1. Massive Power
2. Retaliation Became Favored
- Light and easily hidden, and finding and destroying is hard. It's also cheaper and easier to defend.
3. Mutually Assured Destruction
- A stable deterrent
4. Balance of Power Becomes Binary
- There is a flat to the curve, beyond a certain point, no returns to increasing scale. The balance of capabilities are absolute, not relative. The outcomes are also driven by a balance of interests.
5. The More You Have, The Safer You Are
- As the number of weapons rises, counterforce gets harder. A smaller number of weapons also gives incentive to use, as opposed to not using. And even if both arsenals are massive and 99% effective, 1% remaining retaliation would still be devastating
6. Defense Dominance Emerges
- As a result of MAD, the status quo of defender states strengthened, while aggressor states were weakened. This is because the defender would have the advantage in guaranteeing MAD against its aggressor. Also increases roles for non-essential states
- Force is a signal of resolve, not as a means to defeat an opponent. By inflicting pain on the opponent, we try to convince them it's not worth it to pursue the policies we object to. It doesn't matter the pain we inflict upon them, but what we will bear. For instance, 50k deaths in Korea was valuable not because we cared about Korea, but because it improved our reputation. We'll bear high costs to pursue our goals
- Relates more to the countervalue doctrine, which says to target a country's valuable assets. This is because you are trying to send a signal, rather than defeat them.
- Force is the means of defeating the opponent. You'll inflict as much damage as possible until they surrender, and there's an emphasis on conquering them.
- Relates more to the counterforce doctrine, which says to target a country's military forces and facilities because with this strategy, you are trying to defeat your opponent's military capabilities.
The Korean War is the beginning of Signal Model thinking in the US, and in this model, force is a signal of resolve, not a means of beating your opponent. We try to convince them that it's not worth their while to pursue the policies that they object to. What matters is the pain we bear, not what we inflict. The tens of thousands of Americans who died were valuable not because we cared about Korea, but because we did improve our reputation around the world, so that we are willing to bear high costs to pursue our goals. Specifically, this helped against the Soviets who saw what the behavior of the U.S. would be towards its vital interests. This was justifiable during the Cold War, when run-ins with the Soviets were almost guaranteed, so we needed a strong reputation
However, this strategy is likely not sustainable today as many elected officials and citizens would see it as problematic. The U.S. has repositioned itself as a nation of retaliatory instead of preemptive force. The U.S. has accepted a position of a preserver of human rights and has shifted from interventionism to semi-isolationist, and we've instead relied more on international institutions and have tried to have leadership there. The signaling method used in Korea would be almost hypocritical today because we have positioned ourselves in a very different leadership role, than we previously have.
- Truman's intervention in Korea was largely done by his own will. The War Powers Act didn't exist, so Congressional approval wasn't given. He was motivated by the UN Security Council's call to repel the North Korean attack on South Korea. The ultimate goal was to prevent communism from spreading in East Asia. South Korea, and likely Japan were the next to see the effects, and Truman wanted to stop that. His decision was largely supported despite the fear that it could provoke further conflict between Russia and the U.S.
- Biden is very hesitant to send troops to Ukraine because it's not in the U.S.'s vital interests. It's not geographically close, not a major trade partner, and has no strong military bases. Biden has other priorities rather than military interventionism. Ukraine isn't a NATO member state, so there is no obligation for the U.S. to act. Ultimately Biden wants to prevent an escalation and war with Russia, but is actually semi-using the signaling method, but instead of military force, it's strong sanctions.
- The Truman Administration's decision was the wiser security policy because it was strong willed in its intentions and was ultimately effective. Truman wanted to improve the U.S. reputation so that they were willing to bear costs to pursue their goals. This set them up for the Cold War where they put themselves in a position to pursue the Soviets from being overly expansionist because they knew the U.S. would have a response. Biden's semi-involvement in the war has proven ineffective and his signaling method has been far less effective than Truman's was. The Alternatives for Truman included not intervening and allowing communism to potentially spread to East Asia. However, a benefit could be that it might've prevented China from joining the war. Alternatives for Biden could be to launch a full scale war, or not get involved at all. Not getting involved at all could weaken the U.S. reputation as an upholder of human rights. Full scale war has the potential for major escalation and loss of life, but would cement the U.S. world reputation.
- Syngman Rhee
- Kim Il-Sung
- Chiang Kai-shek
- NK Citizens: Now live under communist totalitarian rule
- SK Citizens: Now live under capitalist totalitarian rule
- PRC: Issues with Soviet Union with a split in communism, they were prevented from joining the UN for a while, must let Taiwan be
- Soviets: US convinced the world that Stalin was on the march, Germany and Japan were rearmed, everyone's mad at them, the West for starting the war, and the East for not aiding enough, Sino-Soviet tensions worsen
- UK: Tore down labor government and post-war recovery programs
- US: Truman administration in shambles, leads to Vietnam involvement, McCarthyism explodes and thousands lose their jobs
- Ultimate Loser: Soviets
- Ultimate Winner: US - succeeded in preventing the spread of communism, Truman Doctrine proved to be a success, and at the time, so did the principles of NSC 68