Roundtable 10-28 on Emotional Choices: How the Logic of Affect Shapes Coercive Diplomacy49 min read

The topic of emotions is receiving increased attention in the social sciences in general and international politics in particular; the latest and most thorough contribution is Robin Markwica’s Emotional Choices.[1] Our three reviewers are well positioned to analyze the book from different perspectives. Rose McDermott is one of the leading political psychologists of her generation, David Winter is a psychologist who has done path-breaking work applying the study of needs to foreign policy behavior, and Dustin Tingley is a younger eclectic scholar who has worked at the intersection of rational choice and evolutionary psychology.[2] All three praise the book. For Tingley, it is “an intellectual tour de force,” McDermott calls it “impressive,” and Winter says that it makes “important contributions.”

H-Diplo | ISSF Roundtable, Volume X, No. 28 (2019)

Editors: Robert Jervis and Diane Labrosse
Web/Production Editor: George Fujii

Robin Markwica.  Emotional Choices: How the Logic of Affect Shapes Coercive Diplomacy.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2018.  ISBN:  9780198794349 (hardcover, $94.00).

Published on 29 May 2019



© Copyright 2019 The Authors


Introduction by Robert Jervis, Columbia University

The topic of emotions is receiving increased attention in the social sciences in general and international politics in particular; the latest and most thorough contribution is Robin Markwica’s Emotional Choices.[1] Our three reviewers are well positioned to analyze the book from different perspectives. Rose McDermott is one of the leading political psychologists of her generation, David Winter is a psychologist who has done path-breaking work applying the study of needs to foreign policy behavior, and Dustin Tingley is a younger eclectic scholar who has worked at the intersection of rational choice and evolutionary psychology.[2] All three praise the book. For Tingley, it is “an intellectual tour de force,” McDermott calls it “impressive,” and Winter says that it makes “important contributions.”

Markwica begins with a comprehensive discussion of emotions that he then applies to crises, as he indicates in the subtitle: How the Logic of Affect Shapes Coercive Diplomacy. While the reviewers evaluate both parts of the book favorably, they also raise questions. McDermott notes that the typology of the five emotions that Markwica selects–fear, anger, hope, pride, and humiliation–can be questioned because some may be primary and others derivative and more affected by culture. Tingley argues that McDermott’s work on leaders indicates the impact of fairly stable traits, a finding that contrasts with Markwica’s treatment of decision-makers as more plastic.[3] Winter believes that the analysis could have been straightened by developing the ties between emotions and motives. The reviewers also note that crises and coercion are not the only site for emotions and that this focus may constrict our understanding.

All the reviewers note the importance of empathy, which Markwica notes but might have discussed in greater depth. All also agree that this is a major book that we can all learn from, a judgment with which I concur.


Robert Jervis is Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics at Columbia University and Founding Editor of ISSF. His most recent book is How Statesmen Think (Princeton University Press, 2017). He was President of the American Political Science Association in 2000-01 and is the founding editor of the International Security Studies Forum. He has received career achievement awards from the International Society of Political Psychology and ISA’s Security Studies Section, the Grawemeyer Award for the book with the Best Ideas for Improving World Order, and the National Academy of Science’s tri-annual award for behavioral sciences contributions to avoiding nuclear war. 

Robin Markwica is a Max Weber Fellow in the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute and a Research Associate in the Centre for International Studies at the University of Oxford. He obtained an M.Phil. in Modern History from the University of Cambridge (Corpus Christi College) and a D.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Oxford (Nuffield College). In-between, he held a research fellowship at Harvard University’s Department of Government. His research interests include International Relations theory, international security, war and peace, foreign policy analysis, constructivist and psychological approaches to International Relations, as well as emotion research.

Rose McDermott is the David and Mariana Fisher University Professor of International Relations at Brown University and a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She received her Ph.D. (Political Science) and M.A. (Experimental Social Psychology) from Stanford University and has taught at Cornell and UCSB.  She has held fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies and the Women and Public Policy Program, all at Harvard University. She has been a fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences twice. She is the author of five books, a co-editor of two additional volumes, and author of over two hundred academic articles across a wide variety of disciplines encompassing topics such as experimentation, emotion, and decision making, and the biological and genetic bases of political behavior.

Dustin Tingley is Professor of Government at Harvard University and Deputy Vice Provost for Advances in Learning. He received his Ph.D. (Politics) from Princeton University. He is the author of the book Sailing the Water’s Edge: The Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy (which won the 2016 Gladys M. Kammerer Award for the best book published during the previous calendar year in the field of U.S. national policy) and articles on a variety of topics in international relations as well as statistical methodology. He has also written on the intersection of rational choice theory and evolutionary psychology and has written a number of articles testing game theoretic models using human behavior in controlled laboratory settings.

David G. Winter is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Michigan, and a Research Professor at the University of New Mexico. He was educated at Harvard University and the University of Oxford. He is a personality and social psychologist with a special interest in political psychology and psychological aspects of war and peace, and is the author of Roots of War: Wanting Power, Seeing Threat, Justifying Force, published in 2018 by Oxford University Press. Previous publications include The Power Motive (Free Press, 1973), a translation of Otto Rank’s The Don Juan Legend (Princeton University Press, 1975), A New Case for the Liberal Arts (with David McClelland and Abigail Stewart, 1981), Personality: Analysis and Interpretation of Lives (McGraw-Hill, 1996), and numerous papers in academic journals. He is a past president of the International Society of Political Psychology.



Review by Rose McDermott, Brown University

Robin Markwica’s impressive book, Emotional Choices, tackles an important and challenging aspect of decision-making by providing an over-arching theoretical argument about the influence of emotion on both the process and content of coercive diplomacy. The influence of emotion on decision making has generated increasing interest and attention in the last decade or so as a useful corrective following the apex of the cognitive revolution in psychology in the 1990s. But most scholars have considered it too daunting to try to create a comprehensive approach, assuming that such a task would have to await a much more extensive ability to use MRI technology to locate the sources of emotional influence on decision.

But such technological innovation proved to be not necessary. Markwica has provided a thorough, clear, comprehensive and extremely well-organized account which seeks to combine insights from psychology as well as sociology to create an integrated approach of what he calls the “logic of affect.” Markwica is both cautious and humble in claiming that his approach is designed to supplement rather than supplant alternative logics of consequence that are favored by rationalists or the logics of appropriateness favored by constructivists. A simple possibility exists, of course, that different kinds of individuals simply prefer and self-select into different kinds of logic, both in their analysis and in their behavior and what we witness is more a separation based on such self-selection rather than a differentiation of types. But clarifying the types still proves analytically to be quite useful. Markwica concludes by saying that, “political decision-making is generally too complex to be explained through a single perspective” (261). But he does argue that “[e]motional choice theory… holds the promise of descriptive accuracy and richer explanations” (260).

