New Article: MacKinney, The Balance of Pain: Terrorism Deterrence in Israel

MacKinney, John. “The Balance of Pain: Terrorism Deterrence in Israel.” Comparative Strategy 34.1 (2015): 1-13.





More than any other modern nation, Israel has combatted, prevented, countered, and deterred terrorist attacks. While the conflict that spawns terrorism did not begin with the founding of modern Israel, its establishment by United Nations resolution in 1948 has certainly become the contemporary trigger point for this ancient antipathy. Israel has attempted different tactical and strategic approaches to halt attacks, including deterrence, but, in contrast to what U.S. strategists might initially suppose from their Cold War experience, Israeli deterrence of terrorism does not fall into either the Kahn or Schelling schools of thought. It has more affinity to risk management, and kinship with deterrence of crime in a civil legal system. Like criminal law enforcement, the expectation of Israeli terror deterrence is not unrealistically zero attacks, but practical management to maintain a certain status quo. Israel, however, appears trapped in an endless cycle of pain with its adversaries, a cycle regulated by unspoken rules. This article evaluates the Israeli experience in terrorism deterrence, and concludes with observations concerning efforts to protect the U.S. homeland.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s