Trust in International Cooperation

Trust in International Cooperation : International Security Institutions, Domestic Politics and American Multilateralism

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Trust in International Cooperation challenges conventional wisdoms concerning the part which trust plays in international cooperation and the origins of American multilateralism. Brian C. Rathbun questions rational institutionalist arguments, demonstrating that trust precedes rather than follows the creation of international organizations. Drawing on social psychology, he shows that individuals placed in the same structural circumstances show markedly different propensities to cooperate based on their beliefs about the trustworthiness of others. Linking this finding to political psychology, Rathbun explains why liberals generally pursue a more multilateral foreign policy than conservatives, evident in the Democratic Party's greater support for a genuinely multilateral League of Nations, United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Rathbun argues that the post-World War Two bipartisan consensus on multilateralism is a myth, and differences between the parties are growing continually starker.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 272 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9781139181303

Table of contents

1. Circles of trust: reciprocity, community and multilateralism; 2. Anarchical social capital: a social psychological theory of trust, international cooperation and institutional design; 3. The open circle: the failure of the League of Nations; 4. Squaring the circle: the birth of the United Nations; 5. Closing the circle: the negotiation of the North Atlantic Treaty; 6. Coming full circle: fear, terrorism and the future of American multilateralism.
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Review quote

'The role for 'trust' in world politics is often denied, taken for granted, or simply overlooked. This book asks excellent questions about how, when, and why states trust each other - and when they don't. Paying close attention to both domestic politics and international relations, Rathbun covers the most important cases of negotiating world order in the [twentieth] century and shows the important contribution of trust in all of them, often in counter-intuitive ways. It opens a door between history, psychology, and foreign policy that should never have been closed in the first place.' Ian Hurd, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Northwestern University 'Rathbun makes a compelling case for the importance of generalized trust in international relations. He shows how fundamental beliefs about whether other people tend to be trustworthy underlie attitudes towards international institutions. The book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the psychological foundations of current foreign policy debates.' Andrew Kydd, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Wisconsin 'In this important new work, Rathbun offers a fascinating account of the origins and logic of multilateral security cooperation in the 20th century. It will stimulate new debates about international cooperation and invigorate our historical understanding of the origins of American-era multilateralism.' G. John Ikenberry, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University 'How trust explains not only people's attitudes toward multilateralism but the design of international organizations is the subject of this highly original and timely book. It offers an important challenge to rationalist models of institutional creation, and is a must read for anyone interested in questions of world order and global governance.' Deborah Welch Larson, Professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles
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About Brian C. Rathbun

Brian C. Rathbun is an Associate Professor in the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Partisan Interventions: European Party Politics and Peace Enforcement in the Balkans (2004) as well as articles in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Security Studies and the European Journal of International Relations among others.
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