Perfect Deterrence

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This book provides the first general analysis of deterrence since the end of the Cold War, offering a new approach to its assumptions, and analyzing them using non-cooperative game theory. Drawing on numerous historical examples, the authors focus on the relationship among capability, preferences, credibility, and outcomes to achieve a new understanding of threats and responses. The book's distinctive approach yields some surprising conclusions, indicating that credible threats to respond to attack can sometimes make an attack more likely, and that incredible response threats can sometimes promote peace.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Zagare and Kilgour are to be commended...They present complex results clearly...Notation is clear and consistent, making it easy to directly compare equilibrium conditions for different models. Throughout the book, each set of findings is illustrated with appropriate examples, drawing from a wide array of historical eras." American Political Science Review
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figures
List of tables
1 Classical deterrence theory 3
1.1 Classical deterrence theory: assumptions and implications 7
1.2 Empirical anomalies 24
1.3 Logical problems 30
2 Rationality and deterrence 37
2.1 On rationality 38
2.2 Some implications of the assumption of instrumental rationality 44
2.3 Resolving the paradox I: deterministic threats 49
2.4 Resolving the paradox II: the threat-that-leaves-something-to-chance 54
2.5 Resolving the paradox III: the metagame solution 58
3 Credibility and deterrence 65
3.1 On credibility 66
3.2 Resolving the paradox IV: mutually credible threats 70
3.3 On capability 81
3.4 Deterrence and uncertainty 84
4 Uncertainty and mutual deterrence 99
4.1 Capability, credibility, and mutual deterrence 101
4.2 Credibility, uncertainty, and mutual deterrence 104
4.3 Perfect Bayesian equilibria of the Generalized Mutual Deterrence Game 111
5 Unilateral deterrence 133
5.1 Game form 135
5.2 Unilateral deterrence under complete information 139
5.3 Unilateral deterrence under incomplete information 143
5.4 Perfect Bayesian equilibria of the Unilateral Deterrence Game 144
5.5 The Unilateral Deterrence Game and power transition theory 158
6 Modeling extended deterrence 169
6.1 Preliminaries 170
6.2 The Asymmetric Escalation Game 175
6.3 Extended deterrence and the dynamics of escalation 183
6.4 The Asymmetric Escalation Game under complete information 187
6.5 Subgame-perfect equilibria 192
7 Modeling Massive Retaliation 197
7.1 Modeling all-or-nothing deployments 200
7.2 Perfect Bayesian equilibria under Massive Retaliation 203
8 Modeling Flexible Response 219
8.1 Modeling Flexible Response: assumptions 221
8.2 Perfect Bayesian equilibria under Flexible Response 224
8.3 Multiple equilibria 243
9 Limited war, crisis escalation, and extended deterrence 255
9.1 Theory and evidence 257
9.2 Assumptions 258
9.3 Behavioral possibilities 261
9.4 Deterrence and conflict spirals 262
10 Perfect Deterrence Theory 285
10.1 Capability: a necessary condition 290
10.2 Deterrence and the status quo 293
10.3 Credibility and deterrence 296
10.4 Deterrence breakdowns, limited conflicts, and escalation spirals 301
10.5 Nuclear weapons and deterrence 303
App. 1 Deterrence models 311
App. 2 Useful definitions 323
App. 3 Rudimentary Asymmetric Deterrence Game 328
App. 4 Generalized Mutual Deterrence Game 331
App. 5 Unilateral Deterrence Game 339
App. 6 Asymmetric Escalation Game: "Massive Retaliation" version 347
App. 7 Asymmetric Escalation Game: "Flexible Response" 354
App. 8 Asymmetric Escalation Game: general version 365
References 384
Index 405
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