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Deterrence Failure and Crisis Escalation
Paul Huth and Bruce Russett
International Studies Quarterly
Vol. 32, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 29-45
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2600411
Page Count: 17
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Behavior deterrence, Nuclear weapons, War, Armed forces, Strategic bargaining, Bullying, Military alliances, Alliances, Variable coefficients, Attrition warfare
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This study builds on earlier work on extended (third-party) immediate deterrence. We analyze fifty-eight cases and summarize previous findings that extended deterrence is likely to succeed when the immediate or short-term balance of forces favors the defender, when any previous crisis involving the same adversaries resulted in stalemate rather than clear victory for either, and when the military and diplomatic bargaining process is characterized by tit-for-tat or firm-but-flexible strategies rather than bullying or appeasement. The long-term balance of forces and the defender's possession of nuclear weapons make little difference. We then focus on cases where deterrence has failed and the defender must make a decision whether to fight. The defender is more likely to fight when the short-term balance of forces favors it, when it is bound to the third party by alliance ties or geographic proximity, and when it has followed a firm-but-flexible bargaining strategy during the crisis. Generally, these results emphasize the importance of different interests and perspectives of attackers and defenders. Even clear-sighted vision of its own interests may bring war if a state fails to tread a delicate balance between making credible threats and humiliating its adversary.
International Studies Quarterly © 1988 Oxford University Press