Jervis: Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma

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Jervis: Cooperation under the security dilemma

This summary needs formatting (i.e. "wikification"). Can you help us improve it? (Formatting help.) Please volunteer. Jervis. 1978. Cooperation under the security dilemma. World Politics 30: 167-214. [mostly from handout]

PUZZLE
Anarchy and the security dilemma make cooperation seemingly impossible. Why would states cooperate anyway? Presumably, there must be some mechanism which allows states to bind themselves (and partners) not to "defect," or at least some mechanism by which to detect defection early enough to respond appropriately. (170-171) MAIN VARIABLES AND PREDICTIONS

Jervis identifies two main variables, the offense/defense balance [X1] and the ability to distinguish between offensive/defensive postures [X2]. Using these two variables he creates a two-by-two matrix with four possible strategic environments: 1Offensive/Defensive posture indistinguishable - Offensive advantage This world is very dangerous because countries have an incentive to take offensive action to increase their security and they have an inherent mistrust of each other because they cannot determine their neighbors' intentions from their actions. The security dilemma is strong in this environment 2Offensive/Defensive posture indistinguishable � Defensive advantage The security dilemma will exist in this world, but the defensive advantage will give countries an incentive to invest in primarily defensive capabilities. Security needs could be compatible. 3Offensive/Defensive posture is distinguishable � Offensive advantage The security dilemma will not operate in this environment, but countries will have an incentive to use offensive action to protect themselves. Status-quo states can differentiate themselves from aggressors and there will likely be warning of an aggressors' intentions 4Offensive/Defensive posture is distinguishable � Defensive advantage This is the safest possible environment. In this situation the...
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