Cover: Deterrence Failures and Deterrence Strategies

Deterrence Failures and Deterrence Strategies

Or, Did You Ever Have One of Those Days When No Deterrent Seemed Adequate?

Published 1977

by Michael E. Brown


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 1 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback30 pages $20.00

Our notions of war prevention are based on well-known deterrence formulations. The author argues that conventional thinking on deterrence is wrongheadedly preoccupied with the short-term military balance, when in fact, a nation's long-term political and economic prospects may dominate military considerations in the decision on whether or not to go to war. Five case studies of decisions to attack are outlined as examples of these long-term political and economic factors: (1) Japan and Pearl Harbor, 1941; (2) Egypt and the Ramadan War, 1973; (3) Britain, France, and the Suez War, 1956; (4) China and the Korean War, 1950; and (5) Austria-Hungary, 1914. Successful deterrence strategy seeks to modify an opponent's perceptions so that he perceives his nation's long-term prospects are good. It also requires avoiding perceptions of national deterioration, lack of negotiative outlet, domestic insecurity of elites, perception of encirclement, and insufficient access to crucial natural resources.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.