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What Makes Deterrence Work? Cases from 1900 to 1980

  • Paul Huth (a1) and Bruce Russett (a1)

The article develops an expected-utility model of extended deterrence and tests it on 54 historical cases. Successful deterrence is associated with close economic and political ties between the defender and the state it is trying to protect, and with a local military balance in favor of the defender. Deterrence success is not systematically associated with the presence of a military alliance, with the overall strategic military balance, with possession of nuclear weapons, or with the defender's firmness or lack of it in previous crises. If deterrence fails, only alliance and the military value of the state under attack are associated with the defender's willingness to go to war.

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Bruce Russett , “The Calculus of Deterrence,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 7 (March 1963), 97109.

Bruce Russett , “Pearl Harbor: Deterrence Theory and Decision Theory,” Journal of Peace Research 4 (No. 2, 1967), 89105.

Jacek Kugler , “Terror without Deterrence,” Journal of Conflict Resolution 28 (September 1984)

Robert Jervis , “Deterrence and Perception,” International Security 7 (Winter 1982/1983), 330, esp. 8–13.

H. K. Tillema and J. R. Van Wingen , “Law and Power in Military Interventions by Major States after World War II,” International Studies Quarterly 26 (June 1982), 220–50

Bruce Russett and Miroslav Nincic , “American Opinion on the Use of Military Force Abroad,” Political Science Quarterly 91 (Fall 1976), 411–32

Charles Gochman and Zeev Maoz , “Serious Interstate Disputes, 1816–1976: Empirical Patterns and Theoretical Insights,” journal of Conflict Resolution 28 (forthcoming, 1984).

Randolph Siverson and Michael Tennefoss , “Interstate Conflicts: 1815–1965,” International Interactions 9 (July 1982), 147–78

Richard Ned Lebow , “Miscalculation in the South Atlantic: The Origins of the Falkland War,” Journal of Strategic Studies 6 (March 1983), 535.

Bruce Russett , “An Empirical Typology of International Military Alliances,” Midwest Journal ofPolitical Science 15 (May 1971), 262–80

J. David Singer and Melvin Small , “Formal Alliances, 1815–1939,” Journal of Peace Research 3 (No. 1, 1966), 132

H. R. Mitchell , European Historical Statistics 1750–1970 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975)

John Mueller , “The Search for a ‘Breaking Point’ in Vietnam,” International Studies Quarterly 24 (December 1980), 497519

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World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
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