How to Stop the Bear: Strategy of Small States   [open pdf - 202KB]

"Keeping in mind limited resources available to weak states, and overwhelming misbalances of power, this study looks for an optimal strategy of a small and weak state that increases prospects of protracting the war, decreases the utility of the aggressor's military capabilities, and threatens to deny an aggressor his political objectives. This thesis concentrates on weak states deterrence strategy. Weak and small states with defensive national security goals but inadequate military strength have always preferred deterrence to fighting. The essence of deterrence is to persuade an actual or potential adversary that they are better off taking different rather actions than fighting. Deterrence succeeds where the potential adversary is persuaded to believe that his planned actions will fail, or that any military action would be result in dire consequences, hence asserting that he is better off not attacking. According to Arreguín-Toft (2009) in order to succeed, the materially weaker side needs (1) social support, (2) sanctuary (either physical, such as tough terrain, or political, such as a weakly defended interstate border), (3) an idea capable of making self-sacrifice seem both necessary and noble (e.g., nationalism), and (4) a strategy capable of tying all three advantages into a single effort. With these four assets, weaker opponents can delay, effectively denying their nominally stronger adversaries the ability to use their advantages in technology, materiel, and numbers to obtain expected political objectives; imposing sufficient costs to force strong opponents to reconsider the expected benefits of victory."

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