Lecture 10.docx

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Lecture 10
You can make a revolution with or without the military, but not against it. Military
institutions are designed to be unitary actors, but if it breaks down a transition to
democracy can happen. Divisions in the military and falls of dictators are no guarantee
that a democratic regime will follow.
Reagan•fs Star Wars: initiative in 1983 to develop technologies needed to create a missile
shield to protect North America from potential attacks from the USSR. •gThe U.S does
not start fights, we•fll never be an aggressor. Deterrence means making sure any
adversary who thinks attacking us concludes that the risks outweigh the
gains•h. The U.S. Could therefore attack the USSR after a first attack but thanks to the
missile shield, the USSR would not be able to attack back.
Deterrence is not a new concept, it has been around for centuries: if you want peace,
prepare for war. Weakness invites conflict. The worst thing a peaceful state could do is
neglect its ability to defend itself because the perception of an incapable country is an
invitation to the neighbours to use the vulnerability to their advantage. States have to
prepare for war even at times of peace, but if state A starts to build up and become
stronger, the neighbour states can follow them and an arms race can begin. Deterrence
assumes rationality. An irrational state cannot be deterred. Only rational states that
calculate costs and benefits of their actions can be deterred, they know every benefit that
comes from attacking neighbour is outweighed by the consequences, war is not worth it.
It is assumed that all states are rational actors and can be deterred; theocracies cannot
be deterred because if they consider a conflict a holy war of a jihad and every person
who dies is a martyr, it is very difficult to be rationally analyzed and deterred (Iran). For
deterrence to work, the threat has to be credible; the signals have to be clear and
credible to be understood as such by the target, which has to be deterrable.
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Conventional deterrence has been around for millennia. Deterrence by denial: a country
controls a piece of territory that its neighbour might be interested in and it deters the
country that may be interested in acquiring the territory by making it very expensive for
them, by making the risks far greater for them than the possible gains. Nuclear
deterrence is different: deterrence by punishment (cuban missile crisis and cold war).
Cuba was difficult to defend against american invasion. If they had decided to do so,
they would have acquired Cuba because cuban forces were negligible when compared to
the american, and Cuba formed an alliance with the USSR to make it more expensive for
the US to attack them , and an attack on Cuba could lead to a nuclear attack. Berlin was
an island on a sea of communists, there was an arrangement for it to not be located in
any zone but it was divided in two zones (soviet and western) and west berlin (western)
was landlocked in Soviet germany. According to NATO, and because defending Berlin
was so difficult, an attack on Berlin would be an attack on NATO, so watch out. For that
to work, it had to be credible, they had to convince the USSR that the western allies that
a nuclear war would occur if they attacked Berlin. The USSR knew they were bluffing, so
therefore both parties had to defend their credibility and convince eachother that they
are crazy and would not mind attacking. Credibility is an important component of
politics: states have to be willing to call the bluff. It is the concern for credibility that
propelled the US to defend South Korea and to take the Vietnam War more seriously
than their interests indicated (Vietnam didn•ft have important resources nor location).
Undermining american credibility would have impact on its allies.
The target country has to be deterrable. Theocracies might not be deterrable because
they might not be rational. You cannot deter terrorists; one of the chief worries in the
intl system: the current situation is different from deterrence in past years (it was
impossible for small groups and individuals to unleash violence on states on a
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destructive scale) because terrorists tend to be un-deterrable because of location,
secrecy and confidentiality. The forces available to a particular state are extended to its
alliances with other states (NATO). Can proportionality be observed in the context of
deterrence? No, the very notion of deterrence is that the response will not be
proportional; an attack by the US on Cuba even if its conventional would be met with
terrible consequences by the US in the form of a nuclear attack on America.
When the USSR developed its first nuclear weapon it broke the american monopoly and
the US was terrified. Since the USSR developed it so quickly, they must have had some
american help and some people could have helped the soviets achieve it and they killed
people accused of telling the soviets how to. Eisenhower•fs massive retaliation: any
attempt of the USSR to expand would result in massive retaliation by the US. Under the
Kennedy adm this changed because of Cuba and Vietnam. The Kennedy adm was
worried that given this retaliation, any little incident could result in full nuclear war. The
Kennedy adm favoured the idea of flexible response (blockade for Cuba is indication of
shift to flexible response). It was considered as a mean of buying time to lessen the
likelihood for a little misunderstanding or tiny conflict to escalate to a nuclear conflict.
Flexible response also meant that attempts to expand soviet influence would not be met
by nuclear retaliation but by lesser forms of military forms to resolve them without
escalating to a super nuclear war. Richard nixon shifted emphasis on deterrence again,
he sought two things: lessening of tension between adversaries (Detente) which
included the establishment of trade lanes with the USSR. The Strategic Arms Limitation
Treaty (SALT I): the USSR and the US recognized that the current distribution of power
was stable; neither side had advantage or interest in attacking the other: deterrence on
both sides was working. They had to prevent the arms race. Ronald Reagan had the Star
War initiative; he was very rational and refused to accept the consensus that SALT
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