Panama 1989: A Contrasting Template for Coercive Strategies
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI DEPT OF OPERATIONS
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In identifying and selecting military courses of action, military commanders must consider the mission, the enemy, the terrain and the time available for the envisioned operation. When developing a strategy based on coercion, strategic and operational planners must also consider preexisting conditions that may inhibit the successful use of the coercive strategy. A failure to identify negating conditions can quite possibly cause unacceptable delays, adversely affect non-targeted populations, or may even lead a commander to hastily adopt a less attractive alternative strategy. United States foreign policy with Panama from 1987-89 provides an excellent examples of how coercive strategies fail due to preexisting conditions. In analyzing the coercive strategies applied against General Noriega, the level of effectiveness these strategies attained and the significant reasons they failed, can be applied as a template to similar regional crises. Teddy Roosevelts most famous words, speak softly but carry a big stick, can still be an effective strategy for the future. But without a clear understanding of the inherent limitations associated with coercive strategies, it will fall well short of achieving U.S. national policy objectives.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics