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These are four strategies that have been in use for a very long time. Therefore, there are many examples of them in history.
- Defense. The idea here is to have a strong defense so that it will not be worthwhile to attack you. You are trying to ensure that you can withstand any attack. The Maginot Line built by France after WWI was an example of this. President Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile defense initiative was another.
- Deterrence. Here, the idea is that you guarantee that you will punish anyone who attacks you. You make it clear to them that you will retaliate for any attack and will do so in such a violent way that they will, on balance, lose out by attacking you. The classic example of this was the “mutually assured destruction” of the Cold War. Any attack by one of the superpowers on the other would have been met with nuclear retaliation. Therefore, no one wanted to attack.
- Détente diplomacy. This involves trying to calm tensions between two countries. Examples of this are the détente between the US and the USSR in the 1970s and the (temporary) lessening of tensions between North and South Korea in the early 2000’s.
- Disarmament. The idea here is that fewer weapons mean fewer wars. This was tried after WWI in the Washington Naval Conference agreements that limited the size of various navies. This was also the idea behind the SALT talks between the Soviet Union and the United States.
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