Reframing, Remorse, and Reassurance: Remedial Work in Diplomatic Crises

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This paper suggests a framework for studying how remedial actions are deployed following diplomatic crisis. On the basis of thirty-four case studies and twenty-one interviews with senior statespersons, we offer a novel typology of remedial strategies employed for diffusing interstate tension and pinpoint the various calculations taken by decision-makers in performing them. The analysis reveals three primary strategies for restoring diplomatic relations, the last of which was neglected thus far in the literature: reframing, wherein state actors negotiate the definition of transgressions and their responsibility for its occurrence; remorse, wherein the accused actors acknowledge ranging degrees of responsibility for committing wrongdoing; and finally, reassurance, wherein actors channel the remedial focus to the future relationship between the involved parties. Moreover, statespersons articulated several considerations taken into account when selecting a specific remedial strategy: the perceived value of the offended party, domestic political criticism, levels of publicity, adjusting a specific remedy to the target audience, and self-image. We conclude by discussing the value of remedial work for the study of diplomatic crises.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberorab018
JournalForeign Policy Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021

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