National security policy can resemble the fashion industry. A defense strategy that is in vogue in one era can fall out of fashion, only to come back into style, perhaps in slightly different form, at a later date. So it is with deterrence. This strategy was central during the Cold War, but 9/11 convinced many people that deterrence was no longer useful. In the years after, however, interest in deterrence revived as scholars and government officials sought ways to adapt it to meet contemporary threats.
This deterrence revival is a mixed blessing. Just as it was during the Cold War, deterrence remains both necessary and dangerous. As long as there are actors willing to contemplate the use of violence to achieve their ends, seeking ways to deter attacks will remain important. But relying on deterrence is risky, and a preoccupation with deterrence can lead to unwise decisions. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
Sign up for two weeks of free access with your credit card. Cancel any time during the free trial and you will be charged nothing.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Strategic Horizons: Staffing the Future U.S. Military Will Require Thinking Outside the Box
- World Citizen: Venezuela Sanctions Undo Gains of U.S. Policy of Restraint
- The Realist Prism: For Iran Nuclear Deal, All Scenarios Amount to Leap of Faith
- Like It or Not, U.S. Needs Iran to Stabilize the Middle East
- To Secure FARC Deal, Colombia’s Santos Must Face Down Uribe