Diplomacy plays a critical role in the management and resolution of armed conflict and crises in the international system. After a war breaks out, decision makers see the opening of talks as a constructive step in the conflict’s resolution – dialogue allows for deals to be brokered and the logistics of war termination to be coordinated among all the relevant parties. However, leaders often refuse to engage in talks with their opponent during an armed conflict, creating obstacles to peace. Under what conditions do belligerents refuse to engage in wartime diplomacy, and when might they reconsider? This project adds a framework of the potential costs of conversation to the existing literature on the benefits of diplomacy to better explain variation in countries’ approaches to wartime diplomacy.


Oriana Skylar Mastro is an assistant professor of security studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University where her research focuses on Chinese military and security policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, war termination, and coercive diplomacy. She is also an officer in the United States Air Force Reserve, for which she works as a political military strategist at PACAF. Previously, Dr. Mastro was a fellow in the Asia-Pacific Security program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a University of Virginia Miller Center National Fellow and a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Pacific Forum Sasakawa Peace Fellow. Additionally, she has worked on China policy issues at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, RAND Corporation, U.S. Pacific Command, and Project 2049. She holds a B.A. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D in Politics from Princeton University.