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POLI 244 Lecture Notes - Carl Von Clausewitz, Carpet Bombing, Fungibility

Political Science
Course Code
POLI 244
Mahesh Shankar

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WEDNESDAY, JULY 18, 2012: The Uses of Force
If survival and security is so important, it naturally follows that states place a lot
of stock in military capability.
Coercive diplomacy covers how can states can use the threat of force without
actually using the force
We tend to think of political and military power as being separate (diplomacy vs.
force and war). War comes as a result of the failure of diplomacy. Military
power is often if not always used to achieve political goals. Carl von Clausewitz
(1780-1831) said that “war is politics by other means,” and we use violence to
achieve political goals we couldn’t achieve with other method. There is always
an element of violence in the practice of diplomacy, and the intention of war and
military action are not always about military victorytheir purposes can also be
diplomatic influence and political power. The role of force is very expansive.
Military capability can also be threatened to impose pain, destroy values of the
enemy, and cause suffering. As a result, the power of force is used as a
bargaining tool. If you have the power to exert force on an opponent you can
use that to get them to make concessions and do what you want. The basic
threat of force is the essence of coercive diplomacy. If you want something, you
don’t take it, you get the other to comply and give it to you by threatening pain
and suffering. Force can be used and violence perpetrated, when no force is
actually used. This means coercive diplomacy is more successful when one
doesn’t have the need to use them. Sometimes, the use of force (attacking
someone) can have the purpose of coercive diplomacy as wellusing a limited
amount of force is sending a message to the adversary that if they do not comply
the force will escalate. In asymmetric diplomacy, even less force is needed
because the stronger state can threaten immense pain and suffering, and this
threat is often enough for the weak state to give in.
Coercive diplomacy has been made more likely due to the revolution of air and
nuclear warfareit allows you to wage war from a distance. Air warfare opened
the possibility of delivering massive pain and suffering (ex. carpet bombing), and
the idea was to scare the enemy so much about the costs that would follow
going into war that they would succumb before it was a full scale war. The
development of nuclear weapons brought this to a whole new level. They are
the ultimate in pain in suffering, and they threaten extinguishing entire cities.
This is why they have been termed “the great equalizers.” The only way nuclear
weapons can be used are in a political and diplomatic sense--- they are a weapon
of politics, not warbecause it does not do any good to you to obliterate entire
cities and kill that many people making it a useless area for generations. They
are just threat.
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