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How threat assessments can become self-fulfilling prophecies

Singapore Armed Forces2023
Journals, Magazines
According to the author, the security dilemma is an unfortunate reality, perhaps an enduring feature of the self-help international system. He explains that threat assessments exist in part because of the security dilemma, and these assessments can become self-fulfilling prophecies. This happens because of the limitations in the assessment of capability and political intent of a state, given the lack of information or transparency, the need to make judgments to fill in the informational gaps, biases on the part of the analytics, and misperceptions of words or actions. The impact of these factors on threat assessments influence states to move towards conflict, either due to factors of internal power politics, or they are caught in a spiral of misconceptions with the other party towards seemingly endless counterbalancing. However, the author highlights that it is not in the interest of states nor international relations to see these prophecies become inevitable. Rather, all states should work together towards a peaceful and prosperous global world order, despite the apparent anarchy. He also suggests the improvement of intelligence analysis and reducing misperceptions as ways to break the self-fulfilling cycles.
Singapore, 2023
April 2023
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