Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 February 2021
Chapter 4 analyzes the ideas of Thomas Schelling, especially his bargaining model of war and his concept of strategic coercion. His "America" was also that of Brodie and Osgood. This chapter examines the limitations of both bargaining, which presupposed a shared process of arriving at tacit and explicit agreements, and coercion which assumed consent was a binary – yes, no – process. Both implied US commanders might need to exercise restraint in war just as they were gaining the upper hand, an idea most would have found ridiculous. Schelling’s model of war’s nature was also that of a coiled spring, though he introduced greater uncertainty into the model because tacit agreements can be broken without warning, or might never have existed in the first place.