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POLI 244 Lecture Notes - Incrementalism, Nuclear Warfare

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 244
Stephen Saideman

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Coercive Diplomacy
Power to hurt is the power to bargain
Made possible due to revolution of air and nuclear warfare
Don't need to invade/conquer anymore
Can just stay home and send planes for instance
War is politics by other means
Violence is purposive, part of bargaining
Who loses more, who loses less
The deployment of forces have intended consequences
Here is what we are trying with this military force
Wars don't end with unconditional surrender
Some wars don't end with peace agreements
Different Uses of Force
Holding the territory you have
Taking the territory of others
Threaten to hurt someone if they do something you don't want them to do
Don't attack me or I'll destroy you
Threat to hurt someone if they do not change their behaviour
Move your troops or we will hurt you
Deterrence vs compellence
D --> maintaining status quo
Less embarrassing if successful
Easier than compellence
C --> Requires changing behaviour
Inherently face-losing
D&C: use of force/war = failure
Deterrence and compellence
To get the other side to back down
Key: credible threats
Voluntary surrender of flexibility
Clarity of commitment
Stake reputation
Incrementalism - start a process that could be spiral
Limitation of threats
Declining utility of force
Casualty is less and less accepted
Threats seem less credible
Interdependence of commitments
If you make threats and don't act on them, you look bad
e.g. Vietnam war
It wasn't about Vietnam, but about showing how strong the US army
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