Structural Deterrence Theory: Major Deductions

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Structural Deterrence Theory: Policy Implications. Quantitative arms races can help prevent warQualitative arms races are destabilizingEffective defense systems are destabilizingThe selective proliferation of nuclear weapons can help prevent warAccidental war is the gravest threat to peace. Structural Deterrence Theory: Empirical Problems.

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Structural Deterrence Theory: Major Deductions

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1. Structural Deterrence Theory: Major Deductions Parity relationships, when coupled with high war costs, are especially stable Asymmetric power relationships are unstable As the absolute cost of war increases, the probability of war decreases

3. Structural Deterrence Theory: Empirical Problems A balance of power is not a good predictor of peace Nuclear states do not seem to act differently than non-nuclear states An asymmetric distribution of power is not a good predictor of major power war States seldom pursue proliferation policies

4. Decision-Theoretic Deterrence: Major Premises and Predictions Relationship between nuclear states is best modeled by Chicken Nuclear war is “irrational” Only accidental war is possible During crises, states should pursue “commitment tactics” such as making an irrevocable commitment to a hard-line strategy, forfeiting control over actions, and feigning “irrationality”

5. Decision-Theoretic Deterrence: Logical Problems Deterrence is not stable in Chicken Question: How can the stability of the Cold War period be explained?

6. Decision-Theoretic Deterrence: Empirical Problems States are risk-averse: they avoid commitments and almost always seek to maintain flexibility

7. Robert Jervis observes: “Although we often model superpower relations as a game of Chicken, in fact the United States and the USSR have not behaved like reckless teenagers”

8. Classical Deterrence Theory

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