For Russia

  1. Deterrence calls for Counter-Deterrence
  2. Intimidation calls for Counter-Intimidation
  3. Vulnerabilities in defense system calls for Counter-Vulnerabilities

The concept of deterrence can be defined as the use of threats by one party to convince another party to refrain from initiating some course of action. A threat serves as a deterrent to the extent that it convinces its target not to carry out the intended action because of the costs and losses the target would incur. In international relations, a policy of deterrence generally refers to threats of military retaliation directed by the leaders of one country to the leaders of another in an attempt to prevent the other country from resorting to the threat or use of military force in pursuit of its foreign policy goals. It should be clear, however, that policies of deterrence in international politics can include both military and non-military threats that are intended to prevent both military and non-military courses of action by other states.

Cases of Deterrence

A policy of deterrence can be directed at preventing an armed attack against a country's own territory (direct deterrence) or that of another country (extended deterrence). In addition, deterrent threats may be issued in response to a pressing short-term threat of attack (immediate deterrence), or a deterrent policy may seek to prevent such short-term crises and militarized conflict from arising (general deterrence). Combining these two dimensions of deterrence policies, there are four situations in which deterrence can be pursued by states:

(a) direct-immediate deterrence,

(b) direct-general deterrence,

(c) extended-immediate deterrence, and

(d) extended-general deterrence.

Situations of direct deterrence often center on territorial conflicts between neighboring states in which the major powers do not directly intervene.

Deterrence Outcomes

A successful policy of deterrence must be understood in both political and military terms. Militarily, general deterrence success refers to preventing state leaders from issuing military threats and actions that escalate peacetime diplomatic and military competition into a crisis or militarized confrontation which threatens armed conflict and possibly war. Immediate deterrence success is defined as preventing state leaders who have already threatened force in a crisis or militarized confrontation from resorting to the large-scale use of military force. The prevention of crises or wars, however, is not the only goal of deterrence. In addition, defenders must be able to resist the political and military demands of a potential attacker. If armed conflict is avoided at the price of diplomatic concessions to the maximum demands of the potential attacker under the threat of war, then we cannot claim that deterrence has succeeded. Deterrence failures, then, include the initiation of crises or militarized disputes (general deterrence failure); their escalation to war (immediate deterrence failure); or the avoidance of crises and war by defender states who make far-reaching concessions to the potential attacker (both general and immediate deterrence failures).

A further refinement would be to conceive of deterrence outcomes as ranging along a continuum of success/failure. Thus, general deterrence outcomes would be anchored at one end of the scale by complete success, defined as the absence of any military threats or political demands for a change in the status quo. The opposite end of the scale would be characterized by explicit demands for maximum changes in the status quo, which are supported by extensive military preparations for the large-scale use of force. Intermediate levels of challenges to general deterrence would include small-scale military probes and threats of force that are accompanied by demands for more restricted changes in the status quo. The same logic would apply to immediate deterrence outcomes. Complete success would entail potential attackers backing away from threats of escalation without resorting to any use of force and without securing any demanded changes in the status quo. Complete failure would involve escalation by the attacker, including a large-scale attack, or capitulation by the defender to the attacker's maximum demands as the price for avoiding war. Partial success/failure would be represented by the attacker initiating only limited uses of force and defending states offering concessions only on issues of secondary interest to the attacker.

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