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Deterrence is a theory of International relations based in Realism Essentially it tries to explain the situation of when two or more states threaten retaliation if attacked in order to deter the attack It is therefore possible to very simply state deterrence as You hit me I hit you For this essay two main questions have to be addressed Has it worked and Does it make sense To answer these questions I will firstly define what deterrence is I will then examine some of the main arguments for and against it in theory and in reality finally I will show some of the consequences of states following such a policy Deterrence as already stated can concern itself with any form of threatened counter-attack however for this essay I shall be concentrating on Nuclear deterrence using examples from the cold war therefore when the word deterrence is used it should be taken as nuclear deterrence Hedley Bull describes deterrence as follows To say that country A deters country B from doing something is to imply the following i That Country A conveys to Country B a threat to inflict punishment or deprivation of values if it embarks on a certain course of action ii That Country B might otherwise embark on that course of action iii That Country B believes that Country A has the capacity and the will to carry out the threat and decides for this reason that the course of action is not worthwhile Therefore for deterrence to occur a state must convey a message to another state usually these will be the public an authoritative utterances of government officials Secondly to use Hedley Bulls language country B would consider following a course of action which Country A does not wish and does not because of the threat - not because it has no interest to Thirdly Country A must be able to convince Country B that it is capable of carrying out
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