These richer explanations involve a number of characteristics including culture, which incorporates norms and identities, as well as the core relational elements and appraisal and action tendencies that can offer behavioral indicators of underlying emotional states. This emphasis on using behavioral factors to access underlying emotional states offers useful traction into the notoriously tricky terrain of emotions, which are often experienced as entirely internal, impossible to label, and exquisitely difficult to communicate to others. The discussion focuses on five key emotions: fear, anger, hope, pride, and humiliation as they relate to issues of coercive diplomacy. Markwica’s motivating question is: “Why and under what conditions do political leaders reject coercive threats from stronger opponents, and when do they yield?” (3). The empirical exploration involves in-depth case studies of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s decision-making during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, which includes a discussion of President John F. Kennedy, as well as that of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Gulf Conflict in 1990-1 that also necessitates some discussion of President George H. W. Bush as well.

This fascinating book raises a number of additional thoughts and considerations which in no way detract from the achievement but may be useful in future work. First, I appreciated the characterization of emotion along a number of dimensions. In particular, Markwica notes the importance of separating transient emotional states both from more background mood states that may have lower level and longer term influences on behavior, as for example may emerge as a result of enduring depression or stress, as well as providing more specificity than more general approach and avoidance models. This definition also helps separate emotion itself from more enduring cultural constraints around the experience and expression of particular emotional states. Indeed, the explicit recognition of the cultural contribution to the expression of emotion alone constitutes a significant leap over previous literature that tends to bifurcate or conflate emotion and culture in ways that are not always analytically helpful. After all, culture is one of the most important of the environmental triggers that serve to activate specific emotions under particular circumstances, as for example cultural traditions and constraints can condition divergent responses to grief in the face of violent death, ranging from withdrawal to revenge. Second, it is noteworthy that the construction of emotion here includes both culture and biology (4) and that emotion is understood for what it is: an organizing motivational state which coordinates a rich repertoire of thoughts, perceptions, sensations, and reactions that are designed to produce behaviors that help individuals respond in appropriate ways to varying circumstances.[4] These definitions of emotion help separate the proper understanding of emotion both from vaguer constructions that are based on mere positive or negative valence as well as those which conflate them with more enduring traits and cultural constraints.

I admit to some surprise at the choice of the five emotions selected for consideration by Markwica. First, for those trained in a more Darwinian tradition, only two of the featured five constitute basic foundational emotions: anger and fear. The others are what most scholars of emotion would consider so-called secondary emotions. The basic ones are characterized by the near universal cross-cultural recognition of facial expression and underlying physiology, among other factors.[5] The secondary ones add a more conscious cognitive element of appraisal, such as might occur with disappointment or regret, which require more complex, often delayed, representations.[6] Indeed, Markwica acknowledges this about hope (77), but it is equally true of pride and humiliation as well. It is not that hope and humiliation are not important emotions, but rather that they are different kinds of emotion than, say, disgust or contempt, which have more universally recognized behavioral manifestations and features. This may be important not only because of how readily they can be recognized by others, and thus how quickly and easily and accurately others recognize that recognition to establish mutual knowledge, but also because they may have different temporal components. Basic emotions are likely to manifest more rapid ignition and extinguishing than more cognitively influenced emotions whose very elicitation may require more explicit prior cognitive appraisal. However, as Markwica correctly notes at the end of the volume, one of the most promising aspects of future research in this area lies in its potential to extend this model to other emotions, and its area of application to domains beyond coercive diplomacy.

There are a couple of points worth making about the conceptualization of the basic emotions of fear and anger in the book. First, Markwica notes that fear can prompt fight, flight or freeze (73-4). More traditionally, fear is understood to generate “the four F’s,” the last more prosaically referred to in the work of Shelley Taylor as “tend and befriend.”[7] As Markwica notes in the footnotes on page 277, this tendency has a gendered component, with tend and befriend responses most likely to appear in women, probably because that is what has been required through evolutionary time to reduce the likelihood of men killing them under conditions of conflict. But this tendency is not restricted to women by any means, and might be usefully explored as the kind of tendency that differentially predisposes leaders and targets toward diplomatic over coercive attempts, including but not limited to sanctions, as an appropriate reaction to threats or risks that raise the level of fear. Second, anger is a very potent emotion and Markwica discusses how it relates to aggression in a complex fashion (76). Richard Wrangham’s recent work on the critical distinction between reactive and proactive forms of aggression, and how they differentially play out in in-group versus out-groups contexts, respectively, provides a very useful way to theoretically conceptualize when anger is likely to turn violent and when it is not, based on easily identifiable environmental circumstances.[8]

One of the things that is most striking about this work, both theoretically and in the empirical exploration, is how deeply idiosyncratic the experience and expression of emotion is between individuals. This does not make it impossible or pointless to try to extract generalities, but it does make it more difficult, and requires more and richer information sources than other models might demand. However, it is not clear that Markwica’s theory is any more difficult to explore empirically than using archival material to undertake qualitative case studies of other relevant phenomena from a different theoretical perspective. But it does show that as hard as it is for scholars to uncover these emotions in retrospect from the record, it may prove even more difficult for leaders to figure out their own and others’ emotions in the heat of conflict or crisis. Calls for empathy aside, which itself shows huge variance in basic capacity, the challenge of such real-time assessment points to the importance of second order effects: it is not just the leaders and targets’ emotions that matter, but others’ perceptions of them, which can be incorrect.

The clearest example in this book relates to Khrushchev believing that Kennedy might not have had control of his emotions. This was likely not just based on their written exchanges around the time of the crisis, but also on the basis of impressions he formed during his previous meeting with Kennedy at Vienna, where he found him to be both weak and volatile.[9] In this case, Khrushchev’s caution regarding Kennedy’s ability to regulate his own emotions may have helped diffuse the crisis in ways suggested by Thomas Schelling.[10] But this may also show how and why face-to-face interactions can help facilitate future exchanges, since the ability to accurately infer emotional states in others on the basis of vocal features will be enhanced following face-to-face exchanges where such associations become solidified in memory. Whether one wants to call the ability to recognize these features accurately in others empathy or simply accurate theory of mind behavior, there is no question that basic capacities and competencies vary across individuals. Narcissists, for example, do not even know this is something that can or should be done, since everything is filtered through intense self-reference. Others are better able to regulate their emotions, making it harder for others to accurately read them. And others are simply more perceptive in reading facial, vocal, and body language cues from those around them.

