This chapter summarizes the book’s main argument that the United States, because of its power advantage, has an incentive to make large coercive demands of weak states that if conceded threaten the survival of the state, the regime or its leadership. Due to international norms to first seek negotiated settlements prior to war, the U.S. has an incentive to go to the UN and adopt a coercive strategy the U.S. does not believe will, or does not want to succeed, to obtain justification and support for a brute force war. Alternative explanations based on non-rational behavior, uncertainty, and commitment problems help to explain why crises arise and why coercive diplomacy fails, but does not provide insight into when coercion is likely to succeed or fail. The book concludes with implications for U.S. foreign policy.
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