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#4 - The theory of military deterrence was based on a simple

Dave Killoran
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Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True. The correct answer choice is (D)

The author makes an argument about the working of military deterrence, a theory where fear of retaliation (on a military level) typically makes other countries hesitate before or stop attacking altogether. Note the conditional idea within this first sentence: fear of retaliation is often sufficient to stop an attack. Based on this idea, the author continues on to conclude ("Clearly, then, ...") that a nation wishing to maintain military deterrence would need to be believed to have a retaliatory power that would-be aggressors could not defend against. Note the pointed use of "believed" in this conclusion; the author is not claiming that a nation needs to have the actual military power, but rather that it needs to project that image or be believed to have that power.

Within the argument, an interesting relationship occurs between military deterrence and retaliatory power. As described in the first sentence, the fear of retaliation often is sufficient to deter an attack:


    Fear of retaliation :arrow: Deter attack/military deterrence

The last sentence then states that if a nation wants to maintain military deterrence, it must be believed to have retaliatory power, which appears as


    Deter attack/military deterrence :arrow: Fear of retaliation

This is basically a Mistaken Reversal but then the question stem does something unusual: it tells you to take the arguments in the stimulus as true. In this case, you should then back off of your critique and take both the premise and the conclusion as true. Thus, the implication is that belief is necessary and somewhat sufficient for military deterrence.


Answer choice (A): This answer states that "certain knowledge" is necessary, whereas the stimulus stated that belief was necessary. This answer choice is thus incorrect.

Answer choice (B): This answer is suspect because it focuses on a nation's "own retaliatory power," and then uses that information to make a judgment about whether that nation will attack. We have no information about this, and it also seems likely to be false given the stimulus. If an aggressor nation believes its retaliatory power is greater than the target nation‘s, why not attack?

Answer choice (C): This answer choice is about belief so it may initially appear attractive. However, it makes a judgment that is unsupported. A nation might fail to attack simply because it is not very aggressive, or has other reasons for not attacking. For example, the United States likely believes itself to to be able to withstand a retaliatory attack from Canada, but at the same time it doesn't attack Canada? Why? Because the two countries are allies of course. Thus, the problem with this answer is revealed: it assumes that every nation is an aggressor and every other nation is a potential victim; that's not how the world works.

Answer choice (D): This is the correct answer choice. You might have been wary of this answer choice, because it discusses a nation's interests while the stimulus did not seem to, but certainly a nation being attacked or not attacked falls under the idea of "national interest."

Viewed in relationship to the conclusion (which establishes requirements for deterrence), the answer addresses the necessary condition here: Deter attack/military deterrence :arrow: Fear of retaliation.

Essentially, if a nation wishes to have a sufficient condition occur, then it should do everything possible to make sure the necessary condition occurs. This doesn't guarantee that the necessary will occur in this specific relationship of course (because that would be a Mistaken Reversal), but it does at least help allow for the possibility that the necessary occurs. And, when analyzed with the premise, it makes even more sense that this would be a logical path to follow base don all that was said in the stimulus.

To use an analogy, the answer choice relates to the conclusion in the following manner:


    Conclusion: To get into Harvard Law School, they must believe you have a high LSAT score.

    (D): It is in the interests of a student that seeks entrance into Harvard and has an unsurpassed LSAT score to let adcomms know about the LSAT score.

A similar analysis can be made of the relationship in the premise but we used the conclusion given the certainty of the relationship.


Answer choice (E): This answer choice is unsupported because it concerns the actual retaliatory power, and then makes the power requirement "greater than that of any other nation." Since the stimulus only suggested that a belief is required there is an issue with the first part of the answer. A further problem is that the relationship in the stimulus was between the relative power of two nations (aggressor and defender), and didn't hinge on having the greatest retaliatory force in the world.
Dave Killoran
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FrannieVargas
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Logical Reasoning Must Be True and Main Point Question Set: I've read the online explanations to #17 but still don't understand why the corresponding correct answer is correct.

#17- Why is D the best answer choice compared to A?

