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Ideology as a Factor in Deterrence

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History is replete with examples of deterrence failure and war occurring unexpectedly, taking nations by surprise, because of failure to comprehend an adversary's ideology. The modern world has been shaped by failure to comprehend the ideologically driven aggression of Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, Soviet communism, and Islamic jihadism. The Soviet “war scare” during NATO's nuclear exercise ABLE ARCHER-83 exemplifies how ideology could cause deterrence failure and even nuclear war. Understanding the ideology of potential adversaries must be part of any informed deterrence strategy. U.S. overconfidence in deterrence theory, which is itself an ideological belief system, could contribute to deterrence failure.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Task Force on National and Homeland Security Scotland, MD, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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