Summary and Keywords

Foreign policy often involves two or more countries finding a path from contested interests to a peaceful agreement that incorporates the political and security desires of the relevant parties. In almost every case, the possibility of armed conflict as an alternative means of settling disagreements casts its shadow. Recent research on foreign policy can be well understood as following the view, first articulated by Thomas C. Schelling, that all international relations is really about negotiations and bargaining. This worldview brings a number of aspects of international politics into a natural and coherent framework. We can understand what leads countries to fail to reach peaceful solutions when disagreements arise, how the issues on the agenda influence the content and success of negotiations, and how domestic constituencies shape the ability of leaders to make agreements. Equally important, we can understand the trade-offs between short-term negotiating advantages and long-term issues of reputation.

Keywords: bargaining, diplomacy, linkage, enforcement, participation, audience costs, reputation

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