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Author: Earned a PhD in economics from Harvard.  Schelling served with the Marshall Plan in Europe, the White House, and the Executive Office of the President from 1948 to 1953.  He wrote most of his dissertation on national income behavior working at night while in Europe.  He left government to join the economics faculty at Yale University, and in 1958, he was appointed Professor of Economics at Harvard.  In 1969, he joined the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Schelling previously taught for twenty years at Harvard's Kennedy School, where he was the Lucius N. Littauer Professor of Political Economy, as well as conducted research at International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in Luxemburg, Austria, between 1994 and 1999.  In 1993 was awarded the Award for Behavior Research Relevant to the Prevention of Nuclear War from the National Academy of Sciences.  He also received an honorary doctorate from Yale University in 2009 as well as an honorary degree from the University of Manchester.

Context:

Questions to Consider:

1.    '''''How do deterrence and compellence differ?

2.    '''''Under what conditions are they most effective?

3.    '''''How might strategists manipulate threats/risk?

4.   '''''Can one ever be certain about another actor’s preferences?

a.   '''''If so, how does one go about deciphering the preferences of others?

5.   '''''What role can airpower (force) play in games of coercion?

6.    '''''Is game theory a useful way to think?  Why?

Thesis / Central Proposition:

·       Do not press a desperate enemy too far

·       “politics are not the nursery…these are ugly games”

Main Ideas:

·       (xii) One of the lamentable principals of human productivity is that it is easier to destroy than to create.

·       (xiii) The power to hurt – it is bargaining power (2)

·       Saliency, notions of deterrence, retaliation, reprisal, terrorism, nuclear blackmail, wars of nerve, armistice, and surrender all relate to the ‘diplomacy of violence’.

·       Use of force to set conditions—force is a bargaining game.

·       Nuclear weapons have made force largely unusable—how do you use force in the shadow of nucs

Specific Citations' (Arms and Influence)':

·      Modern weapons (nukes) mean victory is no longer a prerequisite for hurting the enemy

·      Thus, victory is not the ultimate aim for nations with their military; they want bargaining power that comes from the capacity to hurt.

·      This changes mil. strategy to the diplomacy of violence, with an increase in the art of coercion, intimidation, and deterrence.

·      Deterrence is trying to stop a foe from taking a certain action; it is passive and cedes initiative to the opponent

·      “Commitment” is a key consideration: communicating it, making it credible to your foes, but also controlling it. Pushing the envelope to test another’s commitment are common tactics.  Schelling is a firm believer that “face” [commitment and credibility] is worth fighting for.

·      Compellence is more active, and typically involves administering punishment until the adversary acts, rather than if he acts.

·      “Brinksmanship” is manipulating the shared risk of war. The game of chicken in some respects, but there is uncertainty that could cause war.

·      Lots of detailed descriptions in the book relating to these topics, such as ‘trip wires’ for deterrence, tactical vs. strategic nukes, first/second strike strategies.

·      The nuclear paradox: Stability requires vulnerability. As invulnerability increases (missile shield, maybe) the likelihood of war increases because it introduces instability into the relationship between states.

·      Other ideas:

×        Coercion – using latent violence to exploit enemy’s wants and fears; structure motives

×        Brute force – military or undiplomatic action concerned with enemy strengths, not interests

×        Pure hurting – not military engagements but punitive attacks on people

×        Deterrence – Influencing enemy intentions; hardest part is communicating own intentions

×        Law of last clear chance – relinquish initiative; allow enemy last chance of avoiding conflict

×        Salami tactics (exploit ambiguity, inch to goal)

Strategy of Conflict

Thesis: International conflicts are not zero-sum games; they are variable-sum

·      Conflicts are bargaining situations

·      Deterrence requires conflict and common interests

·      "Threat that leaves something to chance"

·      Brinkmanship

Specific Citations (Strategy of Conflict):

·      3 Conflict can be pathological (so we seek diagnosis and cure) or the normal state (so we study behaviors) – and among the latter, some equate conflict to a contest and study strategies to ensure victory

·      4 assuming a rational actor limits application of findings because not all actors are rational

·      4-5 there are usually areas of common interest among those engaged in conflict, inducing bargaining, mutual accommodation, and avoidance of mutually damaging behavior

·      4 “A theory of strategy does not deny that there are common as well as conflicting interests among the participants. .. in international affairs, there is mutual dependence as well as opposition. “ Sticks and Carrots are always in play, but sometimes you both get carrots at the same time. Most competition is not a zero sum game, and interests are seldom in total opposition. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 are an example – although they definitely competed the whole time, they both found carrots in Poland - at least until they fought each other over even bigger ones.

·      5 strategy, then, is concerned with “exploitation of potential force” – latent force

·      16 “theory of interdependent decision” captures the scope of the interaction between opponents who are in conflict but not diametrically opposed

·      20 old, despotic devices like exchanging hostages can enlighten our so-called enlightened world

·      24 demonstration of commitment can make what is false become true (if you commit irrevocably and at great cost)

·      26 communication asymmetry can limit deter-ability – if my phone is disconnected, you can’t threaten me to stop whatever it is I am doing

·      28 mutual but uncoordinated commitments can lead to incompatible positions that stalemate bargaining

·      34 precedent and historically-followed principles add credence to negotiations

·      36 threats that hurt both are effective only if the threatener is credible and bound to carry out the threat

·      38 trip wire or plate glass window show commitment

·      40 maximum credibility leaves minimum loopholes or room for discretion – automatic is best

·      46 offering a bargain entails risk because it discloses a willingness to bargain, but accepted and honored bargains lead to trust, which is very valuable

·      53 bargaining through communication is hard as war looms, so tacit bargaining assumes greater importance

·      60 impotence can be strength in bargaining

·      67 even in explicit bargaining, tacit clues have influence

·      68 precedents and status quo set a pattern, e.g.

