Israeli Deterrence Strategy: Guarantor of Security or Regional Enmity?   [open pdf - 3MB]

"This thesis argues that Israel's reliance upon its military superiority to deter its adversaries has failed to guarantee the security of the state. This does not mean that deterrence strategy is useless or has not been beneficial to Israel. It is not, however, a remedy by itself to bring peace and security to the state. Violence begets more violence and other strategies used in concert with deterrence would be far more effective to reduce regional hostility than reliance upon deterrence alone. Rational deterrence theorists argue that a potential challenger only has to consider the military balance to determine whether or not to attack the defender. Realistically, the decisions of policy-makers are affected by psychological processes and needs that tend to reduce the primacy of strictly empirical evaluations of the military balance. Were rational deterrence theorists correct, Israeli deterrence strategy would have been wholly successful in guaranteeing security. Since it has not, Israeli policy-makers need to understand the limitations of deterrence theory and pursue other strategies along diplomatic lines that will reduce regional tension and enmity. Failure to follow such a course of action may have significant consequences for Israeli security in the near future. We will witness an expansion of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East that will make a precarious security situation even more dire."

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