The Case for Deterrence

Part of the Global Forecast 2015

After a difficult year in U.S. foreign policy, some are wondering if the concept of deterrence still holds. Deterrence, though ancient in its basic precepts, came to prominence during the nuclear age when the United States was focused on convincing the Soviet Union that the costs and risks of direct military conflict would outweigh its potential benefits. With the dynamics of bipolar nuclear competition having long given way to a broader set of national security challenges, the U.S. government has made an effort to update its deterrence policy. Following the attacks of September 11, 2011, the U.S. go vernment began to refer to “tailored deterrence,” wherein the United States would tailor its approach to affecting the decision calculus of different potential adversaries in different circumstances.

Kathleen H. Hicks