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Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies$
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Frank C. Zagare

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198831587

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198831587.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 04 August 2021

Explaining the Long Peace

Explaining the Long Peace

Chapter:
(p.145) 8 Explaining the Long Peace
Source:
Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies
Author(s):

Frank C. Zagare

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198831587.003.0009

This chapter addresses the charge made by some behavioral economists (and many strategic analysts) that game theory is of limited utility for understanding interstate conflict behavior. Using one of perfect deterrence theory’s constituent models, a logically consistent game-theoretic explanation for the absence of a superpower conflict during the Cold War era is provided. As well, the chapter discusses a prescription based on an incorrect prediction attributed to John von Neumann, one of the cofounders of game theory. It also examines a logically inconsistent explanation of the long peace offered by Thomas Schelling, the game theorist many consider the most important strategic thinker in the field of security studies. The argument is made that a predictively inaccurate or logically inconsistent game model in no way undermines the utility of game theory as a potentially powerful methodological tool.

Keywords:   deterrence, game theory, Schelling, von Neumann, Cold War, long peace

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