I’m headed to SUNY Buffalo this week for a min-conference on Mathematical Modeling of Political Behavior (thanks for the invite, Phil Arena), and to help tie my hands against spending all my time editing them, I’m putting the slides for my presentation, “Showing Restraint, Signaling Resolve,” up here on the blog.
I’ve presented this paper around quite a bit (see here and here)—and since it’s under review, I’m not going to put it up here—but the essential point is that coalition partners—specifically, the desire to ensure their cooperation—can have a profound impact on bargaining, signals, and the probability of war. Against strong targets, the desire to keep a skittish partner in the fold discourages a coalition leader from bluffing; so, although its partner “waters down” the threat, it helps discourage war. Against weak targets, preserving military cooperation discourages a coalition leader from signaling its resolve; instead, it acts like an irresolute state, tempting the coalition’s target to risk war. As it happens, this pattern shows up pretty strongly in the data (which, trust me, was no small relief), and while the empirics aren’t in the version currently under review, I’m sure they’ll show up somewhere eventually…
And it appears that Buffalo’s going to be a bit, ah, chilly: