The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters


Self-deterrence is critically understudied in deterrence theory. Similarly, deterrence practitioners prefer to focus on adversaries’ threats rather than seeking to account for the full scope of fears influencing the decision calculus of policymakers. Through historical case studies, this article identifies where self-deterrence has occurred, highlights the benefits of incorporating the concept in future strategic planning and intelligence assessments, and recommends that policymakers, strategists, and analysts acknowledge self-deterrence as an important factor when preparing for future wars.

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