Introduction of the Theorem

  • Philip Bobbitt


It was the conviction of Western statesmen that neither of the world wars fought in this century need have occurred if German leaders had known at the outset of each of those wars that the United States would ultimately intervene in decisive numbers on behalf of England and France. Therefore it was a paramount objective of post-World War 2 diplomacy to commit the United States, unmistakably and unambiguously, to any future European conflict and, thereby, so alter the calculus of costs and benefits to an aggressor that war would become unthinkable. It is perhaps a coincidence that NATO was formed in 1949, the same portentous year in which the events occurred that began the era of deterrence, but it is an agreeable one. For the deterrence of war, not its ambitious prosecution, was the goal of the Western allies at the same time that fate brought into being the events that culminated in the mutual deterrence of the thermonuclear era.


Extended Theatre Weapon System Flexible Response Economic Sanction German Leader 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    L. E. Davis, Extended Deterrence in The 1980s/1990s forthcoming Adelphi Paper (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies); D. Ball, ‘Soviet ICBM Deployment’, Survival 22 (July/August 1980), pp. 167–70. (For this reason it was argued earlier that the competition for warheads problem associated with extended deterrence by Treverton was illusory.)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Pierre Lellouche, Foreign Affairs 59 (Spring 1981), p. 816.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Walter Slocombe, ‘PD59 and The Countervailing Strategy’, International Security 5 (Spring 1981), pp. 18–24; for a subtle argument that this sort of strategy actually weakens NATO’s position when faced with a limited Soviet attackCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    see Pauli Jarvenpaa, Flexible Nuclear Options: New Myths and Old Realities, Peace Studies Program Occasional Paper no. 7 (Ithaca: Cornell University, September 1976), pp. 24–36.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    For a variant of this argument, see Robert Jervis, ‘Deterrence and Perception’, International Security 7 (Winter 1982–3), p. 7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 8.
    David C. Elliot, Decision at Brussels: The Politics of Nuclear Forces, California Seminar Discussion Paper no. 97 (Santa Monica, 1981).Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    D. R. Cotter, J. H. Hansen, and K. McConnell, The Nuclear Balance in Europe: Status, Trends, Implications, USSI Report 83–1 (Washington, United States Strategic Institute, 1983), p. 27.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    North Atlantic Assembly, Draft Interim Report of the Special Committee on Nuclear Weapons in Europe (1982), pp. 14–15.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Henry Kissinger, ‘The Future of NATO’, Washington Quarterly 2 (1979), pp. 3, 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 13.
    Henry Kissinger, ‘Strategy and The Atlantic Alliance,’ Survival 24 (September/October 1982), pp. 196–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 13.
    see also Henry Kissinger, ‘The International Context for US Security’, in America’s Security in the 1980s, Papers from the 23rd Annual IISS Conference, Adelphi Paper no. 174 (London: The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1981), pp. 5–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip Bobbitt 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Bobbitt
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of TexasUSA
  2. 2.OxfordUK

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