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Cover Foreign Policy

24. The failure of diplomacy and protection in Syria  

Karin Aggestam and Tim Dunne

This chapter argues that the the international community’s response to the Syrian civil war was a failure of resolute diplomacy. It first recounts how a popular uprising was brutally supressed by the Bashar al-Assad government’s military forces, sparking a ‘new war’ where many of the protagonists have more to gain from war than peace. It then considers the diplomatic strategies pursued by regional and global powers, as well as the leading players in the intervention and mediation process such as United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, UN diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, and Swedish-Italian diplomat Staffan de Mistura. It also discusses the use of crisis management and coercive diplomacy to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention. The case of Syria illustrates how responsibility to protect (R2P) requires a strong consensus among the great powers in order to be effective.


Cover Contemporary Security Studies

20. Coercive Diplomacy: Countering War-Threatening Crises and Armed Conflicts  

Peter Viggo Jakobsen

Nowadays states rarely resort to war to defeat each other or to address war-threatening crises and armed conflicts. Instead, coercive diplomacy has emerged as their strategy of choice when persuasion and other non-military instruments fall short. Coercive diplomacy involves the use of military threats and/or limited force (sticks) coupled with inducements and assurances (carrots) in order to influence the opponent to do something it would prefer not to. States use coercive diplomacy in the hope of achieving their objectives without having to resort to full-scale war. This chapter presents the strategy of coercive diplomacy and its requirements for success and shows how states have employed it to manage crises and conflicts during the three strategic eras that the world has passed through since the end of the Cold War.