Markwica mentions that emotion reading may not work if a target feels manipulated by manufactured emotion (271), but this also means that observers should be equally concerned about leaders who might come to doubt real emotion and consider it fake, and then make incorrect assumptions on the basis of assumed attempts at manipulation. This likely happened in the case of President Richard Nixon, who tried to feign his infamous “madman” approach, a position the North Vietnamese doubted; however, the reality proved dangerously close to the fantasy, since Nixon was drinking heavily at this point in time and even Secretary of State Henry Kissinger came to doubt his decision-making at times.[11]

Markwica’s book is remarkable for its creative integration of many facets of emotion into a single, detailed, comprehensive framework. Even if this model requires a great deal of information in order to determine the effect of emotion on particular decisions, it offers a useful and productive avenue for going about that pursuit. It constitutes an important contribution to the literature on emotion and decision-making and can easily serve as a foundational template for other scholars wishing to expand exploration into other emotions or other areas of application, as the author suggests in the final section of the book.



Review by Dustin Tingley, Harvard University

Robin Markwica’s Emotional Choices: How the Logic of Affect Shapes Coercive Diplomacy is an intellectual tour de force that takes on the often appreciated, but rarely systematically articulated, role of affect in international relations. In recent years scholars have begun to train their attention on emotion, building on an earlier era of scholarship that had been somewhat eclipsed by rational-choice accounts.[12] Emotional Choices provides an up to date overview of this important literature that sets up its own unique scholarly contribution. It offers a clearly articulated presentation of how emotion appraisal and action tendencies, which are rooted around the emotional constructs of fear, anger, hope, pride and humiliation, help us understand how elites engage in coercive diplomacy. Essentially, emotions influence how we take in information from our environment but also influence what we want and do.

Rather than rehearsing the arguments of the book, in this review I dig into some particulars of the book and probe its implications.

First, any good meal can be paired with a fine beverage in order to provide an amazing experience. The book I would pair Emotional Choices with is Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making by Rose McDermott (who is also writing a review).[13] Emotional Choices in some ways treats decision-makers as highly plastic. Depending on their environment, identity, experiences, and the emotional repertories they tee-up, leaders in coercive diplomacy contexts respond differently. But work by McDermott and others stress that many leaders have deep pathologies and systematic limitations in their relative capacities.[14] And while mental illness is one focus of McDermott’s book, the broader point is that different individuals may have different types of emotional regulation as well as different abilities to convey emotions or even read them in others.

Emotional Choices is potentially constructed to be receptive to this point (and briefly mentions it on page 94). For example, in discussing Nazi leader Adolf Hitler’s reception of a British emissary, Markwica notes that Hitler was able to deeply and convincingly fake his emotional state through “strategic displays of felt emotion” (111). This ability is rare and perhaps typically held by method actors and those with psychopathic issues. As discussed by economist Robert Frank in another great book, Passions within Reason: The Strategic Role of Emotions, facial displays of emotions are actually quite credible because they are difficult to convincingly fake.[15] Similarly, in the conclusion, Markwica notes that policymakers should pay greater attention to the role of empathy. The ability to be empathetic is also not evenly distributed in any population.[16] Appreciating the role of empathy should come along with a recognition that not everyone will have the same level of empathetic capacity.

I think the book is somewhat undersold given its focus on coercive diplomacy. This is not a critique but more an observation that should compel readers to read the book even if they are not interested in coercive diplomacy per se. This can be seen in several respects. First, chapters 2 and 3 should be required reading for anyone in the social sciences who is doing applied research that features a role for emotions. These chapters will help scholars think analytically about the work that emotion is doing in your theory. And also help them think through your empirical strategies. And while the book leverages a process tracing approach in the case studies, even applied quantitative scholars will benefit. Scholars from the rational choice tradition would also benefit from the clear explication of how to think about emotion in strategic contexts (in much the same way they should read Frank’s Passions within Reason).

Second, the set of policy recommendations/future research suggested in the conclusion, but set up by the rest of the book, puts forth a landscape of opportunities that scholars of international relations writ large will find interesting. For example, the focus on the role of positive incentives (268) has long been neglected in favor of a focus on negative incentives.[17] Emotional Choices sets up a new force for scholars pushing in that direction. Similarly, the discussion around coercers strategically appearing to lose control of their emotions (270-271) is timely in a world where world leaders can resort to social media outbursts. Finally, there can be contexts where non-costly communication can be influential (272) that go beyond the standard accounts of there being pre-existing shared preferences.[18]

In sum, Emotional Choices is a great book that scholars with a range of substantive interests and methodological approaches will enjoy.



Review by David G. Winter, University of Michigan

In Emotional Choices Robin Markwica has made two important contributions. He argues that leaders’ emotions are of fundamental importance in international crises—not as an alternative to rationality, but as the source of the goals and energies that drive ‘rationality.’ In other words, emotions supply goals for rationality; they tell us what to be rational about. In an era when strong, rapidly changing, and contradictory emotions increasingly dominate the political life of leaders and citizens alike, scholars should pay closer attention. Markwica also argues that crises are complex processes, more like turbulent streams than fixed monuments. Hence they are thus most appropriately studied by process-tracing, that is, identifying a series micro cause-effect relationships over the course of the crisis, and then assembling these links into a longer explanatory chain.

Markwica establishes these points by tracing the changing levels and effects of five specific emotions in two crisis leaders: Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the crisis that began with the August 1990 Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait and ended with the United States-led ‘Desert Storm’ military coalition that forced Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait at the end of February 1991. Both crises involved ‘compellence,’ or forceful persuasion via threatened military attack, by the United States against an adversary, but with contrasting outcomes: one was peacefully resolved by compromise, whereas the other opened a period of warfare in Western Asia that has smoldered and flared up ever since.

The Turbulent Flow of International Crises

Markwica’s emphasis on crises as processes that must be traced, rather than outcomes to be tabulated, is important to the study of international crises. In contrast, political psychologists and international relations scholars have often explored the causes of war by comparing crises that escalated to violence with similar crises that were peacefully resolved.[19] Looking back, it is easy to view such crises as fixed homogeneous ‘bricks,’ each with a simple, stable label of ‘peace’ or ‘war.’ Thus in historical archives the file on the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis is marked ‘peacefully resolved,’ whereas that of 1990-1991 Kuwait crisis is stamped ‘war.’

