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The Dynamics of Coercion


  • 3 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • Page extent: 300 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.61 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 355/.033573
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: UA23 .B96 2001
  • LC Subject headings:
    • United States--Military policy
    • Limited war
    • United States--Foreign relations--2001-

Library of Congress Record

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 (ISBN-13: 9780521809917 | ISBN-10: 0521809916)

DOI: 10.2277/0521809916

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published April 2002

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

 (Stock level updated: 17:00 GMT, 06 October 2015)


Successful coercion should be relatively simple for the United States. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States is without rivals in military might, political influence, or economic strength. Yet despite the lopsided US edge in raw power, regional foes persist in defying the threats and ultimatums brought by the United States and its allies. This book examines why some attempts to strong-arm an adversary work while others do not. It explores how coercion today differs from coercion during the Cold War. It describes the constraints on the United States emanating from the need to work within coalitions and the restrictions imposed by domestic politics, and it assesses the special challenges likely to arise when an adversary is a non-state actor or when the use of weapons of mass destruction is possible.

• Most up-to-date survey of coercion in international relations; focus on US • Examines problem from adversary's point of view as well as US • Covers range of challenges, including guerrilla warfare, nuclear/chemical/biological warfare, smaller state aggression (e.g. Iraq)


1. Introduction; Part I. Coercive Strategy Making: 2. The theory of coercion; 3. Coercive Mechanisms; 4. Coercive instruments; Part II. The Context of Coercion Today: 5. Domestic politics and coercion; 6. Coercion and coalitions; 7. Humanitarian coercion and non-state actors; 8. Weapons of mass destruction and US coercion; Part III. The Future of US Coercion.


'Anyone wanting to know why the exercise of US power often doesn't work must read Byman and Waxman's excellent The Dynamics of Coercion; its analysis of US domestic politics and foreign coercion (in coalitions in particular) is clear, coherent and full of good sense.' The Guardian

'… this carefully researched and well-argued work will be of great interest to those concerned with the realities and specific challenges of post-Cold War UK foreign policy implementation.' Journal of Peace Research

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