In international dispute mediation, a one-size-fits-all view of mediation may actually inhibit effective conflict resolution. Mediators must especially tailor the level of leverage to the needs of the situation. This essay first considers existing studies that have found both potential benefits and risks of heavy-handed third-party involvement as a conflict-management strategy. It then considers a few illustrative cases to demonstrate the importance of making sure that the tools of mediation fit the context. Finally, it concludes with a discussion of how sustained post-conflict peacekeeping and peacebuilding can reduce the risks of leverage in mediation.



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