The Signaling Dynamics of Channeling Military Interventions through the UNSC: A Game-Theoretic Approach




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The United States (U.S.) relation towards multilateralism is often characterized by ambivalence; while it sometimes decides to gain United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approval for its military intervention, other times it intervenes without its approval. The rationalist information argument, which was mainly shaped by Thompson (2009), presents one explanation to this pattern. Nonetheless, Thompson’s theory neglects to explain, inter alia, why states can differ in their reactions towards the same institutional decision. The paper at hand extends his argument theoretically by setting up a game-theoretic model. The model supports some of the general dynamics he describes, but also provides new insights into the strategic interaction between a coercing state and third-party states. It shows that coercing states only turn to the UNSC when the associated benefits exceed the costs and that their actions are only occasionally effective in distinguishing the motives of states.



United Nations. Security Council, Intervention (International law), Game theory, Multinational armed forces


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