Cross This Line and I’m Gonna Do Nothing! (The Boston Globe)

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The Boston GlobeEarly this month, after confirming that Syrian President Bashar Assad had deployed chemical weapons, President Obama held true to his word by announcing that the U.S. would arm Syrian rebels fighting against the Assad regime, The Boston Globe reports. Obama had warned Assad ten months ago about the use of such weapons. The Globe takes a look at the impact that such threats, followed-up on or not, have had on a nation’s or leader’s credibility.

The article highlights the research of Dartmouth’s Daryl Press, an associate professor of government. In his 2006 book, Calculating Credibility, Press examined three 20th-century cases that included notable threats and follow-ups, including the lead-up to World War II and the Cuban missile crisis.

“When I went into this, I was certain that backing down was going to hurt credibility,” Press said. But what he found was that even if the leaders backed down from their original threats, they were still taken seriously in the future.

Read the full story, published 6/23/13 by The Boston Globe.