Conventional deterrence and the Falkland Islands conflict
Beattie, Troy J.
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Conventional deterrence failed to prevent open warfare between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands sovereignty issue. This thesis investigates the basic principles underlying conventional deterrence, and then applies those principles to the case study of the Falkland Islands conflict in order to discover why. This is accomplished by examining British political and military planning for the South Atlantic region from 1965--1982 for its ability to leverage effective deterrent threats against Argentina. Psychological factors concerning the rational actor model and their impact upon Britain's capacity to issue deterrent threats against Argentina are also discussed. These two factors are then used to analyze Britain's credibility and reputation in the South Atlantic Region and their effects upon Britain's deterrence posture. All these factors are then taken into account when analyzing the cost/benefit calculus of both Britain and Argentina. Thus, Britain's political and military planning, combined with severe psychological limitations, decreased its regional credibility and reputation, which severely undercut its ability to affect Argentina's cost/benefit analysis. This is why conventional deterrence failed in the Falkland Islands conflict.
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