Instead, the book offers a new theoretical framework to explain how a small number of factors shape distinct “paths of persuasion”, including conflict characteristics, political contexts, and source-recipient relations.
Professor Meyer explained that warnings and their persuasiveness vary greatly between cases, political contexts and organisational settings because there are so many kinds of warning signs given. They come from the inside of the political system – diplomats on the ground, country desk officers and intelligence analysts – as well as those who warn from the outside, such as foreign correspondents and NGO staff.
Professor Meyer argues that lessons learned from this research could improve how people communicate warning claims, as well as “increase the probability that decision-makers would take some kind of preventive action, or if they don’t, can be held accountable for not accepting some of the warning claims if they were from trustworthy and authoritative sources.”
Undergraduate students taking European foreign policy and foreign policy analysis modules are already benefiting from insights gleaned from this research. Students in a final year module have studied forecasting and the European Union’s role in foreign affairs and, for the International School of Government, Professor Meyer has developed a new module on Foresight and Horizon-scanning in Policy planning. In the future, these insights could also be featured in modules dealing with conflict prevention in peace studies or strategic surprise in intelligence studies.