ADDITIONALLY, when I was doing this problem set I found that most of the questions I answered incorrectly were Must Be True Questions where the stimulus was a fact pattern( 6 out of the 8 I got wrong). How can I better equip myself to answer these types of questions? What should I pay attention to? What should I be looking for?

Thank you! I hope to year from you soon.

Loyally,
Frannie Vargas
Nikki Siclunov
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In Question 17, there is no evidence that a would-be aggressor can be deterred from attacking only if it has knowledge that it would be destroyed in retaliation. In the first sentence, the author said that, "fear of retaliation... is often sufficient to deter [a would-be aggressor]." (A), however, implies that such fear is a necessary condition ("only if") for deterrence. The distinction between a sufficient and a necessary condition is examined in detail in Lesson 2.

(D) is correct because a nation needs to be believed to have retaliatory power greater than that of a would-be aggressor in order to maintain military deterrence. In other words, it's in a nation's own interest to let potential aggressors know of its retaliatory power.
==========


Whenever you have a fact pattern to deal with, make sure you fully understand the facts and prephrase a conclusion that a reasonable person would draw based on these facts. In most of these questions, they will test your ability to put the facts together and figure out what can be concluded from them.
Nikki Siclunov
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Steve Stein
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In response to your inquiry about question #17:

Here the author discusses the theory of deterrence: basically, the threat of retaliation can deter aggressors. Thus, the author provides, a nation would have to be believed to have retaliatory power that can't be defended against by the would-be aggressor.

Based on the stimulus, we can infer that nations seeking deterrence would be well-served to make their power known.

Often incorrect answer choices can be ruled out based on the strength of the language used. Incorrect answer choice A says that deterrence works only if the aggressor has certain knowledge that it would be destroyed in retaliation. The author does not assert that certain knowledge is required for deterrence to work--rather, the defending country must merely be believed to have significant retaliatory power.

Let me know if that clears things up--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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myhopemeg
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Hi,

Could someone please explain why the answer is D? I was just not sure about how to approach this question. Is this a conditional question? I tried to draw conditional statements, but I kept getting stuck.

Thanks!
Steve Stein
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Thanks for your question. In that one, the author discusses the theory of deterrence: basically, the threat of retaliation can deter aggressors. Thus, the author provides, a nation would have to be believed to have retaliatory power that can't be defended against by the would-be aggressor.

Based on the stimulus, we can infer that nations seeking deterrence would be well-served to make their power known.

Let me know if that clears things up--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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hanvan
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Hi there,
In the powers score virtual course book, page 1-79, question 17...mentioned :" the theory of military deterrence was based on a psychological truth ..." frankly, I don't understand clearly the term " military deterrence" . Please explain. Thanks!
Nikki Siclunov
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Yes, this is a case where the Test-makers assume that any test-taker would be familiar with the concept of deterrence; consequently, no definition is provided in the stimulus. If you aren't familiar with this concept, it's then quite tough at first to get a quick handle on what they are saying!

From Wikipedia:

The concept of deterrence can be defined as the use of threats by one party to convince another party to refrain from initiating some course of action. A threat serves as a deterrent to the extent that it convinces its target not to carry out the intended action because of the costs and losses that target would incur. In international security, a policy of deterrence generally refers to threats of military retaliation directed by the leaders of one state to the leaders of another in an attempt to prevent the other state from resorting to the threat of use of military force in pursuit of its foreign policy goals.
Nikki Siclunov
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brittany1990
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I have read the online explanation for question #17, but I still don't understand why D is the best answer compared to C.

Thank you,
Brittany
Steve Stein
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In that one, the author discusses the theory of deterrence: basically, the threat of retaliation can deter aggressors. Thus, the author provides, a nation would have to be believed to have retaliatory power that can't be defended against by the would-be aggressor.

Based on the stimulus, we can infer that nations seeking deterrence would be well-served to make their power known.

The problem with answer choice C is that the author does not establish anything about those who fail to attack, or what those non-attacking nations do or do not believe.

Let me know if that clears things up--thanks!

~Steve
Steve Stein
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