First Gold Essay Topics

Pick one of the topics below. The essay is due at the start of class on Monday, 25 Sep.

  1. Criticize or defend this position: “Successful deterrence depends upon the rationality of the challenger, but in theory and practice, successful deterrence of the challenger often requires that the defender act irrationality. As a result, deterrence cannot be a reliable strategy for achieving security.”

  2. Based on lecture and Freedman's discussion of deterrence and the discussions by Sagan and Snyder, did deterrence fail in 1914? Could any of the major powers have been deterred? That is, what could Germany have done to deter Russia from attacking Austria-Hungary and Germany? What could Britain or France have done to have deterred Germany from attacking France and Belgium?


The essay should be 1200-1300 words (roughly 4 double-spaced pages) in length. Essays must be typed or machine-printed and stapled (no paper clips or folders). Do not use colored paper. Keep a copy of your submitted essay. Use fonts no smaller than 12 points. Use a serifed font, like Times New Roman and not sans serif fonts, like Arial. (While sans serif fonts are easier to read on monitors, they are harder to read, for me at least, on printed paper.) Have a separate title page with 1) your name and 2) your student ID number printed on it. Do not put your name or ID number on the pages of text (I grade “blind”). Text should be double-spaced and have 1-inch margins. Number the pages of text. Put the number of the topic you are answering or the first phrase of the topic at the top of the first page of the essay text so that I know what topic you are answering.