Deterrence with Proxies

DwP case exampleThe United States and its allies are shifting away from direct attacks on terrorists to a posture that projects power by inducing proxies, such as as Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, to control transnational threats emanating from their own territory. Yet proxies typically do not value containing these threats as much as the United States does; so they cheat. Conventional theories of deterrence inadequately address this strategic challenge.

The Deterrence with Proxies team aims to create an overarching framework of dynamic deterrence in proxy relationships that builds on recent progress in understanding dynamic principal-agent relationships. In this framework, the proxy has an informational advantage in suppressing terrorism, and so can do so more cheaply than the principal, but does not share the principal’s objectives.

A robust framework of deterrence with proxies can provide guidance on how to design policy implemented through local allies: specifically, diplomatic, informational, military, and economic efforts that motivate proxies to manage emerging insurgent and terrorist threats. The same approach might apply to other transnational threats from non-state actors, including cyber-threats, drug trafficking, smuggling, and human trafficking.

Activities

Minerva Annual Meeting
September 26–27, 2018
Washington, DC

Office of Naval Research Program Review
June 21–22, 2018
Arlington, VA

Proxy Wars: Managing Difficult Allies in Counter-Insurgency, Counter-Terror, and Counter-Narcotic Struggles
September 19–20, 2016
Washington, DC
Agenda [pdf]
Participants [pdf]

Office of Naval Research Program Review
June 23–24, 2016
Arlington, VA

Proxy’s Political Calculus Case Presentations
June 14, 2016
UC San Diego
Agenda and Participants [pdf]

Deterrence with Proxies Sponsor Review Meeting
May 18, 2016
Arlington, VA
Agenda and Participants [pdf]

Minerva Annual Meeting
September 10–11, 2015
Washington, DC

Proxy’s Calculus Mini-Conference
August 6, 2015
UC San Diego
Agenda [pdf]

Office of Naval Research Program Review
June 18–19, 2015
Arlington, VA

Deterrence with Proxies Sponsor Review Meeting
May 21, 2015
Washington, DC
Agenda [pdf]
Participants [pdf]

Minerva Annual Meeting
September 10–11, 2014
Washington, DC

Deterrence with Proxies Kick-off Meeting
September 9, 2014
Arlington, VA
Agenda [pdf]
Participants [pdf]

People

Publications

Biddle, Stephen, Julia Macdonald, and Ryan Baker. "Small Footprint, Small Payoff: The Military Effectiveness of Security Force Assistance." Journal of Strategic Studies (2017), doi: 10.1080/01402390.2017.1307745.

Biddle, Stephen and Jacob Shapiro. “The Problem with Vows to 'Defeat' the Islamic State.”The Atlantic, August 21, 2016.

Felter, Joseph, and Jacob Shapiro. “Limiting Civilian Casualties as Part of a Winning Strategy: The Case of Courageous Restraint.” American Academy of Arts & Sciences 146:1 (2017), doi: 10.1162/DAED_a_00421.

Lake, David, and Eli Berman. Proxy Wars: Suppressing Transnational Violence through Local Agents. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, forthcoming

Lehne, Jonathan, Jacob N. Shapiro, and Oliver Vanden Eynde. Building Connections: Political Corruption and Road Construction in India. Ideas for India blog, September 13, 2016.

Padró i Miquel, Gerard, and Pierre Yared. “The Political Economy of Indirect Control.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 127 (2012): 947–1015. 

Shapiro, Jacob. "The Flawed Logic of Trump's Executive Order:How Not to Fight Terrorism." Foreign Affairs. January 30, 2017.

Shapiro, Jacob. “How We Can Kill Terrorism with Kindness.” Time, January 5, 2017.

Shapiro, Jacob. “A Predictable Failure: The Political Economy of the Decline of the Islamic State.”CTC Sentinel (September 2016): 2832.

Shapiro, Jacob N., and Caitlin Tulloch. “A Military Guide to Accessing Research on Fragile States.War on the Rocks, June 22, 2016.

Media Mentions

2018

Jul 1, 2018. Lawfare [blog]. "Wars of None: AI, Big Data, and the Future of Insurgency." Small Wars, Big Data by Eli Berman, Joseph Felter, and Jacob Shapiro is reviewed. 

Jun 20, 2018. CNBC.  "Raytheon CEO Says Allies WIll Keep Buying US Defense Systems Despite Trade Disputes." Stephen Biddle quoted.

Jun 7, 2018. New Books Network. "Small Wars, BIg Data: The Information Revolution in Modern Conflict."  Podcast. Interview with Jacob Shapiro. 

Jun 5, 2018. Christian Science Monitor. "Trump Tightens Screws on Trade, Raising Risks for Economy--and Himself."  Stephen Biddle quoted.

May 31, 2018. CNBC. "Trump Tariffs Against Key US Military Allies Could Be a Blow to National Security."  Stephen Biddle quoted.

Apr 16, 2018. WJLN Washington. "After Missile Strikes, What Is the US Policy in Syria?" Stephen Biddle quoted. 

Apr 12, 2018. Boston Herald. "Donald Trump's Threat to Strike Syria Carries Peril." Stephen Biddle quoted. 

Apr 11, 2018. Roll Call. "Obscured by Ryan's Exit, US-Russia Tension Boil." Stephen Biddle quoted. 

2017

Aug 14, 2017. Washington Examiner. "Winning A War Against North Korea Would Come at Great Cost." Stephen Biddle is quoted. 

Aug 13, 2017. Arab News. "Blackwater Boss Resurfaces with $10bn Business Plan for War in Afghanistan." Stephen Biddle quoted. 

Aug 11, 2017. Daily Mail. "Blackwater Founder Resurfaces Selling Afghan Plan."  Stephen Biddle quoted. 

Jan 27, 2017. Science. "Challenges in Researching Terrorism from the Field."  Mentions ESOC project.

2016

Sep 15, 2016. San Diego Union Tribune. US Admiral: ISIS Coming to Pacific,”  Eli Berman quoted.