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The Sword is Not Enough: Arabs, Israelis, and the Limits of Military Force

WEBINAR RECORDING

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On November 10, political scientist Jeremy Pressman (University of Connecticut) discussed his timely new book, The Sword is Not Enough: Arabs, Israelis, and the Limits of Military Force. Drawing on historical evidence from the 1950s, the author presented and challenged the dominant belief that the use of military force leads to triumph while negotiations and concessions lead to defeat and further unwelcome challenges.

About the Talk

In this talk, Professor Jeremy Pressman discussed his new book, The Sword is Not Enough: Arabs, Israelis, and the Limits of Military Force (Manchester University Press, 2020). Followed by an audience question and answer session, moderated by Professor Dov Waxman, director of the Y&S Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. Originally recorded November 10, 2020.

Program sponsored by the UCLA Y&S Nazarian Center. Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for Middle East Development.

 

About the Book

The Sword is Not Enough: Arabs, Israelis, and the Limits of Military Force (Manchester University Press, 2020) explores why the default use of military force on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict has prevented its peaceful resolution. Whether called deterrence or war, armed struggle or terrorism, the author demonstrates that the history of conflict reveals that violence has been counterproductive.

In the book, Professor Jeremy Pressman writes, "A belief in armed force as the preferred policy instrument means that countries, or the Palestinian national movement and its constituent elements, and their leaders assume that things like threats to use force, arms buildups, strong and militant rhetoric, high spending on national security, deterrence, coercive diplomacy, and, when necessary, violence, conflict, and war are the key elements in a country's or organizations foreign-policy toolbox. At the same time, actors may recognize that there are other diplomatic and cultural approaches - I am especially thinking of negotiations - but they nevertheless hold that such efforts are secondary to military strength, force, and coercion." 

The author concludes that diplomacy is the only answer to ending the decades-long conflict. "Negotiations make room for nuance and clever solutions, whereas force is often a blunt, winner-takes-all instrument. In negotiations, the parties set priorities and start to think more deeply both about what they must have and about what they might be willing to concede in the name of stability or peace."


About the Speaker

Jeremy Pressman is associate professor of Political Science and director of Middle East Studies at the University of Connecticut, and the author of The Sword is Not Enough: Arabs, Israelis, and the Limits of Military Force (Manchester University Press, 2020). His research specialties are the Arab-Israeli peace process, U.S. foreign policy, and the scope of political protests in the United States. Pressman has held fellowships at Harvard University, the University of Sydney, and the Humanities Institute at the University of Connecticut. He previously worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and is a former term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Professor Pressman also co-directs the Crowd Counting Consortium at crowdcounting.org.

He was a Fulbright fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in spring 2019. Pressman is the author of other books, including Warring Friends: Alliance Restraint in International Politics (2008), part of Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, and Point of No Return: The Deadly Struggle for Middle East Peace (1999), with Geoffrey Kemp. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.