Document Type : Research Paper


1 Professor, International Relations Department, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph. D., International Relations Department, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


In asymmetric conflicts, great powers often adopt coercive strategies toward weak states. This strategy is a combination of threat, and limited and warning use of force if necessary to impact the opposite's strategy choice. Given that the threats of the most powerful states are more effective because the penalty for target disobedience will be more intensive, it seems that the weak states must easily submit to great powers coercive deterrence and compellence demands to keep away from punishments. But why many evidence and experimental studies show the failure of this strategy in result of the resistance of weak states which finally leads great powers to take up costly brute force strategy? This is a question that Phil Haun answers with this hypothesis that the greater the coercive requests of the great powers threatens the survival of a weak state the more probable the failure of the coercive strategy will be. In this article, we modify Haun's theory based on weak state's costs and benefits calculations and its resistance preferences in order to extend the theory to cases which are not explicable in terms of Haun's hypothesis, and we inspect one of the cases- North Korean nuclear crisis- which has been shown to be incongruent with what occurred in real world by Haun's hypothesis and account for North Korean resistance strategy toward the United States' coercive demands.


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Volume 46, Issue 4
January 2017
Pages 919-934
  • Receive Date: 27 December 2014
  • Revise Date: 28 December 2016
  • Accept Date: 10 March 2016
  • First Publish Date: 21 December 2016