Caveats: A Case of What?

  • Gunnar FermannEmail author


Initially, caveats was defined as national reservations on the use of force in coalition operations. To prepare for empirical research on the politics of caveats, the phenomenon of caveats requires further conceptual clarification. To distinguish the empirical footprint of caveats from adjacent phenomena easily confused as caveats, we ask what caveats might be a case of. In this generalizing move, caveats become a phenomenon with theoretical and typological context. To make an informed decision on how caveats are to be defined, operationalized, and categorized, we also need to know what caveats might be a subclass of itself. Caveats are discussed in four analytical contexts: First, in a foreign policy-making decision-tree distinguish the decision to apply caveats from the initial decisions as to whether and how to participate in the coalition. Second, as one of several foreign policy-making instruments available in statecraft. Third, as one of several constraints on the use of force in foreign policy. Finally, caveats are contextualized as one of several means available for political principals to control military agents in the theater of war.


Foreign policy instrument Decision-tree Operational restrictions Use of force Civil–military relations Principal-agent theory 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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