Policy Memos

Coercion in Action: Deterrence and Compellence in the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

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From both academic and policy perspectives, the current situation surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict provides an instructive case study in the role of coercion in ethnopolitical conflict. In the current status quo of “no peace, no war,” coercive policies are—and will be—heavily utilized, both in negotiations and in efforts to influence opponents and external actors.

According to traditional security studies approaches, coercion consists of two main paradigms: deterrence and compellence. In one of my previous memos, I examined ways in which Armenia implements deterrence strategies in the Karabakh conflict.1 In this memo, I analyze the compellence strategy Azerbaijan has implemented. This study also includes a comparative analysis of the interaction between the two main types of coercion. It argues that compellence, in comparison to deterrence, has a more complicated theoretical structure and implementation mechanism, which makes its practical realization more difficult. [...]

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