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Securing Approval

Domestic Politics and Multilateral Authorization for War

Among the most momentous decisions that leaders of a state are called upon to make is whether or not to initiate warfare. How their military will fare against the opponent may be the first consideration, but not far behind are concerns about domestic political response and the reaction of the international community.

Securing Approval makes clear the relationship between these two seemingly distinct concerns, demonstrating how multilateral security organizations like the UN influence foreign policy through public opinion without ever exercising direct enforcement power. While UN approval of a proposed action often bolsters public support, its refusal of endorsement may conversely send a strong signal to domestic audiences that the action will be exceedingly costly or overly aggressive. With a cogent theoretical and empirical argument, Terrence L. Chapman provides new evidence for how multilateral organizations matter in security affairs as well as a new way of thinking about the design and function of these institutions.


“Why do leaders sometimes seek approval from international organizations when contemplating the use of force? Why does such approval matter? Chapman applies rigorous theory and systematic empiricism to these important questions and helps us understand the critical role of domestic politics in international security affairs.”

Alexander Thompson | Ohio State University

Securing Approval is a fascinating and important study that provides fresh insight into the conditions under which governments solicit the approval of international organizations for foreign policy decisions.”—Edward Mansfield, University of Pennsylvania

Edward Mansfield | University of Pennsylvania

“A work of meticulous social science that will enhance readers’ understanding of the interaction of states, intergovernmental organizations, and domestic publics in the realm of international security.”

David Kinsella | Portland State University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



1. The Value of Multilateral Authorization

2. Institutions, Member State Bias, and Information Transmission

3. Appealing to Multilateral Security Organizations

4. UN Authorization and U.S. Public Opinion

5. Institutional Decisions and Coalition Building





American Political Science Association: APSA-Conflict Processes Section Best Book Award

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