Forms of Coercion

Individual countries or groups of countries have several ways of putting pressure on others, outside the framework of formal governance:

●  They can offer economic inducements, apply tariffs or apply economic sanctions (, without the prior agreement of the UN Security Council or the World Trade Organisation to legalise the action.

●  They can choose to terminate normal diplomatic relations.

●  They can threaten to use such tactics.

In all these ways, countries rely upon their own strength to achieve their objectives.  They are all examples of behaviour which is categorised in this book as using Ungoverned Power, as part of a politically-calculated coercive foreign policy (

They can go further, and use military force in an act of realpolitik (  There are several ways of using ungoverned military force – as described below (7.3) – though this gives rise to many further problems (7.4).


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This is a current page, updated since publication of Patterns of Power Edition 3a.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/7273a.htm.