and Influence is now six decades old, the theme it stresses is especially
pertinent at a time with the current state of American foreign policy. In his
book, Schelling asserts that modern military strength is based on the power to
hurt. It’s interesting to see whether or not the diplomacy of violence is a viable way to win a war.
In conclusion, Schelling states that
coercive diplomacy, based on the power to hurt, is commensurate with the power
to take and hold. Furthermore, we are in an era in which the power to hurt has
been enhanced by modern technology. In addition, war is no longer a contest of
strength rather a contest of pain and endurance.
Schelling then discusses the three stages in
the involvement of noncombatants. The first stage (1648-Napoleonic era) people
may get hurt by inconsiderate combatants. Also, there was little concern with
the territory in which they lived had a new sovereign. Furthermore, hurting was
not a decisive instrument of warfare. The second stage was characterized by war
being a national effort. In addition, propaganda caused war to become vulgarized.
In the third stage, if one can coerce people and their governments while war is
going on,one does not need to wait until he has achieved victory.
Lastly, Schelling disproves of the assertion
that man for the first time in history has enough military power to eliminate
his species from earth. Schelling asserts that this is false by referring to
the United States bombing on Japan. In addition, he asserts that nuclear
weapons can do it quickly. Furthermore, Schelling asserts that military force
has usually had to penetrate,to exhaust,or to collapse opposing military force.
For instance, the allies in WWI could not inflict coercive pain and suffering
directly on the Germans in a decisive way until they could defeat the German
army; and the Germans could not coerce the French people with bayonets unless
they first beat the Allied troops that stood in the way. Schelling concludes
that victory is no longer a prerequisite for hurting the enemy.
Next, Schelling discusses the strategic
role of pain and damage. Schelling asserts that pure violence appears mostly in
unequal countries with confrontation accusing at the end of a war. In addition, military victory is often a
prerequisite to the exploration of the power to hurt. Schelling employs the
example of Xenophon burning the villages
to show other tribes what would happen if they did not give in. On the
contrary, If enemy forces are not strong enough to oppose, or are unwilling to
engage, there is no need to achieve victory as a prerequisite to getting on
with a display of coercive violence. For instance, American strategy to achieve
victory over enemies by technology and geography of warfare. This example
illustrates that the American strategy in World War II kept coercive violence from being decisive before
First, Schelling makes a clear distinction
between brute force and coercion in terms of strengths,intent,and the use of
force versus the threat of force. Schelling asserts that brute force is
concerned with enemy strength,not enemy interest. On the other hand, the
coercive use of the power to hurt is the very exploitation of enemy wants and
fears. Pertaining to intent, brute force intent was to destroy for
extermination sake. For example, Indians being killed because authorities
couldn’t confine them and decides to exterminate them. By way of contrast,
coercion intent is to make an example out of someone if they fail to comply.
For instance, If some Indians were killed to make other Indians behave, that
was coercive violence-or intended to be, whether or not it was effective.
Furthermore, Schelling asserts that the difference cannot quite be expressed as
one between the use of force and the threat of force.To further clarify,
Schelling states that the actions involved in forcible accomplishment, on the
one hand, and in fulfilling a threat, on the other, can be quite different. Lastly,
coercion and brute force differ in relative versus absolute power. Brute force
is measured by relative power whereas coercion is not reduced by an adversary
ability to hurt in return.
In Chapter One: “The Diplomacy of Violence”
of Arms and Influence, Schelling
asserts that the traditional military strategy has become the diplomacy of
violence. He supports his claim by
making a distinction between brute force,taking what you want, and coercion
“the diplomacy of violence” as using threats to force an adversary to comply.
In addition, Schelling supports his claim by analyzing the strategic role of
pain and damage as well as the impact of nuclear weapons on military strategy.