American Political Scientists on the Use of Force: Classifying the Concepts

  •  Darya Sukhovey    
  •  Yana Gayvoronskaya    


This article argues that existing general typologies of the use of force concepts accepted by American political scientists do not correspond with the reality. The survey compares several distinctive approaches which are generally proposed to classify the ideas elaborated in American political circuits and comes to the conclusion that none of the mentioned approaches could be applied directly to the use of force issue due to numerous difficulties occur while drawing on existing classifications. The article proposes a new method for systematizing these American political theories which is based on two main criteria: scholars’ attitude towards actual use of force and their perceptions of threats/challenges to national security. According to the newly introduced typology there are three major trends in American political thought on the issue: the first one consolidates those who support active and aggressive use of force (proponents of intervention or Interventionalists), the second one includes concepts of those authors who are not against the use of American forces abroad but stand on less aggressive positions (Conceptualists), and the third one unites those American political authors who insist that the US should use the force only in case of direct imminent attack on the American soil (Defenders).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.