Oriana Mastro - Georgetown University - 'Talking to the Enemy: Explaining Diplomatic Strategy in Asian Wars, 1950-1979'

Wed, May 3, 2017, 4:30 pm

Description: Diplomacy plays a critical role in the management and resolution of armed conflict and crises in the international system. After a war breaks out, decision makers see the opening of talks as a constructive step in the conflict’s resolution - dialogue allows for deals to be brokered and the logistics of war termination to be coordinated among all the relevant parties. However, in contemporary limited wars, there is a near universal tendency for states to initially fight for a period of time without engaging in talks. What factors explain whether states are open or closed to talking while fighting and when might their diplomatic posture change? This paper adds a framework of the potential costs of conversation to the existing literature on its benefits to better explain variation in countries’ approaches to wartime diplomacy. This framework is then tested with four case studies of conflict in Asia: Chinese decision making in the Korean war, China and Indian decision making in the Sino-Indian War, and North Vietnamese decision making in the Vietnam War. The findings have significant implications for the literature on diplomacy and the bargaining model of war.


Bio: Oriana Skylar Mastro is an assistant professor of security studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University where her research focuses on Chinese military and security policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, war termination, and coercive diplomacy. She is also in the United States Air Force Reserve, for which she works as a political military strategist for PACAF. 

Previously, Dr. Mastro was a fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) and a University of Virginia Miller Center National Fellow. Highly proficient in Mandarin,she has also worked on China policy issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, RAND Corporation, and U.S. Pacific Command. 

She holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D in Politics from Princeton University.

Oriana Mastro

Robertson Hall Bowl 002
Open to the Public