Calculating Credibility: How Leaders Assess Military Threats.
By Daryl G. Press. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005. 218p.
Deterrence by Diplomacy. By Anne E. Sartori. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 2005. 176p. $32.50.
In Cold War deterrence, nothing was more important or disturbing than
the credibility problem. Success depended on conveying credible
threats, yet it was hard to see how to make retaliatory threats credible
in mutual nuclear deterrence, particularly in extended deterrence or to
prevent conventional attacks. It was also hard to make nuclear retaliation
threats credible against nonnuclear powers; nuclear use would arouse
condemnation, set an awful precedent, and stimulate nuclear proliferation.
In fact, how were retaliatory threats of any sort made credible?