The Military Lens
Doctrinal Difference and Deterrence Failure in Sino-American Relations
Publication Year: 2010
In The Military Lens, Christopher P. Twomey shows how differing military doctrines have led to misperceptions between the United States and China over foreign policy-and the potential dangers these might pose in future relations. Because of their different strategic situations, histories, and military cultures, nations may have radically disparate definitions of effective military doctrine, strategy, and capabilities. Twomey argues that when such doctrines-or "theories of victory"-differ across states, misperceptions about a rival's capabilities and intentions and false optimism about one's own are more likely to occur. In turn, these can impede international diplomacy and statecraft by making it more difficult to communicate and agree on assessments of the balance of power.
When states engage in strategic coercion-either to deter or to compel action-such problems can lead to escalation and war. Twomey assesses a wide array of sources in both the United States and China on military doctrine, strategic culture, misperception, and deterrence theory to build case studies of attempts at strategic coercion during Sino-American conflicts in Korea and the Taiwan Strait in the early years of the Cold War, as well as an examination of similar issues in the Arab-Israeli conflict. After demonstrating how these factors have contributed to past conflicts, Twomey amply documents the persistence of hazardous miscommunication in contemporary Sino-American relations. His unique analytic perspective on military capability suggests that policymakers need to carefully consider the military doctrine of the nations they are trying to influence.
Published by: Cornell University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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...8. Implications for Theory and Dangers in the Taiwan Strait Today 231...
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THIS BOOK GROWS out of a broader desire to grapple with the ten-sion between the dangers of deterrence failure and spirals in international affairs. This dichotomy of sources of inadvertent escalation cries out for policy-relevant scholarship. Understanding when each of these two—often opposed—dangers is more prevalent would be highly valuable to national ...
i. the dangers of doctrinal difference
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1. the military language of diplomacy
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...avoided if China and the United States had read each other’s military signals correctly. Similarly, the Arab-Israeli War of 1973 might have been averted if the antagonists had evaluated threats and the overall balance more ac-curately; if so, the Middle East might look very different now. Overoptimism in France, Germany, and the United States during World War II all stemmed ...
2. doctrinal differences and misperception
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...different doctrines and hold different beliefs about what kinds of mili-tary strategies and capabilities may be effective, diplomacy and signaling will be more diffi cult, and this can cause escalation or confl ict. In this chapter, the two stages of this process are expressed as a pair of hypotheses: fi rst, the doctrinal-difference misperception (DDM) hypothesis, suggests how the dif-...
ii. chinese and american puzzles
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3. comparing theories of victory
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...ing points in the Korean War: the U.S. decision to cross the 38th parallel into North Korea (chapter 4) and Mao Zedong’s decision to cross the Yalu River to meet the American forces (chapter 5). Both cases involve a similar assessment of the two sides’ military capabilities. For simplicity, therefore, this chapter examines the independent variable that applies to both chapter ...
4. the united states crosses the 38th parallel
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June 25, 1950, the United States rushed to aid the collapsing South Korean forces. Through the summer of 1950, the ground war went poorly for the South Korean and U.S. forces, which were pushed back in a long retreat to the Pusan Perimeter. After that line solidifi ed in early August, however, the Inchon landings of September 15 were a success, forcing the United States ...
5. china crosses the yalu
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...key escalation in the war was the Chinese decision to move south across the Yalu River into North Korea, countering the American military might that moved rapidly northward. The evidence available during the early Cold War appeared to support the argument that war might have been avoided even after the United States crossed the 38th parallel, if only MacArthur had kept ...
6. china postpones the invasion of taiwan
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...ing Taiwan as China sought to conclude its civil war. Doctrinal-difference theory predicts that when two adversaries practice similar doctrines, deter-rence is facilitated because signals are more likely to be clearly understood and assessments of the balance of power are more likely to be consistent. Both of these elements are seen in the U.S.-Chinese confrontation over the ...
iii. extending the story
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7. the emergence of doctrinal differences in the middle east, 1956 to 1973
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SINCE ITS FOUNDING IN 1948, Israel has always faced adversaries on its borders, at times implacable and numerous. However, the intensity of militarized confl ict between Israel and its neighbors has varied. In this chap-ter, doctrinal-difference theory explains, in part, that variation: during one particularly violent period in Arab-Israeli relations in the early 1970s, differ-...
8. implications for theory and dangers in the taiwan strait today
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THIS STUDY SHOWS how adversaries’ doctrinal differences can cause misperception and the failure of attempts at coercion or deterrence, lead-ing to confl ict, escalation, and war. In case after case—China, Israel, Egypt, and the United States—we see a country looking at the world through its own military lens and failing to see how the differences between its own and ...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2010
Series Title: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs