Deterrence and Balance of Power

by Jung Hyosu

Institution: Swedish National Defense College
Year: 2016
Keywords: Social Sciences; Other Social Sciences; Samhällsvetenskap; Annan samhällsvetenskap; Högre stabsofficersutbildning (HSU); Högre stabsofficersutbildning (HSU); Krigsvetenskap, självständigt arbete; War Studies Thesis
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2099987
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6038


Deterrence strategy has been practiced over the ages and still remains a vital component of a country’s national security strategy. Over time, decision-makers have sought ways to effectively deter their adversaries. As decision-makers have applied new tactics to deter, scholars have also tried to improve the explanatory and prescriptive strengths of deterrence theory. However, there still remains much to be desired, evident by continued interest on the subject. This thesis aims to answer the following research question: “What makes deterrence succeed or fail?” “Under which circumstances is deterrence more effective?” In particular, this thesis will examine the relationship between the balance of power between the deterrer and the attacker. “What aspect of the balance of power between the actors strongly influences the decision to defy an opponent’s deterrent threat and attack?” To verify the main argument and hypotheses, this thesis conducted three single-case studies on cases of deterrence. Through two cases of deterrence failure and one case of deterrence success, this thesis was demonstrated that deterrence is more likely to fail when there is a parity of power, compared to when it is concentrated.