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Trusting EnemiesInterpersonal Relationships in International Conflict$
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Nicholas J. Wheeler

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199696475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199696475.001.0001

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Trust, Signalling, and International Relations

Trust, Signalling, and International Relations

(p.25) 1 Trust, Signalling, and International Relations
Trusting Enemies

Nicholas J. Wheeler

Oxford University Press

The purpose of this chapter is to show the limits of existing IR approaches to the question of how leaders can accurately interpret signals that are aimed at communicating their peaceful intent. The book’s argument is that it requires trust between sender and receiver for accurate signal interpretation and that this trust develops through face-to-face interaction and the process of bonding it makes possible. The five approaches to trust-building that are discussed in the chapter are: (1) ‘leap in the dark’; (2) incrementalist; (3) identity; (4) individualist; and (5) interpersonal. The chapter argues that none of these approaches adequately explains how trust can build between enemies, and hence how signals that are aimed at communicating peaceful intent can be accurately interpreted.

Keywords:   trust, trust-building, peaceful intent, signalling, interpersonal

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