Dr. Van Jackson has a new article called “Grappling with the Fait Accompli: A Classical Tactic in the Modern Strategic Landscape” which appeared this week on the War on the Rocks blog.
In his article, Jackson describes variations in the fait accompli, an age-old tactic to challenge the status quo and secure unilateral gains while minimizing the risks of war.
He ties this concept to the international security environment, identifying the fait accompli tactic in Russian annexation of Crimea, North Korea’s recurring violence, and China’s contentious artificial island-building in the South China Sea.
According to Jackson: “Risks notwithstanding, the fait accompli can still reap gains for those who employ it partly because it circumvents conventional frames that policymakers rely on to make sense of international competition: putting out the political fires of the day (crisis management), defense budgeting (planning for the size and shape of future forces), or long-range storytelling (crafting statements of strategy that reconcile crisis management and force development). If these are the only modes in which policymakers are able to think and act, then they’re likely to be outmaneuvered by strategically minded adversaries.”
You can read the full article online at this link
Van Jackson is a senior editor at War on the Rocks, an associate professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, and an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He is also the author of the new book Rival Reputations: Coercion and Credibility in US-North Korea Relations (Cambridge University Press). The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect those of the Department of Defense, DKI-APCSS, or the U.S. Government.