·      70 infinitely reflexive expectations somehow resolve into a position

·      70 attractive outcomes enjoy “prominence, uniqueness, simplicity, precedent, or some rationale that makes them qualitatively” different than the rest

·      71 tacit coordination requires intuitively perceived mutual expectations

·      75 “tacit agreements or agreements arrived at through partial or haphazard negotiation require terms that are qualitatively distinguishable from the alternatives and cannot simply be a matter of degree” and with incomplete communication, you may have to find a solution that’s less than fair because of the situation and circumstance

·      75-77 Negotiation often occurs without discussion, but it’s difficult to predict outcomes when this happens, and these are often determined by geographically or cognitively significant features (i.e. natural borders, prominent features, precedent, round numbers) of the environment . This communication need not be reciprocal to provide both parties benefit (i.e. car in right lane swerving to avoid driver in wrong lane texting on cellphone)

·      75 regarding gas in WWII – tacit arrival at “no gas” is more obvious than “some gas” (but how much, or where, or on what targets)

·      76 tacit arrival at 38th parallel, no nukes, equipment (not personnel) aid to French in Indochina, etc.

·      77 limiting warfare presents not a smooth continuum of options but a “lumpy, discrete world”

·      78 tacit bargaining benefits from previous agreements, and because war isn’t inherently limited, it would be good to make lots of previous agreements to make it easier to limit war

·      Conflict is a contest. Rational behavior, in this contest is a matter of judgment and perception.

·      Strategy makes predictions using rational behavior - behavior motivated by a serious calculation of advantages, a calculation that in turn is based on an explicit and internally consistent value system.

·      RAM model: we use it every day, to value maximize our interests and self preservation. Actor’s value is the guideline. However, we need MOD I and II since not all can be explained by RAM.

·      There is a bargaining area/space, where both parties feel they can live with the result. Outside this area there will be too much to lose. Can be done open/secret and the power to bargain depends on your power base/what you can offer and the other parties interests.

·      Cooperation is always temporary, interests will change.

·      Democracy and Al-Qaida; seems to be a zero sum game, but we need to find the possibility to change it to a variable sum game, otherwise will there be too much at stake and never any solution.

·      Like Thucydides' "fear, honor, and interest" formulation, it may not tell you exactly how each character will interpret what falls under each category, but you can form an overall theory of strategy around the assumptions that each actor will seek to reduce fear, enhance honor, and preserve or increase interest, even if their conclusions about what actions are needed to do this don't match yours.

·      Schelling adds the important element that one sides calculation of actions is dependent on what the other side does or is predicted to do in other words, fear, honor, and interest calculations are not made in vacuums. He calls this the theory of interdependent decision

·      A theory of strategy does not deny that there are common as well as conflicting interests among the participants...in international affairs, there is mutual dependence as well as opposition." Sticks and Carrots are always in play, but sometimes you both get carrots at the same time.

·      Most competition is not a zero sum game, and interests are seldom in total opposition. Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939 are an example although they definitely competed the whole time, they both found carrots in Poland - at least until they fought each other over even bigger ones. According to Schelling, unless there is both conflict and some kind of common interest in a certain status quo, there can be no such thing as deterrence – you’d get either pure antagonism if you only have the former, and “complete common interest” if you only have the latter

·      Most conflict situations are essentially bargaining situations. You could argue from Clausewitz that war is essentially a bargaining situation, and conflict never ends unless

×        1. One side is eliminated,

×        2. One side is temporarily forced to accept the winners imposed status quo by force and must wait until it can gather strength to resume hostilities, or

×        3. Both sides come to some sort of mutually acceptable agreement on a new status quo and conflict ends.

·      18 Crazy Larry it is not a universal advantage in situations of conflict to be inalienably and manifestly rational in decision and motivation.

·      Negotiation often occurs without discussion, but its difficult to predict outcomes when this happens, and these are often determined by geographically or cognitively significant features (i.e. natural borders, prominent features, precedent, round numbers) of the environment . This communication need not be reciprocal to provide both parties benefit

·      4 Strategy makes predictions using “rational behavior - …behavior motivated by a serious calculation of advantages, a calculation that in turn is based on an explicit and internally consistent value system. “ Like Thucydides' "fear, honor, and interest" formulation, it may not tell you exactly how each character will interpret what falls under each category, but you can form an overall theory of strategy around the assumptions that each actor will seek to reduce fear, enhance honor, and preserve or increase interest, even if their conclusions about what actions are needed to do this don't match yours.

·      15 Schelling adds the important element that one side’s calculation of actions is dependent on what the other side does or is predicted to do –in other words, fear, honor, and interest calculations are not made in vacuums.

·      16 He calls this the theory of interdependent decision

·      11 According to Schelling, unless there is both conflict and some kind of common interest in a certain status quo, there can be no such thing as deterrence – you’d get either pure antagonism if you only have the former, and “complete common interest” if you only have the latter

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