Tag: Deterrence

Quote of the Day: War and Peace


Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war). – Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, Epitoma rei militaris 4th Century AD

The United States has been at peace for the last 70-odd years. Yes, it has been involved in foreign conflicts since the end of World War II from the Korea War through the ill-named War on Terror. Yet during that time actual US soil has not been touched by war, except possibly by the terrorism of 9-11. The last year there was a real existential threat to US soil was in 1942, including a brief occupation of minor bits of what later became Alaska.

Eight Important Lessons on Deterrence from Ukraine


There’s nothing that complicated about deterrence theory. To successfully deter potential adversaries from doing bad things to you and your friends, they need to believe you are willing and able to do unacceptably bad things to them and their friends in response. The degree to which they believe this is the degree to which deterrence is effective. Hence, successful deterrence employs the tactic of ambiguity to create doubt in adversaries’ minds over how far you may be willing to go, which is where the phrase “all options are on the table” has often been employed through past conflicts and crises.

So, what lessons have we learned about deterrence over the past two months?

Yes, Deterrence Works Against Russian Leaders


POTUS DIMEFIL@susanquinn rightly raised concern about the collapse of our deterrence capability against the world’s bad actors. This was entirely avoidable. We know that military deterrence backed by the full spectrum of instruments of national power DID stop Putin from making any further territorial advances so long as President Trump was in office. This makes the Russia hoax and the rest of the long resistance by the deep state, abetted by Lyin’ Paul Ryan and Mendacious McConnell, and the 2020 Big Steal, again abetted by the deep state (including frontman AG Barr) and the RepubliCAN’Ts, all the more outrageous.

To review, the instruments of national power can be organized as DIMEFIL:

Diplomatic: Trump and Pompeo encouraged and cajoled foreign governments to stand up for themselves, to take their own security seriously, contrary to Mattis and the rest of the bad actors treating foreign governments as charity cases with fragile feelings.

[Member Post]


For at least the foreseeable future, trying to apply deterrence to our international threats is apparently off the table. President Biden continues to pursue incoherent and feckless words and actions that send a confusing message, particularly to Russia, but to any regime that would exult in the demise of our position on the world stage. […]

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Winter of Discontent Prolonged for Dictators?


The pattern of precision strikes this past year against ISIS leaders, the IRGC Quds Force commander, and one or more senior proxy militia commanders not only has put the Khomeinist regime on notice but also serves as a useful object lesson to Little Rocket Man, Kim III. Notice that the promised “Christmas surprise” never arrived through the full 12 days of Christmas. Whatever Kim’s calculations, the American military just reminded him, and everyone else, that there is nowhere the eagle’s talons can’t strike.

Chris Wallace asked Secretary Pompeo if impeachment trial talk was weakening the president’s hand in foreign policy. Pompeo’ deadpan answer: “You should ask Soleimani.” Kim has enjoyed a family tradition of acting the mad dog and getting thrown nice meaty bones time after time. Suddenly he has an opponent who gets showmanship and high-pressure negotiations. And the man just had a senior official in the old axis of evil snuffed out, an official all had believed untouchable; off-limits as the game was being played.

If Kim is ever to get past the winter of his discontent, it is now less likely to be with the artificial sunshine of an open hydrogen bomb test, at least so long as Donald J. Trump is president of these United States.

Time To Dust Off Nuclear Deterrence


Dr._StrangeloveSince the Cold War ended a quarter century ago, we haven’t learned to love the Bomb, but we have stopped worrying about it. As the Obama administration insists on driving the entire Middle East toward nuclear weapons, we had better start worrying about it again. A good place to start may be to dust off the concept of deterrence and re-familiarize ourselves with it.

What is deterrence?

Deterrence is a strategy of using the threat of military punishment to dissuade an aggressor from attempting to achieve his objectives. A defender deters his opponent by convincing him that any expected gains from his aggression will be outweighed by the punishment he will suffer. A threshold assumption underlying the logic of deterrence is that the aggressor is “rational,” in the sense that his military means are reasonably related to his political goals and he acts based on a comparison of expected gains to potential costs.