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"What's so special about the special relationship?"

Walsh, James I. (2003) "What's so special about the special relationship?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Nashville, TN. (Unpublished)

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    Most analyses of persuasion in politics explain its success or failure as a function of shared values or norms. Shared political values such as democratic institutions, systems of common law, and language are often cited as an important source of the special relationship. Shared norms or values may be an important reason why attempts at persuasion succeed. But I want to argue in the next section that persuasion also can occur without reference to them. Drawing of rational choice analysis of the role of communication in bargaining, I develop a model of persuasion that depends on two elements: causal uncertainty and commitment. Attempts at persuasion are most likely to succeed when the target is uncertain about the net benefits that will flow from available policy choices and trusts that the persuader shares similar interests in the outcome of their action. The subsequent section evaluates the plausibility of this understanding of persuasion through an analysis of the negotiation of the North Atlantic Treaty. The North Atlantic Treaty involved a fundamental change in American foreign policy, committing the United States to the defense of continental Europe, but was by instigated British rather than American political leaders. The success of this episode of persuasion is consistent with the theoretical rationale advanced in the paper. British attempts to persuade the United States to ally with western Europe only succeeded when American decision makers were uncertain about which course of action open to them would best secure their goals, and were assured that British and other European countries were themselves committed to providing for their own defense in important ways. The concluding section discusses possible alternative explanations of the case and sketches some of the implications of the theory advanced here for theorizing about international politics.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    Countries > U.K.
    Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    Other international institutions > NATO
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2003 (8th), March 27-29, 2003
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2006
    Page Range: p. 18
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:43

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