15 mars 2012
Ifri's Security Studies Center is pleased to inform you
issue No. 40 of the Proliferation Papers
has just been published:
Dancing with the
Managing Escalation in a Conflict with
By Forrest E. Morgan
"Escalation", the tendency of belligerents to increase the force or
breadth of their attacks to gain advantage or avoid defeat, is not a new phenomenon. Systematic thought about how to manage it, however, did not crystallize until the Cold War and the
invention of nuclear weapons. Given the limitations identified in these Cold War approaches to escalation and the profound changes that have affected the strategic environment, a new
framework for thinking and managing escalation against nuclear adversaries is needed. It should lead to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of escalation: its dynamics, forms, and the
motives that drive it. This paper attempts to fill a gap in the current strategic literature, and explores the challenges that NATO would face in managing escalation in a military conflict
with a major nuclear power such as the Russian Federation. Escalation management is about keeping wars limited. In a war against Russia, Western leaders would need to weigh their
interests in the issue at stake and adjust their war aims and efforts accordingly. They could secure success only if it is defined and pursued in ways that ultimately allow for
compromise and do not threaten the survival of the Russian state or its leaders.
You can post comments on this article and read Ifri's researchers' original contributions on security
studies on the blog "Ultima Ratio."
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