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# The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple

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The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2009, 00:41
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1. The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple psychological truth, that fear of retaliation makes a would-be aggressor nation hesitate before attacking and is often sufficient to deter it altogether from attacking. Clearly, then to maintain military deterrence, a nation would have to believed to have retaliatory power so great that a potential aggressor nation would have reason to think that it could not defend itself against such retaliation.
If the statements above are true, which one of the following can be properly inferred?
(A) A would-be aggressor nation can be deterred from attacking only if it has certain knowledge that it would be destroyed in retaliation by the country it attacks.
(B) A nation will not attack another nation if it believes that its own retaliatory power surpasses that of the other nation.
(C) One nation’s failing to attack another establishes that the nation that fails to attack believes that it could not withstand a retaliatory attack from the other nation.
(D) It is in the interests of a nation that seeks deterrence and has unsurpassed military power to let potential aggressors against it become aware of its power of retaliatory attack.
(E) Maintaining maximum deterrence from aggression by other nations requires that a nation maintain a retaliatory force greater than that of any other nation.

The OA is
[Reveal] Spoiler:
d

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Re: The theory of military deterrence [#permalink]

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02 Jul 2009, 10:54
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vaivish1723 wrote:
1. The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple psychological truth, that fear of retaliation makes a would-be aggressor nation hesitate before attacking and is often sufficient to deter it altogether from attacking. Clearly, then to maintain military deterrence, a nation would have to believed to have retaliatory power so great that a potential aggressor nation would have reason to think that it could not defend itself against such retaliation.
If the statements above are true, which one of the following can be properly inferred?
(A) A would-be aggressor nation can be deterred from attacking only if it has certain knowledge that it would be destroyed in retaliation by the country it attacks.
(B) A nation will not attack another nation if it believes that its own retaliatory power surpasses that of the other nation.
(C) One nation’s failing to attack another establishes that the nation that fails to attack believes that it could not withstand a retaliatory attack from the other nation.
(D) It is in the interests of a nation that seeks deterrence and has unsurpassed military power to let potential aggressors against it become aware of its power of retaliatory attack.
(E) Maintaining maximum deterrence from aggression by other nations requires that a nation maintain a retaliatory force greater than that of any other nation.

The info defines successful deterrence: when a potential aggressor knows/thinks that it cannot defend itself against retaliatory measures (in other words, can't prevent retaliation), it will hesitate to attack - deterrence is then a success. The impact/damage of retaliation is not specified. For the potential aggressor, it could literally mean breaking a chair or total annihilation (of course... only in the GMAT CR context, not in a real IR context).

(A) Too extreme; the aggressor doesn't have to be "destroyed", just damaged in some unpreventable way.
(B) No, according to the original info, the aggressor's decision to attack relies on its judgment about the target's ability to retaliate; it does not rely on the aggressor's assessment of its own retaliatory force (again, only in the GMAT context).
(C) Again a little strong for me; "could not withstand" is going out on a limb. Maybe a big nation can withstand having one of its many cities nuked, but it would be undesirable (i.e. the US certainly could withstand a N. Korean nuke attack, but it would not be preferable). Also, I think this distorts the meaning of deterrence a little bit. The key variable given here seems to be whether the aggressor can "defend against", or in other words, "prevent or minimize the impact of" retaliation, NOT whether that aggressor can withstand the impact of the retaliatory attack once it is successfully carried out.
(E) This again distorts the meaning of deterrence. An aggressor is deterred when it knows it cannot prevent the target's successful retaliatory measures, the original info does not mention how great/powerful these retaliatory measures must be, nor does it require a comparison of various sides' retaliatory force (example: China's nuke deterrence is much smaller than that of the former USSR & the US, but it still successfully deters other nuke powers).

By POE, I think (D) is the best answer. (D) is narrowly qualified and consistent with the scope of the original info.
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Re: The theory of military deterrence [#permalink]

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02 Jul 2009, 13:37
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Sudeep,

I’ll take a crack at explaining why C is wrong. The argument says that fear of retaliation would cause a nation to hesitate before attacking a target. In order for targets to deter attacks, they need to be believed to have retaliatory power. Agreed?

Now, answer C says that if an attacker does not attack a target, then that means the attacker thinks it can’t withstand a retaliatory attack. Agreed?

Well consider this case: Attacker is actually very friendly with the target. They have strong and interlinked economies. Attacker is not really an attacker at all. They are friends, so the “attacker” chooses not to attack. The ability to withstand a retaliatory attack has nothing to do with the reason why "attacker" is not attacking.

The argument says that A causes B. But answer C is saying B causes A. Not true. Just because A causes B, B does not necessarily cause A. Get it?
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Re: The theory of military deterrence [#permalink]

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02 Jul 2009, 02:20
For me C and D close.

Only reason D is better is that the para is in point of view of the nation that is going to retaliate/to be attacked.
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Last edited by sudeep on 02 Jul 2009, 12:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The theory of military deterrence [#permalink]

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02 Jul 2009, 10:00
A) The word ‘only’ is too strong. Retaliation is one of the reasons a country may choose not to attack, but it is not the only reason.
B) Opposite of the argument. If a nation’s own retaliatory power surpasses that of the other nation, it may attack.
C) Not necessarily. It may not be able to withstand retaliation, but it isn’t a necessary conclusion here.
D) Yes. This makes sense with the argument. This naturally follows from the argument. If a nation wants to deter and it has unsurpassed military power, it will deter other nations from attacking.
E) No. There may be other ways of deterring other nations. Maintaining retaliatory force helps, but there could be other ways of deterring other nations from attacking that the argument doesn’t address.

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Re: The theory of military deterrence [#permalink]

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02 Jul 2009, 12:42
"could not defend" is already mentioned. How is it different from 'could not withstand' and is extreme.
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Re: The theory of military deterrence [#permalink]

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02 Jul 2009, 23:49
topher wrote:
Sudeep,

I’ll take a crack at explaining why C is wrong. The argument says that fear of retaliation would cause a nation to hesitate before attacking a target. In order for targets to deter attacks, they need to be believed to have retaliatory power. Agreed?

Now, answer C says that if an attacker does not attack a target, then that means the attacker thinks it can’t withstand a retaliatory attack. Agreed?

Well consider this case: Attacker is actually very friendly with the target. They have strong and interlinked economies. Attacker is not really an attacker at all. They are friends, so the “attacker” chooses not to attack. The ability to withstand a retaliatory attack has nothing to do with the reason why "attacker" is not attacking.

The argument says that A causes B. But answer C is saying B causes A. Not true. Just because A causes B, B does not necessarily cause A. Get it?

Thanks! I missed it
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Re: The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple [#permalink]

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13 Feb 2012, 07:43
vaivish1723 wrote:
1. The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple psychological truth, that fear of retaliation makes a would-be aggressor nation hesitate before attacking and is often sufficient to deter it altogether from attacking. Clearly, then to maintain military deterrence, a nation would have to believed to have retaliatory power so great that a potential aggressor nation would have reason to think that it could not defend itself against such retaliation.
If the statements above are true, which one of the following can be properly inferred?
(A) A would-be aggressor nation can be deterred from attacking only if it has certain knowledge that it would be destroyed in retaliation by the country it attacks.
(B) A nation will not attack another nation if it believes that its own retaliatory power surpasses that of the other nation.
(C) One nation’s failing to attack another establishes that the nation that fails to attack believes that it could not withstand a retaliatory attack from the other nation.
(D) It is in the interests of a nation that seeks deterrence and has unsurpassed military power to let potential aggressors against it become aware of its power of retaliatory attack.
(E) Maintaining maximum deterrence from aggression by other nations requires that a nation maintain a retaliatory force greater than that of any other nation.

The OA is
[Reveal] Spoiler:
d

I agree with D.

Reason: The part highlighted in Blue, which is the conclusion as far as I can see, clearly talks about the making it known to adversaries that a nation's military capabilities are enormous. And the D hits this point bang on. The others don't come anywhere near.
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Re: The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple [#permalink]

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03 May 2015, 17:24
Re: The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple   [#permalink] 03 May 2015, 17:24
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