Coercion through IOs: The security council and the logic of information transmission

  • Thompson A
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Why do powerful states often channel coercive policies through inter- national organizations ~IOs!? The article explains this phenomenon by theorizing the political advantages of working through a neutral institution, defined as one with heterogeneous and representative member preferences+ The argument centers on the notion of strategic information transmission+ IO involvement sends information about the coercer’s intentions and the consequences of the coercive policy to foreign lead- ers and their publics, information that determines the level of international support offered to the coercing state+ The logic helps explain why the United Nations Secu- rity Council plays a unique role in approving and disapproving the use of force+ A case study of the 1990–91 GulfWar shows how these information transmission mech- anisms work in practice and that the rationalist information argument provides more traction than a legitimacy-based alternative explanation+

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  • Alexander Thompson

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