Crisis Case Studies: Deterrence in Southern Asia

in on March 23, 2023

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Strategic Learning is an online initiative produced by the Stimson Center’s South Asia Program to sharpen understanding of strategic concepts and coercive dynamics in Southern Asia and beyond. Strategic Learning pursues this mission by making diverse viewpoints accessible via open online courses, nurturing vibrant communities of “strategic learners” on social media, and providing opportunities for students to engage with experts in the field.

As an additional resource accompanying our free online course, Deterrence in Southern Asia, we offer free, downloadable versions of the 13 expert-authored case studies that are featured in the course. These case studies draw from academic literature on deterrence, coercion, and strategic competition to analyze deterrence dynamics in a range of historical conflicts and crises, from the height of the Cold War all the way to more recent India-Pakistan crises. Each crisis case study includes:

  • Extensive original analysis by leading scholars, analysts, and practitioners from India, Pakistan, the United States, and beyond;
  • Strategic Learning’s analysis of cases based on deterrence and coercion theory;
  • Transcripts of the expert video interviews featured in the course; and
  • Knowledge checks and answer keys.

Whether taken all together or studied individually, Deterrence in Southern Asia’s crisis case studies are excellent learning and teaching resources.

Table of Contents (in order of author last name):

  • The Kargil War by Rabia Akhtar
  • The Pathankot and Uri Crises by Arka Biswas
  • The Pulwama/Balakot Crisis by Christopher Clary
  • The Berlin Crises by Anya Loukianova Fink
  • Deterrence in the South China Sea by James R. Holmes
  • The Mumbai Crisis by Sahar Khan
  • The First and Second Taiwan Straits Crisis by Yeh-Chung Lu
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis by Julia Macdonald
  • The Doklam Crisis by Oriana Skylar Mastro and Akriti Vasudeva
  • The Sino-Soviet Border Crisis by Frank O’Donnell
  • The Twin Peaks Crisis by Abhijnan Rej
  • The Sino-Indian Border Crisis by Mahesh Shankar
  • The Third Taiwan Strait Crisis by Ketian Zhang

The Strategic Learning initiative’s online course, Deterrence in Southern Asia, goes beyond the India-Pakistan dyad to study deterrence relationships in the context of a larger strategic chain that includes China and the United States. It covers deterrence theory, deterrence relationships among nuclear-armed states, and case studies from the Cold War and Southern Asia through video interviews with more than 60 leading scholars and practitioners from India, Pakistan, China, the United States, and beyond.

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  • Students will learn to analyze deterrence dynamics in a range of historical conflicts and crises, from the height of the Cold War all the way to more recent India-Pakistan crises.

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