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Deterrence Deterrence is the effort by one actor to persuade another actor to refrain from some action by convincing the opponent that the costs will.

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Presentation on theme: "Deterrence Deterrence is the effort by one actor to persuade another actor to refrain from some action by convincing the opponent that the costs will."— Presentation transcript:


2 Deterrence Deterrence is the effort by one actor to persuade another actor to refrain from some action by convincing the opponent that the costs will exceed the rewards of the act. Deterrence, in order to be successful, must meet two conditions: The capabilities to complete the threat must be present, and The will, or intent, or resolve, must be present. These two elements make the deterrent credible

3 Mutually Assured Destruction In the age of MAD, the possession of a protected first strike capability means that one can always inflict unacceptable harm. Such a condition becomes self-limiting, a constraint as well as an asset. You cannot press to the limit for something it is clear that you are not willing to risk unlimited destruction.

4 Brinkmanship Push the other side to the limit to see who backs down. Cuban missile crisis 1963 “Till the other side blinks” There is no crisis if both states’ level of resolve is known. It is uncertainty that makes Brinkmanship feasible.

5 Strategic doctrine The doctrine of massive retaliation gave way to flexible response as Soviet military capability made the capability calculus more suspect, and the resolve less credible. Note that doctrine must evolve to maintain credibility in the face of evolving political and military realities.

6 Flexible response Flexible response buttresses up nuclear deterrence by allowing “low-level nuclear exchanges” Such low-level exchanges carry the risk of further escalation, hence retain credibility where MAD would not. This returns to Hermann Kahn’s escalation ladder.

7 Deterrence and Rationality Discussions of deterrence state that deterrence relies on the assumption of “rational behavior” on the part of the opponent.

8 The Deterrence sequence 1. Determine apparent threat. 2. Assess own interests and capabilities. 3. Assess opponents interests and capabilities. 4. Make implicit or explicit threat to impose costs if event occurs. 5. Follow up deterrent threat if required. Otherwise credibility becomes lower in later deterrent situations.

9 Some propositions about deterrence Deterrence is not simply a matter of announcing a commitment and backing it up with threats It is heavily context dependent. It is difficult to design a deterrent threat that will deter all options available to the attacker Deterrence often fails in stages rather than all at once. Deterrence is often at best a time-buying strategy.

10 Coercive diplomacy Coercive diplomacy seeks to reverse actions which have already occurred. A combination of diplomatic action and military force which occurs to force the other side to back down. Usually more difficult to implement. Best example of success – Cuban Missile Crisis Best example of failures – Persian Gulf/Iraq Often a try-and-see strategy…

11 Stable Deterrent Not only should a deterrent be credible, it needs to be stable. A deterrent threat should not provoke the other side to act. Does SDI make nuclear deterrence unstable?

12 SDI and Deterrence Stability If Flexible response is a policy that exists under the umbrella of Mutual assured destruction, does a defensive “shield” destabilize deterrence?

13 NMD The deployment of NMD is generally suggested by one of two scenarios A rogue state An accidental launch Likely rogue states: North Korea, Iran, (Iraq prior to 2003) Syria?, Libya? Aberrant Russian commander?

14 Accidental launch Command & control in emerging nuclear arsenals is less secure? Why should C&C be less capable in a newly emerging nuclear arsenal? Suppose probability of 1/50 Is risk a series model? A parallel model?

15 Rogue states Are rogue states deterable? It all becomes a question of resolve Does NMD influence resolve? Does the uncertainty of the effectiveness influence resolve?

16 Extended Deterrence When a deterrent threat is extended to cover an ally, we call this extended deterrence. Extended immediate deterrence is the situation where the ally is threatened by immediate action on the part of the attacker and failure to act will result in an immediate attack on the ally state.

17 Military/Political Doctrine Purist - Military should leave politics to politicians. Give advice strictly on military terms Fusionist – the nature of the modern world dictates that politics and military issues have converged. Military advice must be hedged or advised by political advice

18 Arms Races - Definition Arms races are reaction processes whereby the participants react towards arms acquisitions by partners (opponents) by acquiring more themselves. The arms race implies an escalating cycle of acquisition/purchasing.

19 Arms races – Friendly Ones? Arms races are typically between opponents e.g US-Soviet, Egypt-Israel, India-Pakistan Occasionally, they are between friendly rivals Britain-France, US-Britain

20 Arms Races - Types Quantitative Increased spending ($) Increases in system components (ships, missiles, warheads) Qualitative Changes in system type The New Look Star wars NMD

21 Quantitative arms races Spending Ships Missiles Warheads Soldiers

22 Qualitative arms races Nuclear weapons Historical examples ? Technology Persian Gulf Air defense interdiction Stealth ECM

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