Institutional rules--procedural, structural, and normative--are held to play important roles in affecting strategies and outcomes. Their influence is widely recognized in domestic politics, but their role in international politics remains relatively underdeveloped. In this close examination of how institutional rules have affected the relative influence and power of members of the Organization of American States, Shaw demonstrates the importance of rules where they are often considered to be least effective: shaping the behavior of a hegemon, the United States. Four factors are considered important in analyzing the effects of institutional rules: the level of consensus among Latin American members, the extent of threat to regional stability, the amount of resources needed to address an issue, and the reliance on norms, including non-intervention and state sovereignty. Tracing their interaction, Shaw finds that the rules affected state and organizational decisions in the highly germane area of conflict resolution. By demonstrating the importance of organizational rules where they might be expected to be least effective, this is an important contribution to the study of international relations.
"Carolyn Shaw not only breathes fresh analytic life into the matter of inter-American conflict resolution but also provides a corrective to the too-often ill-informed commentary on the subject. She details and analyzes a series of complex disputes during the Cold War among several Latin American states and assesses how the members of the Organization of American States, the United States paramount but not always or easily dominant among them, dealt with the crises. Shaw provides appropriate historical background and blends the entire study with acute theoretical insight with reference to both institutional dynamics and foreign policy analyses." - G. Pope Atkins, Professor Emeritus, United States Naval Academy, and recently Research Fellow, Institute for Latin American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
"Cooperation, Conflict and Consensus in the Organization of American States provides an excellent overview and analysis of the OAS and U.S.-Latin American relations. Shaw also helps fill a significant gap in the international organization literature." - Nancy D. Lapp, California State University, Sacramento