Why Wars End: An Expected Utility War Termination Model
Study project rept.,
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
Pagination or Media Count:
Although war termination is an essential part of military strategy, the subject has received relatively little attention. Despite a burst of interest spurred by the U.S. experience in Vietnam, there is no generally accepted theory to explain the process of ending a war. Beginning with a discussion of the ways in which wars have ended, this paper reviews a number of theoretical propositions that have been advanced to explain the conditions necessary for two countries at war to cease hostilities. It views war termination as a rational decision process in which the, participants weigh the potential gains of continuing the war against risks and costs. This general proposition is developed into a detailed expected utility model in which the probabilities and utilities of possible settlements and the costs of continuing the war are the key variables. A variety of other factors such as public support and mobilization potential that have been suggested as being key factors influencing war termination decisions are then examined. It is concluded that the impact of all relevant factors can be reflected through their effect on the three basic variables of probability, utility and cost. The paper concludes by offering some observations of how the expected utility model could be employed as an analytic framework for developing war termination strategies.
- Government and Political Science
- Theoretical Mathematics
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics