Journal Article - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Racism, Stereotypes, and War

  • Jonathan Mercer
| Fall 2023


International security scholars have largely overlooked the role of racism, assuming rational choices on the part of policymakers. Research demonstrates that this assumption is wrong.
Racism systematically distorts policymakers’ analyses of their allies’ and adversaries’ capabilities, interests, and resolve, potentially leading to costly choices regarding war and peace. 
When policymakers hold racist beliefs, as they did in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), their beliefs influence how they explain and predict their allies’ and adversaries’ behavior. 

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Jonathan Mercer, "Racism, Stereotypes, and War," International Security 48, no. 2 (Fall 2023): 7–48.

The Author