As crises actually unfold in real time, however, leaders often twist and turn in storms of cognitive confusion and emotional chaos. Unanticipated events render prior calculations useless, leaders are subject to mood swings and change their minds, and careful plans are thrown into confusion. During the July-August 1914 mobilization, German Chief of Staff Helmut von Moltke—described by one historian as “pessimistic, fatalistic, and spiritistic”—“had two severe nervous breakdowns, crying, completely losing control of himself, and despairing.”[20] When confusion about Great Britain’s intentions briefly led the impulsive Kaiser Wilhelm II to cancel mobilization in the west and send those troops against Russia instead, Moltke protested that such a change of plan was impossible and would only produce “a jumbled hoard of disorderly armed men without supplies.”[21] Twenty-five years later, U.S. General Douglas MacArthur experienced a paralysis of decision for over six hours after learning of the attack on Pearl Harbor, causing a delay in the U.S. response that greatly increased the destructiveness of Japanese attacks on the Philippine Islands later that day.[22]

Even seemingly irrelevant events can affect a leader during a crisis. For example, at the beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev hosted a delegation of Romanian leaders at a previously scheduled visit to a Bolshoi Opera performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s ‘Boris Godunov.’ Several motifs of this preeminent Russian national opera resonated with themes in Khrushchev’s own life: a leader with blood on his hands in gaining power, who had become the target of mounting public economic discontent, and who finally died as Russia was invaded by a usurper who was in league with the West. The opera’s lament, that ‘darkness has swallowed sun and moon,’ could also be applied to nuclear war. The next day Khrushchev began to soften his tone: writing to Kennedy three days later in poignant words that could have been drawn from the opera: “War ends when it has rolled through cities and villages, everywhere sowing death and destruction…If people do not show wisdom . . . they will come to a clash, like blind moles, and then reciprocal extermination will begin.”[23]

Then too, wars often stop in the same way they start—at the end of a long and tortuous path, after false starts and blind alleys. In World War I, serious peace proposals had begun almost two years before the 1918 Armistice was achieved.[24] The armistice that concluded fighting in the Korean War also took two years of negotiations, whereas the negotiations to end U.S. involvement in Vietnam consumed almost five years.

Crises Are Multi-Handed

Markwica’s detailed phase-by-phase tracking of Khrushchev’s and Saddam Hussein’s shifting emotions seems thorough and sound, but they tell only half the story, because international crises are interactions with more than one side: rugby matches, rather than track meets. Each leader’s emotions are evoked by the emotion-driven actions of one or more counter-players, and these reactions will in turn elicit more emotions in those counter-players, and so on. . . . A slightly different event, a different action, could alter the emotions of the other leader, thereby leading to a very different crisis outcome. For this reason, I must respectfully disagree with Markwica’s claim that “information about the coercer’s [emotions] is not strictly necessary to find an answer to the question of [why] target leaders . . . defy or accede to threats” (220, note 265).

Let us examine the ‘coercer’ side in those two crises. In the course of the missile crisis, U.S. President John F. Kennedy also had changing emotions and reactions. Most writers emphasize his “somber but crisp” demeanor, but this calm appearance was punctuated by several flashes of emotion. For example, Kennedy’s reaction to learning about the Soviet missiles was “a wave of disbelief, shock, anger, and fear.” With “a voice taut with anger at Soviet duplicity, he told [National Security Advisor McGeorge] Bundy ‘He can’t do that to me!’”[25] (The reaction of his brother and close confidant, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, was even more intense: “Oh shit! Shit! Shit! Those sons a bitches Russians.”[26]) At the first meeting of his advisors in the hastily-assembled Executive Committee of the National Security Council (usually referred to as ‘ExComm’). Kennedy initially proposed a military response: “We’re certainly going to do number one [an air strike on the missile installations]. We’re going to take out those missiles,” perhaps followed by additional air strikes and even a general invasion. As the crisis evolved, he would show flashes of anger (“Why are they lying then? Khrushchev’s horseshit about the election!”).[27]

Yet overall, Kennedy responded to the crisis with deliberate (and deliberative) caution, overruling strong (but potentially disastrous) military advice or delaying quick responses—that make up what historians call the disastrous ‘what-ifs’ of the crisis. As he later told Sorensen, “If we had had to act in the first twenty-four hours, I don’t think … we would have chosen as prudently as we finally did.”[28] And at the height of the crisis, he even confided to a friend over dinner that “I’d rather my children be red than dead.”[29]

U.S. President George H. W. Bush’s personality and emotions certainly played a part in the Kuwait/Gulf War crisis. His dominant motive was affiliation—that is, a concern with close relationships with others. Under everyday conditions, this motive facilitates warmth and cooperation, but under conditions of stress or threat—especially in response to deception or broken formal or even implicit agreements—it can produce a ‘prickly’ defensive stance toward people who are ‘different’ or who dislike or disagree with one’s self. Affiliation-motivated leaders are thus likely to be peaceful only when they are comfortable. And on almost every dimension (culture, social class, family background, religion, language, personal style), Saddam Hussein, the son of poor village peasants, was at the other end of the universe from the Yale-educated patrician Bush.[30]

As Markwica mentions, instead of responding to possible concessions, Bush demanded that Saddam “comply 100 percent, without conditions, to the UN resolutions.” As for offering face-saving concessions, Bush replied that “I don’t care about face; he doesn’t need any face. He needs to get out of Kuwait” (218). How different this was from the advice former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union Llewellyn Thompson gave Kennedy 28 years earlier: Early in the crisis, Thompson suggested “mak[ing] it as easy as possible for him [Khrushchev] to back down.” At the point of greatest uncertainty and tension during the long meeting of advisors on ‘black Saturday’ (October 27), Thompson insisted that “the important thing for Khrushchev, it seems to me, is to be able to say ‘I saved Cuba. I stopped an invasion.’” And in fact this was precisely the justification Khrushchev used in justifying to the Soviet Presidium his decision to remove the missiles. What a difference![31]

What Emotions Are Important in Crises?

