OTPIC Officially Retired

As of December 2, 2005, the Online Training Program on Intractable Conflict (OTPIC) has been officially retired, and is no longer open to new registrations.

The successor to OTPIC is a course called Dealing Constructively with Intractable Conflicts (DCIC). The new curriculum is built around one of our major projects, Beyond Intractability, and offers a much more extensive and informative set of learning materials than that available through OTPIC.

usiplogo.gif (1499 bytes)

International Online Training Program On Intractable Conflict

Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA

Coercive Diplomacy

Opening Page | Glossary | Menu Shortcut Page

Coercive diplomacy is the diplomacy of threats. Rather than relying on negotiation, diplomats will sometimes threaten adverse consequences if a demand is not met. Sometimes this works; at other times, it does not. Factors that influence the success of coercive diplomacy are similar to the factors that influence the success of other types of threats: the threat must be credible, the adverse consequence must be severe enough that the potential recipient really wants to avoid that outcome, and the demand must be clear and possible to meet. Even when these factors are present however, coercive diplomacy is risky. As with other threats, it tends further damage relationships and lead to a potential backlash against the threat and/or the threatening country later on. Backlash can, at times, be limited if the threat is combined with more integrative or exchange-based approaches. If rewards for compliance are offered in addition to the threat for non-compliance, the chances of success may be greater; also if the threat is seen to be legitimate, the chances of success may also rise.


Links to more information about, and examples of, Coercive Diplomacy

We have a number of articles on coercive diplomacy, all drawn from Alexander George's book on the topic. These include:

Alexander George -- Forceful Persuasion: Coercive Diplomacy as an Alternative to War

This is a summary of a book on coercive diplomacy. George explains the concept, discusses what variations there are in its use and what seems to determine its effectiveness.

Alexander George -- The Role of Force in Diplomacy: A Continuing Dilemma for U.S. Foreign Policy

This summary, also from George, examines how the U.S. has determined when to use coercive diplomacy and when not to.

Alexander George -- The Cuban Missile Crisis
This is a summary of the coercive diplomacy used in the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Alexander George -- United States-Japan Relations Leading to Pearl Harbor

This is a short summary of the U.S.'s attempt to use coercive diplomacy against Japan which George sees as contributing to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which brought the U.S. into World War II.

Alexander George -- The General Theory and Logic of Coercive Diplomacy
This article describes George's theory of coercive diplomacy in more detail than the earlier entries.
Dean Pruitt and Jeffery Rubin --  Escalation in the Cuban Missile Crisis
This is another view of the coercive diplomacy used in the Cuban Missile Crisis.


Links to Related Approaches

Legitimizing the Use of Force

Step-by-Step Application of Force with Negotiation Loop-backs



Identify Sources of Power / Power Strategy Mix


Links to Related Problems

Refusal to Negotiate 

Copyright 1998 Conflict Research Consortium  -- Contact: crc@colorado.edu