Books by Christopher Gelpi

The Power of Legitimacy: Assessing the Role of Norms in Crisis Bargaining

Author(s): Christopher Gelpi
Publication date: 2010-01-10
ISBN: 0691146713, ISBN-13: 9780691146713

A major departure from mainstream security studies, this book mounts a thoughtful challenge to realist theories of crisis bargaining. It tests the proposition that normative standards of behavior influence state actions in security-related conflicts. Specifically, it examines the construction of bilateral norms as the settlements of security-related disputes and the effects these settlements have on subsequent interactions over the same issue.

Drawing on institutionalist arguments about the informational impact of norms, Christopher Gelpi contends that norms act as signals that give meaning to other states' behavior in at least two important ways. First, they provide a mutually acceptable focal point for limiting both demands and concessions. Second, security norms change the context in which coercive behavior is interpreted. That is, norms can cause coercive behavior to be interpreted as punishment rather than aggression.

Gelpi tests this argument against its most prominent competitor--a realist model of crisis bargaining--in three stages. First, he uses a probit analysis to perform a quantitative test on the population of 122 reinitiated international crises between 1929 and 1979. Second, he conducts detailed case studies of the Cienfuegos Submarine Conflict and the Six Day War. Finally, he conducts a second statistical analysis examining the conditions under which security norms will succeed or fail. While hypotheses derived from realist coercion theory receive only mixed support, Gelpi finds strong evidence that states can and do construct normative standards that guide their behavior in international crises.

Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion and Casualties in Military Conflicts

Author(s): Christopher Gelpi, Peter D. Feaver, Jason Reifler
Publication date: 2009-03-01
ISBN: 0691139083, ISBN-13: 9780691139081

From the Korean War to the current conflict in Iraq, Paying the Human Costs of War examines the ways in which the American public decides whether to support the use of military force. Contrary to the conventional view, the authors demonstrate that the public does not respond reflexively and solely to the number of casualties in a conflict. Instead, the book argues that the public makes reasoned and reasonable cost-benefit calculations for their continued support of a war based on the justifications for it and the likelihood it will succeed, along with the costs that have been suffered in casualties. Of these factors, the book finds that the most important consideration for the public is the expectation of success. If the public believes that a mission will succeed, the public will support it even if the costs are high. When the public does not expect the mission to succeed, even small costs will cause the withdrawal of support.

Providing a wealth of new evidence about American attitudes toward military conflict, Paying the Human Costs of War offers insights into a controversial, timely, and ongoing national discussion.

Choosing Your Battles: American Civil-Military Relations and the Use of Force

Author(s): Peter D. Feaver, Christopher Gelpi
Publication date: 2005-09-11
ISBN: 0691124272, ISBN-13: 9780691124278

America's debate over whether and how to invade Iraq clustered into civilian versus military camps. Top military officials appeared reluctant to use force, the most hawkish voices in government were civilians who had not served in uniform, and everyone was worried that the American public would not tolerate casualties in war. This book shows that this civilian-military argument--which has characterized earlier debates over Bosnia, Somalia, and Kosovo--is typical, not exceptional. Indeed, the underlying pattern has shaped U.S. foreign policy at least since 1816. The new afterword by Peter Feaver and Christopher Gelpi traces these themes through the first two years of the current Iraq war, showing how civil-military debates and concerns about sensitivity to casualties continue to shape American foreign policy in profound ways.


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