Markwica focuses on those emotions that are closely related to being the target of compellence, or power: hope and pride (positive), and fear, anger, and humiliation (negative). However, the Bush-Saddam Hussein example suggests that other emotions can also be important in crises, such as warmth or appreciation toward other people (positive if reciprocated, defensively avoidant or rejecting if not), or pleasure in the rational pursuit of achievements. For example, in his letters outlining an agreement to end the missile crisis, Khrushchev used imagery of these other emotions: “This reasonable step on your part strengthens my belief that you are showing concern for the preservation of peace, which I note with satisfaction…[Economics, culture, the arts, and raising living standards are] the most noble and necessary field for competition…because it means peace and an increase in the means by which man lives and finds enjoyment…The greatest joy for all peoples would be the announcement of our agreement… Our people…have achieved tremendous successes…and want to develop their achievements further…I regard with respect and trust the statement you made.”[32]

Linking Emotions to Motives

Emotions are usually thought of expressively, as embodiments of internal psychological and physical states. As suggested above, however, they also function to give direction and energy to plans and actions—that is, emotions are the basis of motives. To put it another way: motives organize sequences of actions (varied, as appropriate to opportunities and obstacles in the situation) that are intended to reach a particular end-state or goal, which involves the experience of some emotion. If the emotion associated with the goal is pleasant (pride, love, joy, interest, excitement), the associated motive is likely to be an approach motive; unpleasant emotions (fear, distress, boredom, disgust), in contrast, arouse an avoidance motive.[33]

The study of emotions in international relations is thus closely linked to the study of motives, and thereby to important political and social outcomes. For example, research has shown that the power motive is positively related to conflict and war, whereas achievement and affiliation motives are associated, respectively, with economic development and the limitation of weapons systems in the service of peace.[34]

Measuring Emotions and Motives

Like other scholars who do not have direct access to the political leaders whose psychological processes they study, Markwica necessarily assesses emotions through indirect or at-a-distance methods such as self-reports or observers’ reports. Both usually rely on formal or informal content analysis of texts (speeches, interviews, memoirs, minutes, or transcripts). As he suggests, accepting at face value what people say about their emotions has many problems: People use language strategically (that is, they deceive or try to create good impressions), they may be confused or uncertain about what they feel, and they may not even be conscious of their implicit emotions. For these reasons, he opts for observers’ judgments, while recognizing that they, too, are likely to be affected by the observers’ own emotions, as well as their relationship to the person being judged.

Many of the limitations of self-reporting, however, can be overcome by using empirically-derived systematic content analysis measures. In the case of motives, experimentally validated measures have been developed for the power, affiliation, and achievement motives by comparing verbal texts (typically imaginative stories) produced by people in whom the motive has been aroused with stories produced by a non-aroused group. (To ensure generalizability, several different arousal experiments are usually carried out for a given motive.)[35]

Similar empirically-based measures of emotional styles such as anxiety, depression, anger, sensitivity to criticism, and overall expressiveness have been developed by psychiatrist Walter Weintraub, who applied them to the analysis of political leaders.[36]

However, even content analysis of verbal transcripts and other texts drawn from crises has problems and limits. Most verbatim texts from international crises usually become available for scholarly analysis only decades later (often after 25-30 years, but longer in certain cases). Even then, critical documents may not be available. For example, the papers of the 1914 German Chancellor Theobald Bethmann Hollweg were apparently destroyed during World War II; and the papers of Moltke are still “in the hands of an anthroposophic cult in Basel dedicated to the belief that Moltke was the reincarnation of the ninth-century pope Nicholas I.”[37] While transcripts of the meetings of Kennedy’s advisors during the Cuban Missile Crisis that were recorded are available, not every such meeting was recorded; moreover, there is evidence that Kennedy “was not in fact guided by the cumulative wisdom and council of the ExComm,” but rather made his own decisions in the end, often in private.[38] And on the Soviet side, what has so far emerged about the missile crisis from the archives gives only thin summaries of the Presidium discussions; further, the memoirs by Khrushchev’s colleagues (and by his son Sergei) were likely affected by his subsequent removal from power two years after the crisis.

Nevertheless, with the documentary resources available it is possible to assemble a two-sided process-tracing analysis, using systematic content analysis measures of emotion and motivation for leaders of both sides of the crises of 1914 and 1962. And with the complete opening of the 1990-1991 presidential papers of George H.W. Bush in a few years (and if contemporaneous material from the Iraqi archives becomes available), perhaps such an analysis can also be carried out for the 1990-1991 Kuwait crisis and Gulf War.



Author’s Response by Robin Markwica, European University Institute

Many thanks to Robert Jervis for organizing and introducing this roundtable discussion, to Diane Labrosse for editing it, and to Rose McDermott, Dustin Tingley, and David Winter for their perceptive and thoughtful reviews. I very much appreciate that these distinguished scholars took the time to read Emotional Choices and engaged so constructively with it. I learned a lot from their comments.

International Relations (IR) scholars generally employ rational choice or constructivist perspectives to explain political decision-making. Max Weber, however, suggested a third logic of choice: human behavior can also be motivated by emotions. Drawing on Weber and more recent scholarship in sociology and psychology, my book introduces “emotional choice theory” into the field of IR. The theory posits that actors’ decision-making is shaped by the dynamic interplay among their norms, identities, and emotions. While norms and identities represent important long-term underlying conditions, emotions function as essential short-term catalysts for change. Emotional Choices puts forward a series of propositions that specify how the action and appraisal tendencies of five key emotions—fear, anger, hope, pride, and humiliation—influence leaders’ responses to threats.

Writing this book was difficult. I struggled to make sense of the scholarship on emotion in different disciplines, the relationship among them, and their application to international relations. It was only due to the support and patience of my advisers and my best friends that I managed to complete the dissertation in the end. Against this backdrop it is gratifying to see that the reviewers point to various strengths of the resultant book. They also put forward some interesting and important criticisms. It is to those that I will turn in this response.

The focus on five key emotions

Both McDermott and Winter raise questions about my selection of fear, anger, hope, pride, and humiliation as the five key emotions under investigation. Winter argues that other emotions, such as appreciation or pleasure, can also be relevant in crisis bargaining. McDermott points out that fear and anger are often considered by psychologists as “basic emotions,” which are characterized by the near universal recognition of their facial expressions. The other three emotions I concentrate on—hope, pride, and humiliation—are widely viewed as “secondary emotions,” which include a more conscious cognitive element of appraisal. She explains that this distinction is important in at least two respects: First, basic emotions are more readily recognized by others than secondary emotions and, hence, more reliable as signals. Second, basic emotions tend to ignite and extinguish more quickly than secondary emotions, whose representations are frequently delayed due to their cognitive complexity.

In my eyes, the selection of fear, anger, hope, pride, and humiliation is reasonable because these emotions tend to be particularly salient in situations of compellence and coercive diplomacy. Covering both basic and secondary emotions helps to capture some of the breadth and complexity of human affective experience. However, I also believe that emotional choice theory would be more powerful if I had incorporated the emotions’ distinct expressive and temporal characteristics that McDermott outlines.

