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Saber rattling refers to a number of verbal and/or military acts by national leaders directed at other states. Such acts involve verbal threats to use military force, the mobilization or deployment of forces, or any combination of these. Although such acts may precede an attack, the defining feature of saber rattling is that actual violent military force is not used. Saber rattling can be contrasted with quiet diplomacy, in which leaders communicate privately and, thus, do not subject themselves to public opinion at home and abroad. Two broad perspectives characterize the purpose of saber rattling: the effects military threats have on target states and how such threats may influence a leader’s own domestic political situation.

Deterrence and Coercion

Threats to use force are intended to deter or ...

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