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Broadly defined, coercion is the process of of starting or stopping changes in political or individual behavior through the use of threats, intimidation, or some other form of pressure—most commonly, the application or the threat of force.[1] In the international context, successful coercion is a form of compellence,[2] most often imposed by war or its threat, although all the tools of grand strategy may be applied, such as economic warfare. Some consider it a synonym for compellence. [3]

On the individual level, coercive interrogation is a recognized subset of interrogation, with, for example, the threat or actuality of torture.


  1. Kelly M. Greenhill (Spring/Summer 2010), "Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement as an Instrument of Coercion", Strategic Insights, Center for Contemporary Conflict, U.S. Naval Postgraduate School
  2. Thomas Schelling (1963), The Strategy of Conflict, Harvard University Press, p. 195
  3. Patrick C. Bratton (Summer, 2005), "When is coercion successful? And why can't we agree on it?", Naval War College Review