The Dynamics of Deterrence
by Frank C. Zagare
University of Chicago Press, 1987
Cloth: 978-0-226-97763-8
Library of Congress Classification JX1291.Z34 1987
Dewey Decimal Classification 327.072

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK
The value of a theory of deterrence lies in its ability to reconstruct and predict strategic behavior accurately and consistently. Contemporary scholarship on deterrence has drawn upon decision models and classical game theory, with some success, to explain how deterrence works. But the field is marked by unconnected and sometimes contradictory hypotheses that may explain one type of situation while being inapplicable to another.

The Dynamics of Deterrence is the first comprehensive treatment of deterrence theory since the mid-1960s. Frank C. Zagare introduces a new theoretical framework for deterrence that is rigorous, consistent, and illuminating. By placing the deterrence relationship in a "theory of moves" framework, Zagare is able to remedy the defects of other models. His approach is illustrated by and applied to a number of complex deterrence situations: the Berlin crisis of 1948, the Middle East crises of 1967 and 1973, and The Falkland/Malvinas crisis of 1980. He also examines the strategic relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union from 1945 to the present.

Zagare studies the dynamics of both mutual and unilateral deterrence games in nuclear and non-nuclear situations, and the impact of credibility, capability, and power asymmetries on deterrence stability. He shows that his theory is applicable for analyzing deterrence situations between allies as well as between hostile states. One of the additional strengths of his model, however, is its general usefulness for other levels and settings, such as deterrence games played by husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, and the state and its citizens. With its lucid prose and illustrative examples, The Dynamics of Deterrence will be of interest to a wide audience in international relations, peace studies, and political science.

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