Robert Jervis article summary

Robert Jervis article summary - Jervis Robert 1978...

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Unformatted text preview: Jervis, Robert. 1978 “Cooperation under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics 30 (2): 167-214. Summary of the Article : Starting with familiar games, Jervis demonstrates how fear and uncertainty amongst status quo states can lead to conflict and arms racing. Jervis observes that the anarchic structure of the international system (the fact that exists no higher authority to mediate conflicts between states) and the tendency of states to focus on others’ weapons capabilities (as opposed to their intentions of whether to use them) can lead to “spirals of hostility” between states. The security dilemma—that is, many of the means by which a state tries to increase its security in turn decrease the security of other states by inadvertently threatening other states—is made worse when the state on the “offensive” has the advantage. (“Offensive advantage” meaning it is easier to destroy other’s army and take its territory than to defend one’s own. “Defensive advantage” meaning it is easier to protect and hold than attack and conquer.) In other words, the intuition that the best defense is a good offense is not the case in international relations. Jervis bluntly asks “Why are we not all dead?” or, what conditions ameliorate the impact of anarchy and the security dilemma? Jervis answers this through repeated trials of the Prisoner’s Dilemma game. He determines that when the defensive aspects of states have the advantage, the security dilemma is reduced. Because defensive states are only preparing for an attack and because doing so does not decrease others’ security, war is more likely to result in a stalemate. “Fortification,” he argues, “is the great equalizer.” By establishing simultaneous means of developing non-menacing mechanisms for self- defense, and in particular by clearly delineating states’ offensive and defensive strategies, weapons and policies, the security dilemma can be relieved or possibly eliminated altogether. Jervis concludes his paper with a discussion of the “Four Worlds” and includes a handy chart: Offense has Advantage Defense has Advantage Offensive Posture Indistinguishable from Defensive Posture Doubly dangerous No way to avoid security dilemma (Europe pre-WWI) Security dilemma, but security requirements may be compatible SD exists but states can indicate their intentions (Most periods in history) Offensive Posture Distinguishable No security dilemma, but aggression and possible Spirals of tension and conflict (Not likely to occur) Doubly stable/safe States have no reason to acquire offensive weapons and will give notice of their intentions (Would have existed in early 1900s) Dependent Variable...
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This note was uploaded on 11/15/2011 for the course BUS-M 401 taught by Professor Sasha during the Spring '11 term at IUPUI.

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Robert Jervis article summary - Jervis Robert 1978...

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