Coercion: A Credible and Capable United States Military Instrument of Power Key to Future US Foreign Policy Success
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV NORFOLK VA JOINT ADVANCED WARFIGHTING SCHOOL
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To employ a successful foreign policy that protects United States interests in the post-Cold War environment, U.S. leadership will need to use a consistent, credible, and capable military instrument of power to apply coercion. Recent attempts to coerce other nations to modify their behaviors or actions have met with mixed results, showing that simply having the largest or most powerful military force in the world does not necessarily equal success. Coercion failures in Panama and Libya, as well as partial success in Bosnia and Kosovo, show that senior military and political leaders could improve future efforts by applying lessons from prior coercion attempts. To back diplomacy with military force, U.S. leaders must first determine the objectives for any planned intervention and internally agree upon a coercive strategy using elements of power that are acceptable to employ against the adversary. Next, they must communicate the desired objective clearly and consistently to the adversary without publicly limiting force options. Then they should threaten or apply the chosen force options against the adversarys weakest points to compel compliance. Finally, pressure should be increased until the adversary complies, conditions change, or, if necessary, military force imposes the acceptable solution. Only through consistent, credible, and capable threats of force will the United States achieve success in future coercion efforts.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics