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Coalitions of the willing? International backing and British public support for military action

Johns, Robert and Davies, Graeme AM (2014) 'Coalitions of the willing? International backing and British public support for military action.' Journal of Peace Research, 51 (6). pp. 767-781. ISSN 0022-3433

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Studies of public support for war highlight the importance of context. Most people do not simply support or oppose the use of force but instead assess its merits depending on various aspects of the situation. One such aspect is the extent of international backing ? whether from individual states or supranational organizations ? for military action. This backing may be active, notably through the contribution of troops, or more a passive matter of endorsement or authorization of action. In this article, a survey experiment embedded in a major internet survey of British foreign policy attitudes (N = 2,205) is used to explore how international backing affects public support for military action. Britain?s military potential and recent history make it an obvious case study here. Both active and endorsement backing prove to have separate and significant positive effects on support. Importantly, the absolute number of troops involved matters far less than the proportion of total troop numbers to be contributed. And the perceived strength of the enemy predicts support only when the British are to contribute a large proportion of total forces. Predispositional variables are used to investigate the sources of the experimental effects but with little success: the impact of international backing proves remarkably consistent across the sample.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: internationalism; NATO; support for war; United Nations; United States
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 16:56
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 13:21

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