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U.S. Strikes a Message? Professor Jonathan Mercer cited in The New York Times 

Submitted by Caterina Rost on April 25, 2017 - 12:23pm

New York Times columnist Max Fisher interviewed UW Political Science Professor Jonathan Mercer for an article he wrote about the effectiveness of U.S. military strikes in sending a warning message to other foreign adversaries. Fisher argues that despite a lack of evidence, the Trump administration insists that its strikes in Syria and Afghanistan serve as a warning signal to leaders in other countries, such as Russia, North Korea, and Iran. Citing various academic studies, the article notes that “repeated investigation has found that this notion is baseless.” Professor Mercer added that “this line of reasoning ‘drives me crazy’” since “his entire field of study had never found evidence that would support the administration’s claims.” Furthermore, the article explores “when signals work, and [when they] don’t” and how signals can be made believable. Fisher also cites a study Professor Mercer published in 2013 to show that “reputations do not matter.”   

The article titled “Do U.S. Strikes Send a ‘Message’ to Rivals? There’s No Evidence” appeared on April 21, 2017. Fisher’s news column The Interpreter “explores the ideas and context behind major world events.”