For example, the quick ignition and extinction of basic emotions could account for the relatively strong but short-lived episodes of anger and fear that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev underwent during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The temporal dynamics of secondary emotions would help to explain why Iraqi President Saddam Hussein experienced pride and hope at various levels of intensity throughout much of the Gulf conflict. Moreover, Winter is no doubt correct in noting that other emotions can play a critical role in international conflict and thus need to be examined in-depth. I would add that we should also move beyond discrete emotions to investigate how longer-lasting moods and sentiments shape political decision-making.

The added value of the tend-and-befriend tendency of fear

The conceptualization of fear in Emotional Choices is limited to its three classic tendencies of ‘fight,’ ‘flight,’ and ‘freeze.’ Rose McDermott points out that I could have added the tendency of “tend-and-befriend” developed by psychologist Shelley Taylor and her colleagues. Their idea is that human beings may react to threat by tending to offspring and befriending others for joint protection.[39] In the realm of international politics, this tendency could predispose fearful leaders toward diplomatic rather than military responses, according to McDermott. I omitted the tend-and-befriend pattern in the book because I focused on the initial article by Taylor et al., which proposed a “theory of female responses to stress.”[40] I thus assumed that it applied primarily to females. Unfortunately, I was not aware that their subsequent work extended the concept successfully to human beings in general.[41] That is a pity because inclusion of the tend-and-befriend tendency would have strengthened emotional choice theory’s analytical power, and it would have provided richer explanations of the decision-making in the case studies.

To give an example: In the book, I attribute Khrushchev’s decision on 28 October 1962, to withdraw the Soviet missiles from Cuba partly to the flight-tendency of his fear. As I am revisiting the documentary record, however, I realize that the evidence is, in fact, more consistent with the tend-and-befriend pattern. At the height of the missile crisis, when Khrushchev’s fear of nuclear war reached a pitch, the emotion’s ‘tending’ dimension became apparent: He concluded that he had “to save the world”[42] and wrote to President John F. Kennedy that “the security of the peoples” needed to “be insured.”[43]

The Soviet premier also exhibited behavior in line with the ‘befriend’-tendency: Once he got the impression that Kennedy was at last recognizing him as the leader of an equal power, he transformed his battle of wills against the U.S. president into a joint collaboration to avert nuclear war. He concluded that they now had a “common cause” and that he needed to “help” Kennedy to reign in the hardliners in his administration.[44] “At that point good relations were established between Kennedy and ourselves,” he wrote in his memoirs.[45] His aide Oleg Troyanovsky recalled that “[e]lements of trust between the leaders of the two countries began to develop.”[46] The Soviet premier started to generate a positive attachment toward the president, which, incidentally, constitutes evidence for the significance of what Winter refers to as “warmth” or “appreciation” in interpersonal political relationships. According to his son Sergei, Khrushchev became “very well disposed” toward Kennedy “and, what was completely unusual, returned again and again to the idea that there was now a special relationship between him and the president.”[47] Kennedy’s later assassination “came almost as a personal loss” to Khrushchev, as Troyanovsky remarked.[48] All this suggests that the tend-and-befriend pattern of fear offers a more persuasive account of the Soviet leader’s behavior than my focus on the flight-tendency.

The importance of empathy and the challenge of individual variation

Both McDermott and Tingley highlight the importance of empathy in international relations in general and in diplomacy in particular. McDermott notes that the ability to empathize can be enhanced through face-to-face exchanges. But she and Tingley also stress that this capacity varies across individuals. I should perhaps explain that the notion of empathy that I use in Emotional Choices focuses more on its mental than its experiential dimension.[49] Instead of exploring the ability to share emotion, I am interested in the capacity to infer how someone else is currently feeling and to imagine how someone will likely feel in response to certain signals (19-20). I concur with the reviewers that this sort of empathy is critical to successful conflict resolution. Recent research does, indeed, indicate that the combination of empathy and face-to-face interactions generally furthers the emergence of trust between interlocutors.[50]

I also agree with McDermott’s and Tingley’s observation that the ability to empathize is not evenly distributed in any population, but I would add that psychologists have found some interesting systematic variation. To cite three examples: First, experiments suggest that humans are better at judging the emotions of those with whom they are more culturally familiar.[51] Second, individuals in positions of high power are generally less perceptive of the emotions of others than those with low power—a finding that has been relevant for my work on asymmetric coercer-target relationships.[52] And third, research indicates that narcissistic persons who tend to exploit others for personal gain are likely to be better at accurately recognizing others’ emotions—a talent that they may then use to manipulate them.[53] Even though affective phenomena frequently appear to be idiosyncratic at first glance, such instances of systematic variation suggest that scholars may be able to draw some useful generalizations.

The relationship between emotions and traits

Tingley compares McDermott’s work on the impact of medical and psychological illness on foreign policy decision-making with my more plastic conceptualization of the role of emotions in political behavior.[54] He then makes the broader point that different individuals may have distinct types of emotional regulation and different abilities to convey emotions. These are valid observations. In the book, I tried to do some justice to them in a short section on “Emotion Regulation and Individual Disposition” (92-94). Among other issues, I refer to the finding in psychology that each person has a unique emotional disposition, i.e., a relatively long-term recurrent tendency to experience and express particular emotions more or less often and more or less intensely.

In the case studies, this became apparent in a number of ways: For example, Saddam Hussein was prone to experiencing relatively high levels of hope and pride, while his identity as an Arab leader led him to down-regulate his fear as best as he could. Khrushchev, on the other hand, had a proclivity to feel angry and humiliated, and his emotion norms permitted him to be afraid as long as he managed to conceal his fear from others. What I neglected in the book is how emotions relate to and interact with broader traits that are relatively common among top-level policy-makers, such as narcissism, paranoia, or high self-monitoring.[55] This would be a particularly fruitful avenue for future research, in my view.

Moving from intrapersonal to interpersonal influences of emotion

The focus of the book is squarely on the emotions of targets of coercive diplomacy. I merely touch on the coercers’ affective experience in a few footnotes to avoid the false impression that the Americans were conducting hyper-rational coercive diplomacy, while the targets—in this case Russians and Iraqis—seem to have been consumed by emotions. My assumption was that information about the coercers’ emotions was not strictly necessary to find an answer to my research question of what prompts target leaders to defy or accede to coercive threats. What counts, I thought, was not so much what the U.S. coercers really felt, but how the target leaders perceived the Americans’ emotions and actions, and how they reacted to them in turn.

