STudyGuide Schelling and Cohn

STudyGuide Schelling and Cohn - I. Schelling "Confidence in...

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I. Schelling – “Confidence in a Crisis” a. The article starts off with an example of mutual suspicion that arose between the Persians and the Greeks. The Greeks were trying to play nice and fix any mutual distrust, but the Persians decided to take advantage of the Greeks playing nice. This eventually resulted in Greek leaders getting massacred. Schelling spends the rest of the article describing ways to legitimately build confidence and reduce anxiety so that non-hostile situation will prevail, especially during this nuclear age. b. In the example quoted by Schelling, of the Greek leader talking to the Persian, describe the Greek leader’s worry. Does the Greek leader say to the Persian leader that he is sure that the Persians mean him no harm? i. Schelling elaborates on mutual suspicion arising between two countries with the example of the Greeks and Persians. A Greek leader wrote a letter to the Persians “to put a stop these suspicions before they ended in open hostility.” ii. The worry is that if there isn’t a mutual confidence that neither will attack each other, then both sides start to become anxious of the possibility of an imminent attack. “In their anxiety to strike first before anything is done to them, have done irreparable harm to those who neither intended nor even wanted to do them any harm at all.” iii. The Greek leader does not say explicitly that he knows the Persians don’t mean the Greeks any harm, but eloquently states that they haven’t found any evidence that they are trying to harm the Greeks. c. The Greek leader says the Persian has no reason to distrust him, but hasn’t he just described a good reason for the Persian to worry – that he himself is worried about the Persian – or is this circular and so an invalid argument? i. In a way this is a circular argument, but by admitting to the Persians that they are suspicious, it at least presents the opportunity of rectifying any inequalities in distrust. Although this is a circular argument in a sense, the purpose of telling the Persians about the initial distrust is to eliminate any more distrust and to instill confidence in the Persians that they have nothing to worry about. d. What does Schelling mean here by the “anxiety to strike first” or “suspicion as self-aggravating … between reciprocally suspicious parties” or that an attack becomes a “self-fulfilling prophecy”? i. Reciprocally suspicious sides generate anxiety because both sides aren’t sure if there’s certainty of non-hostility. Instead of waiting to see if the other attacks, one will attack first out of anxiety. This may occur even there aren’t grounds for attack; except of course that one side may be more anxious. e.
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This note was uploaded on 03/05/2008 for the course POL SCI 125 taught by Professor O'neill during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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STudyGuide Schelling and Cohn - I. Schelling "Confidence in...

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