PS 367 Lecture13b - may strike one takes a series of small...

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Brinkmanship and Nuclear Weapons Leaving something to chance and limited retaliation
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Leaving something to chance Nuclear disaster is too large a threat, even when the coercer stands to lose less than the target – When it is not possible to threaten credibly because the action would hurt the coercer too much, one can threaten with the risk or probability that the action would be carried out despite your best intentions to avoid it Scaling down the threat – Uncertainty, so to speak, scales down the threat because it renders the outcome a mere possibility (rather than a certainty)
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Limited Retaliation Massive retaliation in response to conventional military infractions is not credible Instead of creating a situation where ultimate disaster
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Unformatted text preview: may strike, one takes a series of small steps: – First, one increases the probability that the ultimate disastrous event may occur by generating an additional risk of the event, and further steps presumably escalate that risk – Second, one gives the opponent incentives to back down Limited Retaliation • McNamara’s “no-cities” doctrine (also known as “flexible response”) • Steps (in escalating order) 1. Direct defense (countering potential Soviet aggression with conventional weapons) 2. Deliberate escalation (limited use of nuclear weapons – an expected possibility since Soviet conventional capabilities were much stronger than NATO’s) 3. General nuclear response (MAD – mutually assured destruction)...
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This note was uploaded on 12/04/2011 for the course POLI SCI 367 taught by Professor Favretto during the Spring '11 term at University of Wisconsin.

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PS 367 Lecture13b - may strike one takes a series of small...

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