Deterrence: I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means

Deterrence: I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means
U.S. Army

We need a frank discussion on what deterrence is and how it is operationalized in contemporary conflicts, because right now, there is a disconnect between theory and practice. Just as some will quote Clausewitz out of context as a way to buttress a bad thesis, we now see people quoting Schelling and Kahn to support poorly developed deterrence concepts to counter the use of emerging technologies. Many analysts believe that new technologies or platforms should drive changes in deterrence theory, as if it should change with every new evolution in the character of warfare. Certainly deterrence theory has changed since its development during the Cold War. But we need to go deeper to justify whether deterrence theory truly needs to be changed solely due to the emergence of new technologies.

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