Coercing Compliance - State-Initiated Brute Force in Today's World
Publisher: Stanford Security Studies
Few global security issues stimulate more fervent passion than the application of brute force. Despite the fierce debate raging about it in government, society and the Academy, inadequate strategic understanding surrounds the issue, prompting the urgent need for —the first comprehensive systematic global analysis of 21st century state-initiated internal and external applications of brute force.
Based on extensive case evidence, Robert Mandel assesses the short-term and long-term, the local and global, the military, political, economic, and social, and the state and human security impacts of brute force. He explicitly isolates the conditions under which brute force works best and worst by highlighting force initiator and force target attributes linked to brute force success and common but low-impact force legitimacy concerns. Mandel comes to two major overarching conclusions. First, that the modern global application of brute force shows a pattern of futility—but one that is more a function of states' misapplication of brute force than of the inherent deficiencies of this instrument itself. Second, that the realm for successful application of state-initiated brute force is shrinking: for while state-initiated brute force can serve as a transitional short-run local military solution, he says, it cannot by itself provide a long-run global strategic solution or serve as a cure for human security problems. Taking the evidence and his conclusions together, Mandel provides policy advice for managing brute force use in the modern world.