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In this essay, the author is not attempting to redefine deterrence but to encourage readers to consider the notion of acting before deterrence—through dissuasion. So what constitutes dissuasion and why consider it? The author feels that similar to deterrence, there is no direct answer as each country has its own set of unique security challenges and capabilities. Furthermore, the issue is made more complex as nuclear powers and non-nuclear powers employ different strategies. So, in this essay, the author attempts to: (1) elucidate the limitations of deterrence theory, (2) establish a coherent trend of elements that help define the concept of dissuasion, and (3) adapt them to the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)’s defence policy. He first begins by analysing the limitations of classical (rational) deterrence theory and its modern derivatives in the security landscape of tomorrow. He then explores the interpretations of dissuasion today and how they can be applied. Finally, the author develops what dissuasion as a strategic concept means for Singapore and how the SAF can meld dissuasion into deterrence thinking.

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