DETERRENCE

In its simplest form, deterrence consists of the following threat, intended to dissuade a state from aggression: ‘Do not attack me because if you do, something unacceptably horrible will happen to you.’ In other words, deterrence is a form of persuasion in military strategy. To convey such a threat, the deterrer must decide what constitutes an attack, and must then decide what level of response would be adequate to deter it. This in turn depends on the deterrer’s estimation of the adversary’s intentions and the values it places on them. For deterrence to succeed, the threat must also be credible. Not only must the potential aggressor believe that the costs of an attack would be higher than its benefits, but also that there is a significant likelihood that such costs would indeed be incurred.

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In its simplest form, deterrence consists of the following threat, intended to dissuade a state from aggression: ‘Do not attack me because if you do, something unacceptably horrible will happen to you.’ In other words, deterrence is a form of persuasion in military strategy. To convey such a threat, the deterrer must decide what constitutes an attack, and must then decide what level of response would be adequate to deter it. This in turn depends on the deterrer’s estimation of the adversary’s intentions and the values it places on them. For deterrence to succeed, the threat must also be credible. Not only must the potential aggressor believe that the costs of an attack would be higher than its benefits, but also that there is a significant likelihood that such costs would indeed be incurred.

 

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