This book examines the use of military force as a coercive tool by the United States, using lessons drawn from the post-Cold War era (1991–2018).
The volume reveals that despite its status as sole superpower during the post-Cold War period, US efforts to coerce other states failed as often as they succeeded. In the coming decades, the United States will face states that are more capable and creative, willing to challenge its interests and able to take advantage of missteps and vulnerabilities. By using lessons derived from in-depth case studies and statistical analysis of an original dataset of more than 100 coercive incidents in the post-Cold War era, this book generates insight into how the US military can be used to achieve policy goals. Specifically, it provides guidance about the ways in which, and the conditions under which, the US armed forces can work in concert with economic and diplomatic elements of US power to create effective coercive strategies.
This book will be of interest to students of US national security, US foreign policy, strategic studies and International Relations in general.
Table of Contents
1. Coercion in a Competitive World Melanie W. Sisson, James A. Siebens, and Barry M. Blechman
2. Multi-tasking: How the Armed Forces Support US National Interests Short of War Melanie W. Sisson, James A. Siebens, and Barry M. Blechman
3. Making Use of History Jacob Aronson, Daniel Tuke, Paul Huth, and Melanie Sisson
4. Syria: Stumbling into Stalemate Alex Bollfrass
5. Iran and Iraq: Strange Successes, Strange Failures Kenneth M. Pollack
6. Western Balkans: Hard Targets and Harder Victories William J. Durch
7. Russia: What’s Old is New Again Thomas Wright
8. China: Narrow Straits and Rising Tensions Michael S. Chase
9. Coercion in the Past, and the Future of Competition Melanie W. Sisson, James A. Siebens, and Barry M. Blechman
Melanie W. Sisson is Senior Fellow with the Stimson Center in Washington, DC, USA.
James A. Siebens is a Research Associate with the Stimson Center’s Defense Strategy and Planning Program, Washington, DC, USA.
Barry M. Blechman co-founded the Stimson Center in 1989, and chaired its board until 2004.
"So often, revisions fall short of distinguished predecessors. In this case, we see brilliance built on brilliance as the seminal work, Force Without War, is brought up to the present by a trenchant team of scholars and practitioners. This new volume will clearly become a well-thumbed textbook in our nation's war colleges and military academies. As a combatant commander in both Latin America at US Southern Command and later in four years as NATO Supreme Allied Commander, I often turned to the original study -- this new book will illuminate the path ahead for my successors in senior command."---Admiral Jim Stavridis (USN ret.)
"The post-Cold War era will soon be as long as the Cold War was. Military Coercion and US Foreign Policy could not be more timely. It is not only a masterful updating of a classic study, but a thorough and wide-ranging assessment of the relevance – real and perceived – of American military power in a world where interests, adversaries, and conflicts interact in more complicated ways than ever."--- Richard K. Betts, Columbia University, USA
'This impressive edited volume updates one of the classic books on coercion as a tool of U.S. foreign policy, bringing Force Without War up to the present day and providing key lessons for the future. It combines statistical analysis with detailed case studies, written by noted experts, to show where and how military coercion can help achieve U.S. national objectives without resorting to large-scale military operations. Its findings will be especially helpful for the policymakers charged with navigating through today’s turbulent strategic environment, and finding ways to successfully compete with Russia, China, and others without escalating into major war." --- Nora Bensahel, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC, USA, and Contributing Editor War on the Rocks
''Building on the work that Barry Blechman, Stephen Kaplan, and colleagues did in one of the best defense studies of the 1970s, Force Without War, this 21st-century Stimson team has again asked the question, based on more recent cases (and even more rigorous methodology), `how well does the deployment or employment of American military power serve the stated objectives of the United States in various crises around the world?’ The approach is careful and specific—looking for tangible, tactical and measurable effects, rather than waxing on about overall foreign policy outcomes. In other words, this book provides the kind of analytical and falsifiable research that characterizes the best of modern social science—but with the savvy and practicality of Washington insiders who understand how U.S. foreign policy is actually made. It turns out that force 'works' in this way about half the time. Perhaps even more interesting are the book’s findings about when force is most likely to be effective and when it is not. For example, sending one aircraft carrier to a crisis turns out to be about as effective as sending several. And deploying U.S. forces shoulder-to-shoulder with strong allied participation makes a significant positive difference as well. The findings provide extremely helpful grist for policymakers deciding when and if to send U.S. military forces to deter or compel American adversaries.''—Michael O’Hanlon, Brookings Institution, Washington DC, USA
'Military Coercion and US Foreign Policy successfully explores the theme of the use of force short of war by analyzing current events and case studies that span the gamut of strategic competition. The editors demonstrate the importance of their recommendations for coordinating and employing military force and foreign policy to ensure successful coercive effects.'--Wilberto Sanchez, Air University, Air War College, H-Net, January 2022