After the Cold War, with the advent of low-interest, “optional”, post-modern warfare, regional conflicts and failed states have illuminated the radars in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states. For these countries, as the expected need for military force relinquished, its actual use increased. Left with a need for improved tools for handling the increasing number of international security issues, the strategy of coercive diplomacy has never been of more current interest. This thesis seeks to address a lacuna in contemporary theorizing about coercive diplomacy, namely the under-theorization of the adversary. Through within-case and cross-case analysis of the NATO interventions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, I attempt to show how both scientists and political decision-makers can benefit from a more in-depth analysis of the coerced.
The thesis takes the theoretical framework developed by Bruce Jentleson and Christopher Whytock as a starting point. As a significant step in the right direction, their model of coercive diplomacy better accounts for the motivations, interests, and expected reactions of the target state. Furthermore, I seek to congruence test the theory’s predictions against the historical outcomes of NATO’s coercive diplomatic attempts. The results indicate that the framework delivers generally correct predictions, and that further theoretical development in this direction is warranted.