This introductory chapter provides an overview of the concept of reputation for resolve. A state’s reputation for resolve is the belief that during crises, the state’s leaders will take actions that demonstrate willingness to pay high costs and run high risks, and will thus stand firm in crises. Leaders who project or protect a reputation for resolve signal that they are willing to use military instruments in order to affect others’ beliefs about their willingness to stand firm. The historical record suggests that leaders and their closest foreign policy advisors often hold divergent views about whether reputation for resolve is worth fighting for. This book then offers an alternative analytical framework in explaining such variations of views that focuses on psychological dispositions and beliefs of national leaders. Importantly, by attributing variation in willingness to fight for reputation to variation in individuals’ self-monitoring, it shows that fighting for reputation has prepolitical origins.
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