So much deterrence…

” if you have to carry through on your coercive threat deterrence by definition has failed.

 Sara Bjerg Moller  posted a rant  discussion over on regarding the distinction between deterrence and compellence.  here.  Specifically if (and when) the US responds to Syrian chemical weapons use; will it be a deterrent act (against future use of chemical weapons by Syria and others) or a compellent act (forcing Syria to cease using chemical weapons). Moller makes an excellent point that everyone might benefit from another reading of our Schelling. I’m still working on a paper discussing why deterrence failed in this case and what we can learn from it. I have to agree with Moller’s initial thought – and would like to add that actions such as the forthcoming attacks are not a one-off.  They should be understood in the context of what they are responding to as well as how they change future events.

Thanks Mr. Willingham for the heads-up.

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