Negative surprise in UN Security Council authorization: UK and French vetoes send valuable information for the general public in deciding if they support a US military action

Naoko Matsumura, Atsushi Tago

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Authorization of the use of force by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is believed to increase levels of public support for military action. While scholars have performed sterling research both in theory and empirics on the power of UNSC authorization, there is still much that we do not understand. In particular, we believe that it is necessary to conduct a further study on ‘failed’ authorization cases. As Terrence Chapman points out in his theoretical framework, the general public can derive valuable information based on which of the permanent members of the Council casts a veto; this in turn affects public attitudes towards the use of force. An expected veto cast by the perpetual nay-sayer would not serve as information for the general public. However, if the veto is cast by an allied state of a proposer of the authorizing resolution, the negative vote functions as an information short-cut signaling that the use of force presents a variety of problems, thus reducing public support for the military action. Using online survey experiments, we find supportive evidence for this argument. Our data also suggest that surprising negative information changes the perceptions of legitimacy, legality, public goods, and US interest in a proposed military action, but is unrelated to the perception of costs, casualties or duration.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Peace Research
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 1

    Fingerprint

    UN Security Council
    authorization
    Military
    public support
    Costs
    UNO
    Experiments
    say
    empirics
    legality
    online survey
    voter
    legitimacy
    experiment
    costs
    evidence

    Keywords

    • failed authorization
    • public opinion
    • surprise veto
    • UN Security Council authorization

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Safety Research
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Authorization of the use of force by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is believed to increase levels of public support for military action. While scholars have performed sterling research both in theory and empirics on the power of UNSC authorization, there is still much that we do not understand. In particular, we believe that it is necessary to conduct a further study on ‘failed’ authorization cases. As Terrence Chapman points out in his theoretical framework, the general public can derive valuable information based on which of the permanent members of the Council casts a veto; this in turn affects public attitudes towards the use of force. An expected veto cast by the perpetual nay-sayer would not serve as information for the general public. However, if the veto is cast by an allied state of a proposer of the authorizing resolution, the negative vote functions as an information short-cut signaling that the use of force presents a variety of problems, thus reducing public support for the military action. Using online survey experiments, we find supportive evidence for this argument. Our data also suggest that surprising negative information changes the perceptions of legitimacy, legality, public goods, and US interest in a proposed military action, but is unrelated to the perception of costs, casualties or duration.",
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