Deterrence / Edition 1

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Overview

As a concept, deterrence has launched a thousand books and articles. It has dominated Western strategic thinking for more than four decades. In this important and groundbreaking new book, Lawrence Freedman develops a distinctive approach to the evaluation of deterrence as both a state of mind and a strategic option. This approach is applied to post-cold war crisis management, and the utility and relevance of the concept is addressed in relation to US strategic practice post-9/11, particularly in the light of the apparent preference of the Bush Administration for the alternative concept of pre-emption.

The study of deterrence has been hampered by the weight of the intellectual baggage accumulated since the end of the Second World War. Exaggerated notions of what deterrence might achieve were developed, only to be knocked down by academic critique. Freedman charts the evolution of the contemporary concept of deterrence, and discusses whether -- and how -- it still has relevance in today's world. He considers constructivist as well as realist approaches and draws on criminological as well as strategic studies literature to develop a concept of a norms-based, as distinct from an interest-based, deterrence. Deterrence will be essential reading for students of politics and international relations as well as all those interested in contemporary strategic thought.

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Editorial Reviews

Foreign Affairs
Lawrence Freedman's prolific career has produced major works on many important national security issues, especially nuclear strategy. He remains one of the rare leading academics whose work is intelligible to normal people. In a snappy commentary that builds on his store of wisdom, Deterrence surveys and updates the status of the most fundamental strategic concept of the past half-century, the be all and end all of strategy in a Cold War world of bipolarity and mutual vulnerability and also a buzzword used to rationalize any and all security policies.

In today's unipolar world, where the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty has been trashed and threats of highest priority seem to come from fanatics who cannot be restrained by fear, the concept of deterrence has fallen from grace. The Bush administration has replaced it with preventive war as prime guidance for strategy. Drawing on fields of knowledge apart from nuclear strategy (criminology, for example), Freedman considers the evolution of thinking about deterrence, the limitations of the idea as a basis for policy, and its continuing relevance in the post-Cold War world. As usual, he provides a wealth of sensible observations. He departs from the traditional focus of deterrence on strategic means, however, when he argues that "what we need to think about is not so much how to make deterrence work, but about what sorts of behavior we now wish to proscribe" and that the main objective now "has to be to encourage the development of an international order in which there are formidable restraints on the use of force." This hints at one question on which Freedman does not concentrate but which has become urgent for much of the world: What can deter the United

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745631134
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/15/2004
  • Series: Themes for the 21st Century Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 930,751
  • Product dimensions: 5.46 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Freedman is Professor of War Studies and Vice-Principal (Research) of King's College London

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Table of Contents

1. The rise and fall of deterrence 6

2. The meaning of deterrence 26

3. Deterrence in practice 43

4. Norms and criminality 60

5. After the Cold War 75

6. From deterrence to pre-emption 84

7. Strategic coercion 109

8. The future of deterrence 116

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