Complex Deterrence: Strategy in the Global Age

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As the costs of a preemptive foreign policy in Iraq have become clear, strategies such as containment and deterrence have been gaining currency among policy makers. This comprehensive book offers an agenda for the contemporary practice of deterrence—especially as it applies to nuclear weapons—in an increasingly heterogeneous global and political setting.

Moving beyond the precepts of traditional deterrence theory, this groundbreaking volume offers insights for the use of deterrence in the modern world, where policy makers may encounter irrational actors, failed states, religious zeal, ambiguous power relationships, and other situations where the traditional rules of statecraft do not apply. A distinguished group of contributors here examines issues such as deterrence among the Great Powers; the problems of regional and nonstate actors; and actors armed with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Complex Deterrence will be a valuable resource for anyone facing the considerable challenge of fostering security and peace in the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

George Quester
“This book is a valuable antidote to some of the more glib and prematurely pessimistic statements that get circulated about ‘the end of deterrence as we know it.’ Quite comprehensive on the theories and modes of deterrence, it is valuable for drawing together both political scientists and policy makers.”
Scott D. Sagan
“The use of deterrence to prevent war did not go away at the end of the Cold War; it just became more complex. This valuable book provides new insights from psychology, political science, and history to illuminate the difficulties of using deterrence against terrorists, new states with nuclear weapons, and great powers in an age of globalization.”
Richard Ned Lebow
“Deterrence and compellence are widely used strategies in the post-Cold War world, and this is the most sophisticated attempt by far to determine who embraces these strategies, in what circumstances and to what effect. The essays draw on traditional and recent developments in deterrence theory and are sensitive to empirical and psychological critiques. Policymakers and scholars alike have much to learn from this thoughtful volume.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226650036
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

T. V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations at McGill University.

Patrick M. Morgan is professor of political science and the Tierney Chair in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

James J. Wirtz is acting dean at the School of International Graduate Studies and professor of national security studies at the Naval Postgraduate School.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables


I           Introduction

1          Complex Deterrence: An Introduction 1

            T. V. Paul

II          Deterrence and its Challenges

2          Three Items in One: Deterrence as Concept, Research Program, and Political Issue

            Jeffrey W. Knopf

3          Rational Deterrence against “Irrational” Adversaries? No Common Knowledge

            Janice Stein

III        Deterrence and Nonstate Actors

4          Complex Deterrence in the Asymmetric-Warfare Era

            Emanuel Adler

5          Deterring Nuclear Terrorists

            S. Paul Kapur

IV Deterrence and Smaller Powers

6          Deterrence, Rogue States, and the U.S. Policy

            Robert Jervis

7          Collective-Actor Deterrence

            Patrick M. Morgan

8          Complexity of Deterrence among New Nuclear States: The India-Pakistan Case

            Dinshaw Mistry

9          Unconventional Deterrence: How the Weak Deter the Strong

            Ivan Arreguín-Toft

10        Deterrence and Compellence in Iraq, 1991–2003: Lessons for a Complex Paradigm

            Frank P. Harvey and Patrick James

V         Deterrence and Major Powers

11        Deterrence among Great Powers in an Era of Globalization

            Patrick M. Morgan and T. V. Paul

12        The Endurance of Extended Deterrence: Continuity, Change, and Complexity in Theory and      Policy

            Timothy W. Crawford

13        The Revolution in Military Affairs: Impact of Emerging Technologies on Deterrence

            Michel Fortmann and Stéfanie von Hlatky


James J. Wirtz

List of Contributors


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