The Strategy of Conflict

The Strategy of Conflict

The Strategy of Conflict

The Strategy of Conflict

Excerpt

This is a series of closely interrelated essays in a field that is variously described as "theory of bargaining," "theory of conflict," or "theory of strategy." Strictly speaking, the subject falls within the theory of games, but within the part of game theory in which the least satisfactory progress has been made, the situations in which there is common interest as well as conflict between adversaries: negotiations, war and threats of war, criminal deterrence, tacit bargaining, extortion. The philosophy of the book is that in the strategy of conflict there are enlightening similarities between, say, maneuvering in limited war and jockeying in a traffic jam, between deterring the Russians and deterring one's own children, or between the modern balance of terror and the ancient institution of hostages.

The analysis is neither difficult nor so dependent on mathematics or analytical apparatus as to be inaccessible to any serious reader. A few chapters call for a rudimentary acquaintance with some concepts from game theory.

The first chapter (in a longer version) was originally presented in early 1959 to a conference on "International Relations in the Mid-twentieth Century," at Northwestern University; although the occasion and the audience were somewhat specialized, the paper represents the motivation and theme of the entire book. Chapters 2 and 3 were originally independent articles on "bargaining." It was evident, after they were written, that they belonged to the same field as the theory of games; an effort to fit them into the framework of game theory, stretching the framework if necessary, resulted in Chapters 4 through 6 and Appendices B and C. Chapters 7 through 10, and Appendix A, are extensions of the same method to particular problems in international strategy.

Appendices B and C will be of interest mainly to readers conversant with bargaining theory or game theory. Appendix A has been treated as an appendix only because its extended preoccupa-

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