Theory of Threat example

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Theory of Threat

In international politics, the concept of threat has many meanings, so it is possible to define it in various ways. Psychologists claim that a threat emerges when a state (or any other object) decides that it is threatened. It means that threat “refers to the anticipation of harm” and “B (object) may be threatened by A regardless of what A is doing”. This approach focuses on the mental framework of the object whereas the theory of game implies that threat is a chess move, which is made by a subject. Baldwin also argues that it is possible to define threat as an attempt to make an object feel threatened. This concept unites psychologists’ and game theorists’ approaches because it takes into account both interpretation and “chess move”. Nevertheless, analysts should distinguish all the methods instead of uniting them because it allows observing a situation from every angle. For instance, Jervis, a scientist who wrote a book “Perception and Misperception in International Politics”, analyzed situations from every mentioned angle, and this allowed him to observe every dimension of threat.

If to divert from strategies and views of subjects and objects and write the concrete definition, it is necessary to interpret a threat more generally. Thus, it is the attempt of influence made of A, which is perceived hostile by B. Sechser shows threat as the tactic which may take many forms and result in a different scenario. Thereby, it is a good explanation because it takes into account strategy, interpretation, both coercive and unintended threats. To sum up, the theory of threat is developed so much that it is possible to link it to strategy, tactic, interpretation, misperceiving, and perception and so on.


Baldwin, D. A. "Thinking about threats." Journal of Conflict Resolution 15, no. 1 (1971): 71-78.

Sechser, Todd S. "Goliath's Curse: Coercive Threats and Asymmetric Power." International Organization 64, no. 04 (2010): …

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