Populist peacemaking: Trump's peace initiatives in the Middle East and the Balkans

Dana M. Landau, Lior Lehrs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


With the rise of populist leaders around the world, populism's impact on foreign policy and international affairs has come into focus. Adding to this literature, we propose the concept of 'populist peacemaking', in which key tenets of populism, in style and substance, are projected onto the sphere of international mediation. We offer an analytical framework for understanding populist peacemaking consisting of three features. Firstly, populist peacemaking is characterized by a rejection of the 'peacemaking elites' and their established rules and practices, including international norms, a refutation of context-specific knowledge, and a clean-slate approach that disregards past peacemaking attempts and alienates other international mediators. Secondly, populist peacemaking employs aggrandized rhetoric and symbolism that puts the mediator - rather than the conflict parties - in the spotlight, thus integrating domestic politics into peacemaking.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2001-2019
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers as well as the editor at International Affairs for engaging so constructively with our work. The article also benefited greatly from feedback received by participants and discussants at the Swiss Political Science Association annual conference 2022 and the International Studies Association annual convention 2022. Research for this article was partly funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The two authors contributed equally to this piece.

Publisher Copyright:
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  • Donald Trump
  • Israel-Palestine
  • Kosovo-Serbia
  • mediation
  • peacemaking
  • populism


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