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Unformatted text preview: dible can build valuable alliances because potential allies will not fear betrayal or abandonment. A country whose threats are credible can deter many enemies and prevent costly wars rather than fight them. Every country strives to make its threats and promises credible, but how is this done? What causes credibility?¶ Statesmen, scholars, and pundits believe they know how credibility is won and lost. The conventional wisdom holds that credibility depends on a country’s past behavior —its history of keeping or breaking commitments. Like people who keep their word, countries that keep their promises will be believed when they issue new assurances. And like people who casually break their promises, countries that renege on their commitments soon discover that their promises carry no weight. In international politics, it seems, countries must keep their promises and carry out their threats to preserve their credibility, even if doing so exacts serious costs in the short term.¶ This book argues that the conventional wisdom about credibility is wrong. A country’s credibil...
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- Summer '12