Rationality, Culture and Deterrence / September 2013
Knopf, Jeffrey W.
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Deterrence strategies involve trying to influence the decision-making of another actor. Because of this, efforts to determine whether to employ a strategy of deterrence or how to implement such a strategy require attempting to forecast what things will influence the other actor and how that influence will be exerted. There are several models or frameworks available that could assist with efforts to anticipate how another actor will be influenced. In practice, the most prominent public debates related to deterrence in the United States have tended to reflect two main approaches. People tend to assume either that the other side will behave like a rational actor or that it will be driven by a unique strategic culture. While both approaches have merit, extensive critiques have revealed that both also have significant limitations.
The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Naval Postgraduate School, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.
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