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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