We prefer not to correct that kind of misbehavior after it happens

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

Deterrence is more than just deterring a direct attack on ourselves, Techniques of Systems Analysis admits:

We are equally, or almost equally, interested in deterring the enemy from various kinds of provocative actions. For example, we don’t want him to attack Iran or Korea or to make ultimatums against our friends in NATO or, in general, to misbehave. We shall call this kind of deterrence a Type II Deterrence as opposed to the previous kind which we shall label a Type I Deterrence.

Type II Deterrence is important. It is after all true that both the first and second world wars were started by the Allies’ presenting the other side with ultimatums after the other side had put the Allies in an intolerable position. That is, in the first World War the British declared war on the Germans and not vice versa. Similarly, in the second World War the British and French declared war on the Germans after their invasion of Poland.

In the present very tight situation, we prefer not to correct that kind of misbehavior after it happens. We want to deter it from happening. To some extent this can be done by making the potential aggressor apprehensive that, if he pushes too far, we just might take a drastic action of some sort. For example, we might try to convince him that there is a least a small chance that we are will and able to declare war or that we are at least capable of putting ourselves into a position where we would be willing to declare war.

Leave a Reply