Triangular deterrence : a formidable rogue state strategy
Wesley, Kevin R.
Yost, David S.
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In an effort to counter the overwhelming U.S. predominance in conventional forces, rogue states such as Iraq and North Korea have adopted a strategy based upon the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD); that is, nuclear, chemical, or biological arms. Moreover, rogue states have refocused their efforts to deter U.S. action from direct confrontation with the United States to threatening U.S. allies or neutral parties in potential contingencies. This strategy might enable a rogue state to avoid direct engagement with the United States as well as to make the most effective use of a small WMD program. Robert Harkavy has labeled this concept triangular or indirect deterrence. This thesis analyzes triangular deterrence as a credible strategy that might be implemented by rogue states throughout the world. The thesis examines historical case studies as well as plausible hypothetical future scenarios, and bases its analysis on a broad body of deterrence theory. It concludes that triangular deterrence presents new challenges for U.S. defense policy and that partial solutions may reside in missile defenses and adjustments in declaratory policy.
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