Deterrence vs. assurance: the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf
Brown, Breshaun K.
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This thesis examines the U.S. Navy’s current strategy in the Persian Gulf and assesses which aspect of that strategy-deterrence or assurance-makes a more significant contribution to regional stability in the greater Middle East region. This research draws from two cases: the Navy’s deterrence-based strategy surrounding Iranian aggression toward the Strait of Hormuz and the Navy’s assurance-based strategy using Saudi Arabia as an example. The findings indicate that Iran poses little threat to the Strait of Hormuz for various economic and military reasons, suggesting that perhaps the Navy’s policy of deterring Iran through the presence of warships is misguided and unnecessary. Alternatively, providing assurance to Saudi Arabia seems to have a positive impact on regional stability. If the Navy seeks to use its warships as a stabilizing force in the region, it should restructure its strategy and employ ships in ways that provide assurance, not deterrence.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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