Jervis Security Dilemma

Jervis Security Dilemma -...

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Offense, Defense, and the Security Dilemma – Robert Jervis Summary by Tais McNeill 1. Security Dilemma: that an increase in one state’s security decreases the security of  others 2. This analysis of the dilemma looks at two variables a. Whether defensive weapons/policies can be distinguished from offensive ones b. Whether the defense or the offense has the advantage 3. Offense-Defense Balance a. When the offense has the advantage: the security dilemma is worse in this  situation, because to increase security states must use offensive  weapons/techniques b. When the defense has the advantage: states can enhance security without  endangering others   the dilemma is not as pronounced c. Two major questions in the offense-defense balance i. Does the state have to spend more or less on defense than the other side  does on offense to maintain the balance of defense/offense? 1. i.e. if they have to spend more on defense to offset the other  side’s offense they will simply increase their own offense 2. If defense has the advantage then states won’t counter offense  with more offensive (i.e. they won’t start an arms race) ii. Is it better to attack or defend? 1. This primarily affects stability a. i.e. if it is better to attack then reactions to international  tension will increase the tension, and states may use pre- emptive strikes. d. In offense-oriented situations states attacking first can result in quick wars with  easy victories because of the lack of defensive weapons/policies. In this situation  there are several consequences that decrease cooperation i. War will be profitable for the winner ii. This is incentive for high levels of arms and quick reactions to increases  in arms iii. States are forced to recruit allies in advance of wars beginning
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1. This results in a more polarized world with less cooperation between sides iv. States will be quick to view ambiguous actions by the other side as aggressive e. In defense-oriented situations the above is reversed i. War is very costly and often results in stalemates ii. The incentive is for equality between sides and maintaining the status quo f. The two previous points can be exemplified in the periods prior to the two world
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