n Journal of Public Administration and Development Alternatives (JPADA) - Armed diplomacy and the management of the 2016-2017 Gambia crisis

Volume 4 Number 1-1
  • ISSN : 2415-5446


The management of the Gambia crisis on 20 January 2017 through a combination of persuasive diplomacy and threat to use of force by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) backed Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forces consonance with the realist tenet regarding the effectiveness of merging soft power diplomatic tools with hard power in conflict resolution. This illustrates the blurred line between military force and peaceful diplomatic tools. To this end, this paper seeks to examine the extent to which the fusion of peaceful diplomacy and military intervention yielded desirable outcomes in resolving the Gambian crisis. The article concludes that the peaceful settlement of disputes is always better that using force. However, a fusion of the two should never be ruled out because sometimes the end justifies the means. The article is informed by Fredrick the Great’s conception that ‘diplomacy without arms is like music without instruments’ and Henry Nau’s theory of armed diplomacy as the best diplomacy. Since data on the Gambia crisis and its resolution exists largely in online accounts and is not aggregated, this study is informed by a narrow evidentiary base which encompasses organisational documents, newspaper accounts and policy reports.

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