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Cross-Domain DeterrenceStrategy in an Era of Complexity$
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Eric Gartzke and Jon R. Lindsay

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190908645

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190908645.001.0001

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Sea Power versus Land Power

Sea Power versus Land Power

Cross-Domain Deterrence in the Peloponnesian War

Chapter:
(p.163) 8 Sea Power versus Land Power
Source:
Cross-Domain Deterrence
Author(s):

Joshua Rovner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190908645.003.0008

The concept of cross-domain deterrence can shed new light on one of the most famous wars in the history of international relations. In ancient Greece, Athens enjoyed unquestioned maritime superiority, and Sparta was the dominant land power. Both sides played to their competitive advantage, but they failed to prevent a war. Yet while cross-domain deterrence failed when both sides wanted it to succeed, it also succeeded when both sides wanted it to fail. Neither side was able to engineer a decisive confrontation in its preferred domain that might have forced the other to capitulate, which resulted in a costly, protracted war. This novel interpretation of a classic case challenges popular characterizations of cross-domain strategic dynamics as rapid and unstable; they can also be slow and stabilizing. Similar cross-domain disparities two millennia later in Asia, for example, have the potential to make any conflict between China and the United States longer, more costly, and less decisive than either side perhaps expects.

Keywords:   sea power, geopolitics, cross-domain deterrence, Peloponnesian War, U.S.-China war

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