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Coercion, Survival, and WarWhy Weak States Resist the United States$
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Phil Haun

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804792837

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804792837.001.0001

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Survival and Coercion Failure

Survival and Coercion Failure

(p.32) 3 Survival and Coercion Failure
Coercion, Survival, and War

Phil Haun

Stanford University Press

This chapter considers why powerful states issue high level demands of weak states. Given a high probability of victory a powerful challenger must expect high level concessions to prefer coercion to brute force. When demands threaten the sovereignty of the weak state, however, it is likely to resist. The unitary actor assumption for the weak state is relaxed to also consider the survival concerns of its regime and regime leadership. Rationally, a powerful challenger should not coerce when demands threaten a target’s survival. However, when the costs of coercion are low and when there is uncertainty whether the target will concede then it may make sense to coerce while preparing for war. Also, if the external costs for adopting a brute force strategy are high, then first having the United Nations Security Council issue coercive resolutions may decrease the diplomatic and political costs for later going to war.

Keywords:   probability of victory, powerful challenger, coercion, brute force, unitary actor, uncertainty, diplomatic costs, political costs

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