Excited to share new @TWQgw piece I co-authored with @samseitz3, "The Predictable Hazards of Unpredictability: Why Madman Behavior Doesn’t Work."

We examine whether a leader’s unpredictability can yield foreign policy leverage. 1/

twq.elliott.gwu.edu
Drawing on both historical cases and more recent vignettes, we argue that the madman approach (e.g., Trump attempting to convince adversaries he is “a crazy guy” in order to strengthen deterrence or bargaining leverage) doesn’t work and can even backfire. 2/
Being an effective madman is harder than one might think, and leaders attempting it (including Nixon-- who actually inspired our paper after we read through some of his papers) face 3 recurring problems we identify (and Trump has faced them too). 3/
Providing clear signaling while acting erratically is actually hard. So is credibly backing up wild threats, esp when allies have to go along w/ it. And truly extreme demands can backfire, giving adversaries a reason to stand firm or even escalate. 4/
On a personal note, having the opportunity to write w/ @samseitz3, a recent @GeorgetownCSS grad now beginning doctorate at Oxford, was so fun & I learned a lot. I feel lucky we found this opportunity to collaborate despite 2020 ruining all the things. 5/
Lastly, big thanks to @ProfSaunders, @NarangVipin, @JoshRovner1, @atjlennon, Mara Karlin, and David Bernstein for their help and guidance in various ways! 6/6

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