Deterrence in the Twenty-first Century

Deterrence in the twenty-first century - Air University Press


and was no longer considered important enough for the nation

to carry out the threat. The practitioner may have misjudged the

complex variables and chosen to use the wrong deterrent instrument.

Likewise, the reactions of Western democracies are often

hard to figure out due to the complexities of their governance

and societies; therefore, other states may get things wrong when

trying to deter or respond to a deterrence strategy. Practicing

deterrence is an art that requires expertise and diligence.

The political environments and various scenarios in several

geographical areas could be studied to determine if the development

of additional alliances could further deterrence objectives

and potentially aid in crisis stability. In addition, we

should research likely ways the United States can offer extended

deterrence and similar actions to reassure NATO’s eastern

members, which could free up some of their forces for other

activities such as NATO operations in Afghanistan.

Finally, peace, stability, and the protection of life are always

among America’s objectives, but it also happens to be much less

expensive to deter war than to fight it. We find ourselves generally

in an asymmetric advantage with respect to nuclear weapons

and most nations. Policy makers should therefore ensure

that our current strategy is appropriate for the global political

environment, our national objectives, and potential adversaries.

We have a great opportunity to continue to use that deterrent

advantage to help ensure peace and stability in the world.


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