• military or terrorist attack to unimpeded access to critical raw materials, free use of the seas, and provision of humanitarian aid and protection for the displaced populations that the warlike actions of these smaller states may generate. The main challenge will be to deal with such problems as far upstream as possible. This will require mobilizing international involvement and domestic support when the dangers appear neither clear nor direct.
• A third set of problems involves major powers such as China or Russia who may try to intimidate neighbors in territory that they once controlled or currently claim. These are particularly difficult cases as we try to engage Moscow and Beijing in Western political, economic, and security systems.
Given such a diverse array of problems, the main task for policy makers is to build a fabric of deterrence that embodies a sustained commitment to providing an increasing level of security, stability, and order among the peoples of the world. Accomplishing this task requires unprecedented cooperation between both international and domestic political leaders. Most importantly, the American public must be convinced that the United States should remain engaged abroad.
In weaving this fabric of deterrence, policy makers must focus on the following:
• Developing appropriate deterrence capabilities. Policy makers must carefully determine just what combination of deterrence capabilities--the visible and demonstrable power to punish serious violations of the norms of international behavior, deny success to aggression, impose heavy costs and losses on the aggressor--should be created and sustained to provide a high likelihood of deterrence against a wide variety of potential threats and risks.
• Defining unacceptable behavior. We must specify as clearly as possible, in both abstract terms and in specific situations as they develop, what behavior we want to deter. At one end of the spectrum, a nuclear attack on the United States or our allies is clearly unacceptable. The task becomes more difficult as we seek to deter lower levels of violence and less direct threats. In some cases we will need a clear message of which behavior will result in certain punishment. In others, we might decide to express displeasure about certain outcomes but to be ambiguous about the U.S. response, in order to avoid stimulating a reaction and to avoid providing implied openings, by omission, for the party we would deter.
• Communicating U.S. will and intentions with credibility. Some regimes are likely to challenge the United States because they believe we will be unable to build or sustain public or congressional support in the face of mounting or expected casualties, as demonstrated in Vietnam, Somalia, and the arguments about Bosnia. To meet these challenges, the United States must be perceived as willing to pay the costs in lives and resources, and to stay the course with the needed military skill and political stamina. However, leaders cannot determine in advance the threshold that will result in swift and certain U.S. response because each case involves a unique set of circumstances, and any previously announced set of criteria could tacitly permit lower-level violations of human rights and other important international norms. Therefore, effective deterrence must involve a dynamic process in which policies are frequently reviewed to determine whether underlying assumptions remain valid, and the case for U.S. action must continually be made to the American public and Congress. It will be important to have established credibility through previous actions in order to disabuse the potential aggressor of a belief that we would be self-deterred by internal divisions, past expressions of a lack of interest in events that may have appeared similar to the ones in question, logistic limitations, other force commitments, international pressures, and the like.
• Building coalitions. Adding to deterrent effect will be a demonstrated ability to build coalitions, an evident availability of alliance command-and-control organizations, a history of multinational peacekeeping exercises, and a record of gaining mulitilateral participation. Such should be a goal of policy makers.
• Building the foundation for information and understanding. An important task for our national leaders is to prepare in advance the information base needed to deal with crisis situations when they arise, and when deterrence must act. Preparatory steps include:
Understanding the values of potential adversaries. Ultimately, our ability to deter is a function of what inducements or pressure we can bring to bear on specific leaders. Therefore, understanding who has what kinds of influence within a target regime, as well as what they hold dear within their own value systems, is important. Simple categorizations of "moderates" and "hardliners" are not useful and often are misleading. We need to know how best to influence specific persons, and the list of who they are needs to be continuously updated. A task for diplomats, military leaders, and the intelligence community is to become as well