Coercive diplomacy is also called forceful persuasion. It is the use of limited force or threats in persuading opponents to undo or call off an action. For instance, coercive diplomacy can be used in persuading an opponent to give up a territory that may have been occupied before.
In simple terms, coercive diplomacy is an attempt to have a target which can be a group or groups in a state, a state or even non-state actors change their objectionable behavior via the use of threats or unlimited force. The term is used in reference to diplomacy that presupposes the use of a military force in achieving political objectives.
Essentially, coercive diplomacy is a diplomatic strategy that depends on threats to use force instead of using force. In case force has to be used in strengthening the diplomatic efforts in persuasion, it is used in exemplary manners in form of limited military actions in demonstrating willingness and resolution to escalate it to higher levels when or if necessary.
Analysts have described coercive diplomacy as a political-diplomatic strategy whose aim is to influence the will of the adversary or influence the incentive structure. This strategy combines force threats and when necessary, selective and limited use of it in controlled and discrete increments in bargaining a strategy that more often include positive inducements.
The aim of this strategy is to induce the adversary to agree to or comply with the set demands or negotiate for a favorable compromise while at the same time managing the political crisis in an attempt to prevent or avoid unwanted escalation of military actions. Coercive diplomacy is different from deterrence theory, a strategy that aims at dissuading the adversaries from undertaking a particular action that they have not started.
Coercive diplomacy involves efforts that are aimed at persuading the opponent to reverse or stop an action. The central task of coercive diplomacy is to create cost expectation in the opponent with an aim of eroding their motivation for continuing with what they are doing. In coercive diplomacy, force is made more flexible as a psychological instrument or policy as opposed to a quick and decisive military strategy that uses force as the blunt instrument.
Coercive diplomacy has been used as a common and intriguing practice while conducting inter-state relations. It has been used by many countries to achieve political objectives while fostering national interest of states without going into wars.
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