Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises
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Research Handbook on Mediating International Crises

Edited by Jonathan Wilkenfeld, Kyle Beardsley and David Quinn

Current conceptions of mediation can often fail to capture the complexity and intricacy of modern conflicts. This Research Handbook addresses this problem by presenting the leading expert opinions on international mediation, examining how international mediation practices, mechanisms and institutions should adapt to the changing characteristics of contemporary international crises.
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Chapter 6: Mediation and its compatibility with other conflict management approaches

J. Michael Greig, Andrew P. Owsiak and Paul F. Diehl


Third parties employ myriad conflict management strategies when intervening in an interstate crisis. Of these, disputants turn frequently to mediation, which allows them to retain control over the process and outcome of their dispute while also receiving third-party assistance. Mediation, however, does not occur in isolation. Most interstate conflicts experience multiple conflict management attempts, many of which are not mediation. Mindful of this, the authors review the most prominent alternatives to mediation, including legal approaches (arbitration and adjudication), sanctions, and peacekeeping. For each strategy, they sketch its defining characteristics, compare and contrast these to mediation (as a baseline), and then explore an understudied, yet critical, aspect: the compatibility and sequencing of conflict management strategies. In particular, they explore how each strategy fits with the logic of mediation, and demonstrate how some combinations and sequences of strategies may enhance conflict management, while others undermine it.

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