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An International Expectation: Emotion and Australia's Intervention in the Solomon Islands

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Abstract:

When Australia intervened in the Solomon Islands in July 2003, it did so having publicly ruled out any chance of intervention only six months prior to the first troops landing in Honiara. This presents an apparent puzzle—what happened between January and July 2003 that changed the minds of Australian policymakers? Current academic explanations for this turnaround are inadequate. I turn to emotions, therefore, to help explain the change in Australia's attitude toward intervention. The role of emotion in global politics has begun to receive greater attention from international relations scholars. This article builds on recent advances in psychological research which suggest that emotion plays an important role in constituting rationality. It argues that humiliation, confidence, and pride—conferred on Australia's leaders by their involvement in the invasion of Iraq—played a significant part in Australia's decision to intervene in the Solomon Islands.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2012

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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