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Essays on Public Resistance to Rapprochement

Han, Jungmin (2024) Essays on Public Resistance to Rapprochement. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The realm of international politics remains marked by longstanding conflicts between state actors. These intense rivalries often result in adverse outcomes for their citizens, including direct threats to physical safety, reductions in civil liberties, and the promotion of aggressive public behaviors. Throughout history, numerous state leaders including Yitzhak Rabin of Israel, Barack Obama of the United States, and Moon Jae-in of South Korea, have endeavored to break the cycle of international rivalry. Yet, their peace initiatives encountered fierce domestic backlash fueled by public resistance, ultimately failing to establish enduring peace. Then, why does the public resist rapprochement with a foreign adversary? Under what political contexts can a state leader secure public support for a conciliatory policy? Through a series of three papers, this dissertation aims to answer these questions with different analytical approaches. In the first paper, I examine the heterogeneous effects of reciprocated cooperation between international rivals on enhancing public support for rapprochement. I find that the peace-making role of reciprocated cooperation depends largely on the individuals’ partisan affiliation with the ruling party, as well as their identification of the adversary as the same ethnic group. In the second paper, I advance a theory on how interstate behaviors involving third-party states can change the public perception of a foreign adversary and a conciliatory policy. This research demonstrates that interstate cooperation that encompasses a third-party state, such as engagement between an ally and a rival and between an ally and a rival’s ally, can alleviate the sense of confrontation between in- and out-groups at the international level, thereby reducing the adversary’s negative image and public resistance to rapprochement. Finally, in the third paper, I explore domestic conditions under which a state leader can secure public support for rapprochement, specifically by introducing an enemy’s reciprocal cooperation. I find that, within a polarized environment, reciprocated cooperation significantly increases public backing for a conciliatory policy by increasing the perceived competence of the ruling party. Taken together, these three papers provide novel theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence to evaluate under what political contexts citizens support or resist reconciliation with a foreign adversary.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Han, Jungminjungmin.han@pitt.edujuh85
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairColaresi,
Committee MemberSavun,
Committee MemberFinkel,
Committee MemberMattes,
Date: 13 May 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 March 2024
Approval Date: 13 May 2024
Submission Date: 4 April 2024
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 187
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Politics and Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: international rivalry, rapprochement, public opinion
Date Deposited: 13 May 2024 13:48
Last Modified: 13 May 2024 13:48


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