Casual Commitment in International Relations

  • Inis L. ClaudeJr


In late June, 1980, the new Secretary of State of the United States, Edmund Muskie, flew from Europe to a meeting of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. En route, he read a draft prepared by his subordinates for him to deliver at the meeting. Referring to the recent invasion of Thailand by Vietnam, the text asserted that the United States would abide by its security commitments. When the secretary asked what his government intended to do in support of Thailand, he was startled to learn that no plans had been made. He then proclaimed his distaste for mouthing empty rhetoric and insisted that ‘if there isn’t any substance to this, I am not going to say the words’. Urgent messages to Washington stimulated officials to develop a program of aid which, thanks to the magic of radio, Muskie was able to announce soon after his plane landed.


United States International Relation Global System World Order Collective Security 
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Copyright information

© Inis L. Claude, Jr 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inis L. ClaudeJr
    • 1
  1. 1.University of VirginiaUSA

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