Why "Coercive Diplomacy" is a Dangerous Farce
Offering to talk while threatening military force hasn't worked in 30 years.
Date Written: 2018-01-16
Publisher: Dissident Voice
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22214
In the context of rising tensions between the USA and North Korea 2017-2018, historian and journalist Gareth Porter, details the history of failure of "Coercive Diplomacy" as a tool in US foreign policy.
With his recent "my (nuclear) button is bigger than yours" taunt, Donald Trump's rhetoric has fully descended into school yard braggadocio, with North Korea's Kim Jong-un as a convenient foil. But his administration's overwhelming reliance on military and economic pressure rather than on negotiations to influence North Korea's nuclear weapons and ICBM programs is hardly new. It is merely a continuation of a well-established tradition of carrying out what the national security elite call "coercive diplomacy".
As Alexander George, the academic specialist on international relations who popularized the concept, wrote:
"The general idea of coercive diplomacy is to back one's demand on an adversary with a threat of punishment for noncompliance that he will consider credible and potent enough to persuade him to comply with the demand."
The converse of that fixation on coercion, of course, is rejection of genuine diplomatic negotiations, which would have required the United States to agree to changes in its own military and diplomatic policies.