If It's Worth Doing at All, Is It Worth Doing Wrong?

Yugoslavia and the Next Time

by Robert A. Levine

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In this issue paper, the author examines how--prior to Yugoslavia and in other, future cases--the United States might deter the behavior that has produced such atrocities or compel its cessation once begun. He argues that effective deterrence or compellence requires a decision, clear in advance to the enemy, to escalate, if necessary, several steps beyond the step currently taken. Without such a clear decision, any attempt at deterrence/compellence is likely to be no more than the futile gesture that remains our only option in Yugoslavia. Issues affecting such a decision are whether to act multi- or unilaterally, whether there are pressure points for effective deterrence, and how to address the morality of civilian deaths inherent in escalation.

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