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 9: Satisficing in international mediation: framing, justifying, and creating outcomes in peacemaking

Siniša Vuković and P. Terrence Hopmann

Abstract

This chapter explores a range of factors that shape the final outcomes in international crisis mediation. The emphasis is on the role mediators play in creating and justifying specific outcomes, which in turn may explain why final solutions seldom reach their full potential and frequently do not produce optimal outcomes. The chapter illustrates and conceptually distinguishes optimal solutions from all other outcomes that may be accepted within the constraints of crisis bargaining. These suboptimal outcomes are acceptedbecause of their sufficient and satisfactory nature to at least resolve the current crisis even if neglectingbroader resolution of the underlying issues of conflict. The chapter explores the frameworks from which these outcomes derive, followed by a reflection on how these outcomes attain a broader justification from the onset of the peacemaking process, starting with the pre-negotiation phase and including all procedural decisions that are pertinent to this stage. Finally, the chapter looks at the strategic and tactical choices mediators make in the process of creating and strengthening the outcomes that they pursue throughout the peacemaking process.

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