Winter disagrees with this rationale and maintains that Emotional Choices tells “only half the story.” He notes that international crisis bargaining is by definition shaped by the emotional interaction between the parties involved. To illustrate his argument, he reconstructs some intriguing emotional dynamics in top-level decision-making at the beginning of World War I and in the Kennedy and George H. W. Bush administrations during the missile crisis and the Gulf conflict, respectively.

I agree that we would benefit from the investigation of the affective interaction between conflict parties. Such an analytic shift from intrapersonal to interpersonal influences of emotion would help us to better comprehend how actors use and manipulate their own and others’ emotions strategically, and under what conditions these efforts typically succeed or fail.[56] It would be particularly useful for studies of face-to-face diplomacy, where affective phenomena like emotional contagion can play a critical role.[57] Nevertheless, I am still uncertain as to whether I should have included this additional layer of complexity in Emotional Choices. At almost 150,000 words, the book is already a bit unwieldy. So my hunch is that it was better for me to leave the theorization and examination of interpersonal effects of emotions to future work by other scholars.


“Fear, anger, disgust, sadness, joy, longing, and love pervade and bring meaning to our lives. They affect what we seek and do,” Robert Jervis notes in his preface to the second edition of Perception and Misperception in International Politics.[58] Over the past ten years, scholars have come to recognize that emotions shape world politics in subtle and profound ways. Research into the role of affect has grown significantly, becoming ever more vibrant and interdisciplinary. Even though we are witnessing a veritable emotional revolution in International Relations, we have tapped only into the surface of a vast reservoir of affective experience that still awaits exploration. There is much work to be done if we wish to improve our understanding of emotions across different cultures and time periods. Many thanks to the organizers of and the participants in this roundtable for sharing their insights and expanding the frontiers of our knowledge.



[1] Full disclosure—I blurbed the book, but had no other connection to it.

[2] See, for example, Rose McDermott, Political Psychology in international Relations (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004); McDermott, Man is By Nature a Political Animal: Evolution, Biology, and Politics, co-edited with Peter Hatemi (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011); Dustin Tingley, with Jooa Julia Lee and Jonathan Renshon, “Emotions and the Micro-Foundations of Commitment Problems,” International Organization 71(S1) (2017): S189-S218; Tingley, with Jonathan Renshon and Jooa Julia Lee, “Physiological Arousal and Political Beliefs,” Political Psychology 36:5 (2015): 569-585; and David Winter, Roots of War: Wanting Power, Seeing Threat, Justifying Force (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

[3] Rose McDermott, Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

[4] Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, “Evolutionary Psychology and the Emotions,” in Michael Lewis and Jeannette M. Haviland-Jones, eds., Handbook of Emotions, 2nd ed. (New York: Guilford Press, 2000), 91-115.

[5] Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen, “Constants across Cultures in the Face and Emotion,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 17:2 (1971): 124.

[6] Marcel Zeelenberg, Wilco Van Dijk, Antony Manstead, and Joopvan der Pligt, “The Experience of Regret and Disappointment,” Cognition & Emotion 12:2 (1988): 221-230.

[7] Shelley Taylor, Laura Klein, Brian Lewis, Tara Gruenewald, Regan Gurung, and John A. Updegraff, “Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight,” Psychological Review 107:3 (2000): 411.

[8] Richard Wrangham, “Two Types of Aggression in Human Evolution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 115:2 (2018): 245-253.

[9] Rose McDermott, Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

[10] Thomas Schelling, Arms and Influence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

[11] Henry Kissinger, White House Years (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011).

[12] Rose McDermott, Political Psychology in International Relations (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004); James Goldgeier and Philip Tetlock, “Psychology and International Relations Theory,” Annual Review of Political Science 4:1 (2001): 67-92; Neta Crawford, “The Passion of World Politics: Propositions on Emotion and Emotional Relationships,” International Security 24:4 (2000): 116-156; Jonathan Mercer, “Rationality and Psychology in International Politics,” International Organization 59:1 (2005): 77-106.

[13] McDermott, Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

[14] See, for example, Robert Gilbert, The Mortal Presidency: Illness and Anguish in the White House (New York: Fordham University Press, 1998).

[15] Robert H. Frank, Passions within Reason: The Strategic Role of Emotions (New York: W.W. Norton, 1991).

[16] Ariel Knafo, Carolyn Zahn-Waxler, Carol Van Hulle, JoAnn Robinson, and Soo Hyun Rhee, “The Developmental Origins of a Disposition toward Empathy: Genetic and Environmental Contributions,” Emotion 8:6 (2008): 737-752; Mark Davis, “Measuring Individual Differences in Empathy: Evidence for a Multidimensional Approach,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 44:1 (1983): 113-126.

[17] David Baldwin. “The Power of Positive Sanctions,” World Politics 24:1 (1971): 19-38.

[18] Dustin Tingley and Barbara Walter, “Can Cheap Talk Deter? An Experimental Analysis,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 55:6 (2011): 994-1018.

[19] For example: Ole Holsti, Crisis, Escalation, War (Montreal: McGill University Press, 1972); Lucian G. Conway III, Peter Suedfeld, and Philip E. Tetlock, “Integrative Complexity and Political Decisions That Lead to War or Peace,” in Daniel J. Christie, Richard V. Wagner, and Deborah Du Nann, eds., Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century, (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall/Pearson Education, 2001): 66-75; Russell J. Leng and Stephen G. Walker, “Comparing Two Studies of Crisis Bargaining: Confrontation, Coercion, and Reciprocity,” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 26:4 (1982): 571-591; Peter Suedfeld and Philip Tetlock, “Integrative Complexity of Communications in International Crises,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 21:1 (1977): 169-184; David G. Winter, “The Role of Motivation, Responsibility, and Integrative Complexity in Crisis Escalation: Comparative Studies of War and Peace Crises,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92:5 (2007): 920-937. DOI:; David G. Winter, Roots of War: Wanting Power, Seeing Threat, Justifying Force (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018): chap. 4.

[20] Arden Bucholz, Moltke, Schlieffen, and Prussian War Planning (New York: Berg, 1991): 223, 222.

[21] Helmuth von Moltke, Erinnerungen Briefe Dokumente 1877-1916 (Stuttgart: Kommende Tag Verlag, 1922): 20.

