Deterrence & Spiral Model

Deterrence and Spiral Model are compared in Chapter 3 of Perception and Misperception in International Politics by Robert Jervis (1976). For Deterrence, when there is a belief by aggressor ‘status quo power’ are not able to end the conflict, the main problem occurs. (p.58) For Spiral Model, as a critique of deterrence, the essence which causes adversary is the anarchical nature of international politics as the system is based on self-help. (p.62)

In negotiation, generally, we have parties which have issues and tries to reach a resolution of conflict over the issues. However, during a negotiation, we have some problems for example lack of information, trust, miscalculation etc, as well. In this chapter, I could also add that negotiation is something ‘intersubjective’ as deterrence and spiral models are generally based on perceptions of the other parties, rooted in power relations, past experiences, fear and reciprocity. (p. 75- 79) In addition to this, I would assert that although the hypotheses seem very useful considering the role of ‘other’ in Deterrence and Spiral Model, I would also like to read the ideas of the author on self-assessment (calculation of one’s own power), as we know from Fearon(1995) that it is very crucial to calculation and decision to go into a war or not. Moreover, although the author mentions the importance of taking the reaction of 3rd parties into account by the powerful party over the small one (p. 97), he does not give place it in his hypotheses.

To sum up, as the author also recognizes the fundamental differences of Deterrence and Spiral Model Theorists over values, morality and empirical analyses, reading the assessment of turning points in history of international relations from these two opposite points of view is valuable to widen our own perspective.

4 responses so far

to “Deterrence & Spiral Model”

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