Danish Defence Research Database


Coercive diplomacy

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Coercive diplomacy (CD) involves the use of military threats and/or limited force in support of diplomatic negotiations relying on persuasion, rewards and assurances. This combination of coercion (sticks) and diplomacy (carrots) is as old as the practice of diplomacy, and it is typically employed when actors want to resolve war-threatening crises and conflicts without resorting to full-scale war. This chapter analyses the establishment of CD as a field of study during the Cold War and shows how the theory and practice of CD has evolved in response to the strategic challenges of the day. Four separate strategic eras with distinct challenges and theoretical developments are identified since the field’s emergence in the 1960s: the Cold War, the humanitarian 1990s, the war on terror and the hybrid future. The record clearly shows that skilful use of coercive diplomacy can resolve crises and conflicts short of full-scale war when the conditions are right. However, it is equally clear that our understanding of these conditions remains wanting in several respects. More research and scholarly attention are needed if we want to realize more of the potential for peaceful conflict resolution that coercive diplomacy does hold.
Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE Handbook of Diplomacy
EditorsCostas M. Constantinou, Pauline Kerr, Paul Sharp
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherSage Publications Ltd
Publication date25 Aug 2016
ISBN (Print)9781446298565
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2016


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