[22] Matthew R. Pettinger, Held to a Higher Standard: The Downfall of Admiral Kimmel. (Unpublished Master’s thesis, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Leavenworth, Kansas, 2003). Retrieved from

[23] This brief analysis is based on David G. Winter, “Khrushchev Visits the Bolshoi: [More than] a Footnote to the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 19:3 (2013): 222-239. DOI:

[24] Documents and Statements Relating to Peace Proposals and War Aims: December 1916 – November 1918 (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1919).

[25] Theodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Harper & Row, 1963): 675; Donald Munton and David Welch, The Cuban Missile Crisis: A Concise History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007): 48; Sheldon Stern, Averting ‘The Final Failure’ (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003): 31.

[26] Dino Brugioni, Eyeball to Eyeball (New York: Random House, 1991): 223.

[27] Stern, Averting, 74, 204-205.

[28] Sheldon Stern, The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012): 159-172; Sorensen, Kennedy, 30.

[29] Mimi Alford, Once upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath (New York: Random House, 2012): 94.

[30] David G. Winter, Margaret G. Hermann, Walter Weintraub, and Stephen G. Walker, “The Personalities of Bush and Gorbachev Measured at a Distance: Follow-Up on Predictions, Political Psychology 12:3 (1991): 457-464.

[31] Winter, Roots of War, 335-336, 360, n70 and n71.

[32] “Message[s] from Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy” [October 27 (document 91) and 28 (document 102), 1962], in Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963, Vol. XI, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1996) and passim.

[33] See David G. Winter, Personality: Analysis and Interpretation of Lives (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996): chaps. 2-5 and pp. 653-657.

[34] Winter, Roots of War; David C. McClelland, The Achieving Society (Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1961).

[35] David G. Winter, “‘Toward a Science of Personality Psychology’: David McClelland’s Development of Empirically Derived TAT Measures,” History of Psychology 1:2 (1998): 130-153.

[36] Walter Weintraub, “Personality Profiles of American Presidents as Revealed in their Public Statements: The Presidential News Conferences of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan,” Political Psychology 7 (1986): 285-295; Walter Weintraub, Verbal Behavior in Everyday Life (New York: Springer, 1989); Winter et al., “Personalities of Bush and Gorbachev.”

[37] John C. G. Röhl, “Goodbye to all that (again)? The Fischer Thesis, the New Revisionism and the Meaning of the First World War,” International Affairs 91:1 (2015): 153-166, here 160-161.

[38] Stern, Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory, 157 (emphasis in original).

[39] See Shelley E. Taylor, Laura Cousino Klein, Brian P. Lewis, Tara L. Gruenewald, Regan A. R. Gurung, and John A. Updegraff, “Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, not Fight-or-Flight,” Psychological Review 107:3 (2000): 411-29; Shelley E. Taylor, “Tend and Befriend Theory,” in Paul A. M. Van Lange, Arie W. Kruglanski, and E. Tory Higgins, eds., Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology, vol. 1 (Los Angeles: Sage, 2012), 32. For an application of ‘tend-and-befriend’ theory to crisis diplomacy, see Marcus Holmes, “Fight-or-Flight or Tend-and-Befriend? Stress and the Political Psychology of Crisis Diplomacy,” The Hague Journal of Diplomacy 10:1 (2015): 15-21.

[40] Taylor et al., “Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, not Fight-or-Flight,” 421, my emphasis.

[41] See, for example, Shelley E. Taylor, “Tend and Befriend: Biobehavioral Bases of Affiliation under Stress,” Current Directions in Psychological Science 15:6 (2006): 273-277.

[42] Quoted in Sergei Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), 630.

[43] Khrushchev to Kennedy, October 28, 1962, in US Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961-1963: Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath, vol. 11 (Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 1996), doc. 102.

[44] Quoted in Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower, 630.

[45] Nikita Sergeevich Khrushchev, Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, ed. Sergei Khrushchev, vol. 3, Statesman: 1953-1964 (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007), 348.

[46] Oleg Troyanovsky, “The Making of Soviet Foreign Policy,” in William Taubman, Sergei Khrushchev, and Abbott Gleason, eds., Nikita Khrushchev (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 239.

[47] Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev and the Creation of a Superpower, 641.

[48] Troyanovsky, “The Making of Soviet Foreign Policy,” 239. See also Khrushchev, Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev, vol. 3, 354.

[49] For a useful recent account of the mental and experiential dimensions of empathy and their interrelationship, see Jamil Zaki and Kevin Ochsner, “Empathy,” in Lisa Feldman Barrett, Michael Lewis, and Jeannette M. Haviland-Jones, eds., Handbook of Emotions, 4th ed. (New York: Guilford Press, 2016), 871-884.

[50] See, for example, Marcus Holmes and Keren Yarhi-Milo, “The Psychological Logic of Peace Summits: How Empathy Shapes Outcomes of Diplomatic Negotiations,” International Studies Quarterly 61:1 (2017): 107-122; Nicholas Wheeler, Trusting Enemies: Interpersonal Relationships in International Conflict (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).

[51] See Hillary Anger Elfenbein and Nalini Ambady, “When Familiarity Breeds Accuracy: Cultural Exposure and Facial Emotion Recognition,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85:2 (2003): 276-290.

[52] See, for example, Michael W. Kraus, Stéphane Côté, and Dacher Keltner, “Social Class, Contextualism, and Empathic Accuracy,” Psychological Science 21:11 (2010): 1716-1723.

[53] Sara Konrath, Olivier Corneille, Brad J. Bushman, and Olivier Luminet, “The Relationship between Narcissistic Exploitativeness, Dispositional Empathy, and Emotion Recognition Abilities,” Journal of Nonverbal Behavior 38:1 (2014): 129-143.

[54] Rose McDermott, Presidential Leadership, Illness, and Decision Making (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

[55] For valuable studies on narcissism, paranoia, and self-monitoring in international politics, see Jerrold M. Post, Narcissism and Politics: Dreams of Glory (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Robert S. Robins and Jerrold M. Post, Political Paranoia: The Psychopolitics of Hatred (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997); Keren Yarhi-Milo, Who Fights for Reputation: The Psychology of Leaders in International Conflict (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018).

[56] See, for example, Rose McDermott, “Leadership and the Strategic Emotional Manipulation of Political Identity: An Evolutionary Perspective,” The Leadership Quarterly (forthcoming), DOI:

[57] For a pioneering study on interpersonal influences of emotions, see Seanon S. Wong, “Emotions and the Communication of Intentions in Face-to-Face Diplomacy,” European Journal of International Relations 22:1 (2016): 144-167.

[58] Robert Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics, 2nd ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017 [1976]), lxxiii.