Abstract

What are the sources of deterrence stability and under what conditions can weak actors deter stronger adversaries? To deter a superior adversary, the weak actor must convince it that if conflict breaks out, the weak actor would be capable of rendering its opponent's strategic capabilities tactical and its own tactical capabilities strategic. The deterrence relationship that has evolved between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah in the decade since—and as a result of—the 2006 Lebanon War (a.k.a. the Second Lebanon War or the July War) confirms this observation. A comparison of these two actors’ deterrence behavior in the years preceding the war and in its aftermath shows that one of the leading explanations for the ongoing stability along the Israeli-Lebanese border is that Israel and Hezbollah have learned to apply deterrence in a manner that meets the prerequisites of rational deterrence theory.

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