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Fear, Appeasement, and the Effectiveness of Deterrence

Gurantz, Ron and Hirsch, Alexander V. (2017) Fear, Appeasement, and the Effectiveness of Deterrence. Journal of Politics, 79 (3). pp. 1041-1056. ISSN 0022-3816. doi:10.1086/691054.

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Governments often fear the future intentions of their adversaries. In this article we show how this fear can make deterrent threats credible under seemingly incredible circumstances. We consider a model in which a defender seeks to deter a transgression with both intrinsic and military value. We examine how the defender’s fear of the challenger’s future belligerence affects his willingness to respond to the transgression with war. We derive conditions under which even a very minor transgression effectively “tests” for the challenger’s future belligerence, which makes the defender’s deterrent threat credible even when the transgression is objectively minor and the challenger is ex ante unlikely to be belligerent. We also show that fear can actually benefit the defender by allowing her to credibly deter. We apply the model to analyze a series of historical cases and show the robustness of our results to a variety of extensions.

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Additional Information:© 2017 Southern Political Science Association. Published online May 18, 2017. We thank Robert Trager, Barry O’Neill, Tiberiu Dragu, Kristopher Ramsay, Robert Powell, Douglas Arnold, Mattias Polborn, participants of the UCLA International Relations Reading Group, Princeton Q-APS International Relations Conference, and Cowbell working group, as well as the editor and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and advice.
Subject Keywords:fear, appeasement, deterrence, bargaining, power shifts
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170706-133543556
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Official Citation:Ron Gurantz and Alexander V. Hirsch, "Fear, Appeasement, and the Effectiveness of Deterrence," The Journal of Politics 79, no. 3 (July 2017): 1041-1056.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:78815
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 Jul 2017 21:16
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 17:43

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