Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy

Cornell University Press

At first glance, the U.S. decision to escalate the war in Vietnam in the mid-1960s, China's position on North Korea's nuclear program in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the EU resolution to lift what remained of the arms embargo against Libya in the mid-2000s would appear to share little in common. Yet each of these seemingly unconnected and far-reaching foreign policy decisions resulted at least in part from the exercise of a unique kind of coercion, one predicated on the intentional creation, manipulation, and exploitation of real or threatened mass population movements.

In Weapons of Mass Migration, Kelly M. Greenhill offers the first systematic examination of this widely deployed but largely unrecognized instrument of state influence. She shows both how often this unorthodox brand of coercion has been attempted (more than fifty times in the last half century) and how successful it has been (well over half the time). She also tackles the questions of who employs this policy tool, to what ends, and how and why it ever works. Coercers aim to affect target states' behavior by exploiting the existence of competing political interests and groups, Greenhill argues, and by manipulating the costs or risks imposed on target state populations.

This "coercion by punishment" strategy can be effected in two ways: the first relies on straightforward threats to overwhelm a target's capacity to accommodate a refugee or migrant influx; the second, on a kind of norms-enhanced political blackmail that exploits the existence of legal and normative commitments to those fleeing violence, persecution, or privation. The theory is further illustrated and tested in a variety of case studies from Europe, East Asia, and North America. To help potential targets better respond to-and protect themselves against-this kind of unconventional predation, Weapons of Mass Migration also offers practicable policy recommendations for scholars, government officials, and anyone concerned about the true victims of this kind of coercion-the displaced themselves.

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About the author

Kelly M. Greenhill is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Tufts University and Research Fellow at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She is the author of Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion, and Foreign Policy and coeditor of Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts: The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict, both from Cornell. She is also coeditor of The Use of Force: Military Power and International Politics, 8th edition.

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Publisher
Cornell University Press
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Published on
Mar 18, 2010
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Pages
342
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ISBN
9780801448713
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / Security (National & International)
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Peter Andreas
Big, attention-grabbing numbers are frequently used in policy debates and media reporting: "At least 200,000-250,000 people died in the war in Bosnia." "There are three million child soldiers in Africa." "More than 650,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the U.S. occupation of Iraq." "Between 600,000 and 800,000 women are trafficked across borders every year." "Money laundering represents as much as 10 percent of global GDP." "Internet child porn is a $20 billion-a-year industry."

Peter Andreas and Kelly M. Greenhill see only one problem: these numbers are probably false. Their continued use and abuse reflect a much larger and troubling pattern: policymakers and the media naively or deliberately accept highly politicized and questionable statistical claims about activities that are extremely difficult to measure. As a result, we too often become trapped by these mythical numbers, with perverse and counterproductive consequences.

This problem exists in myriad policy realms. But it is particularly pronounced in statistics related to the politically charged realms of global crime and conflict-numbers of people killed in massacres and during genocides, the size of refugee flows, the magnitude of the illicit global trade in drugs and human beings, and so on. In Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts, political scientists, anthropologists, sociologists, and policy analysts critically examine the murky origins of some of these statistics and trace their remarkable proliferation. They also assess the standard metrics used to evaluate policy effectiveness in combating problems such as terrorist financing, sex trafficking, and the drug trade.

Contributors: Peter Andreas, Brown University; Thomas J. Biersteker, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies-Geneva; Sue E. Eckert, Brown University; David A. Feingold, Ophidian Research Institute and UNESCO; H. Richard Friman, Marquette University; Kelly M. Greenhill, Tufts University and Harvard University; John Hagan, Northwestern University; Lara J. Nettelfield, Institut Barcelona D'Estudis Internacionals and Simon Fraser University; Wenona Rymond-Richmond, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Winifred Tate, Colby College; Kay B. Warren, Brown University

Kelly M. Greenhill
At first glance, the U.S. decision to escalate the war in Vietnam in the mid-1960s, China's position on North Korea's nuclear program in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the EU resolution to lift what remained of the arms embargo against Libya in the mid-2000s would appear to share little in common. Yet each of these seemingly unconnected and far-reaching foreign policy decisions resulted at least in part from the exercise of a unique kind of coercion, one predicated on the intentional creation, manipulation, and exploitation of real or threatened mass population movements.

In Weapons of Mass Migration, Kelly M. Greenhill offers the first systematic examination of this widely deployed but largely unrecognized instrument of state influence. She shows both how often this unorthodox brand of coercion has been attempted (more than fifty times in the last half century) and how successful it has been (well over half the time). She also tackles the questions of who employs this policy tool, to what ends, and how and why it ever works. Coercers aim to affect target states' behavior by exploiting the existence of competing political interests and groups, Greenhill argues, and by manipulating the costs or risks imposed on target state populations.

This "coercion by punishment" strategy can be effected in two ways: the first relies on straightforward threats to overwhelm a target's capacity to accommodate a refugee or migrant influx; the second, on a kind of norms-enhanced political blackmail that exploits the existence of legal and normative commitments to those fleeing violence, persecution, or privation. The theory is further illustrated and tested in a variety of case studies from Europe, East Asia, and North America. To help potential targets better respond to-and protect themselves against-this kind of unconventional predation, Weapons of Mass Migration also offers practicable policy recommendations for scholars, government officials, and anyone concerned about the true victims of this kind of coercion-the displaced themselves.

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