Compellent Military Threats in U.S. Foreign Policy

| February 27, 2013

Defense and Intelligence Projects Podcast


Why do small states resist when the United States threatens them? Pfundstein describes the difference between a compellent threats, which is intended to convince a target state to change its behavior, and a deterrent threat, which is intended to prevent an adversary from taking some future action. In her research, Pfundstein evaluates why weak states choose to resist when the United States issues a compellent threat against them. She argues that the use of force has become so cheap for the United States that targets are not convinced it has the motivation to stick around long enough to defeat them after the threat of force fails. Pfundstein also considers U.S. drone policy. She argues that our current use of drones is not intended either for compellence or deterrence. Instead, we are employing these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as a brute force instrument to target and eliminate individuals that we perceive as dangerous to U.S. interests.

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For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Pfundstein, Dianne R.. “Compellent Military Threats in U.S. Foreign Policy.” News, , February 27, 2013.

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