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Deterrence Theory, Then and Now: There is No Going Back

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Perfect Deterrence Theory is a general theory of interstate conflict that is applicable to a wide variety of real-world circumstances, including acute crises and both conventional and nuclear deterrence relationships. The theory is comprised of a set of closely related game-theoretic models that are explored under conditions of complete and incomplete information. Like any theory, Perfect Deterrence Theory's major propositions and policy recommendations are contingent on its defined terms and concepts. The failure to take note of these definitions when evaluating the theory not only does a disservice to the theory, but it also undermines the academic enterprise itself.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2013-05-01

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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