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Ellsberg, Theory and Practice of Blackmail

Ellsberg, Theory and Practice of Blackmail

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Published by: Steven Miller on Apr 07, 2012
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THETHEORYANDPRACTICEOFBLACKMAIL
DanielEllsberg
July1968P-3883
 
-iii-
PREFACEInHarch,1959,whileamemberoftheSocietyofFellows,Harvard,IdeliveredaseriesofpubliclecturesinBoston,undertheauspicesoftheLowellInstitute;theselecturesweresubsequentlybroadcastoverWGBH,aneducationalFMstation.Overallsubjectoftheserieswas,"TheArtofCoercion:AStudyofThreatsinEconomicConflictandWar."Thefollowingessaywastheopeninglecture.IhavereprintedthislectureasitwasdeliveredonMarch10,1959,almosttenyearsago.ItwasbeforeIcametoRAND,beforeIworkedongeneraIwar"bargaining,"orworkedoncoldwarsinthePentagon,ortookpartinahotwarinVietnam:muchpainful,butmostlyrelevant,experience.Andalotofrelevanthistoryhashappenedtotheworldsincethen--includingsuccessfulU.S.coercionintheCubanmissilecrisisanddisastrousfailureagainstNorthVietnam.Fortheseandstillotherreasons(I'vethoughtmoreabouttheproblem)Iwouldwritefairlydifferentlyonthissubjectasoftoday:andperhapsIwi11.ThereasonforexhumingthispaperasaPatthistimeisthatitreceivedfairlywidedistributioninthisformeighttotenyearsago,resultinginanumberofcitationsintheliteratureofbargain-ing~theory,resultinginabacklogofrequestsforreprints.Iamhappytofillthem,butwiththeabovecaveat:andtheadditionalonethatthesimpleconceptspresentedhereinevitablylookmuchlessnovelnowthantheydidin1959:inparticular,aftertheappearanceofapplicationsbyGlennSnyderandothers,andmuchindependentworkbyTomSchelling.Schelling's"AnEssayonBargaining,"AmericanEcono~icReview,June1956)wassostimulatingtomyworkhere,andhislaterworkhasbecome
so
widelyfamiliarthatitseemsworthex-plainingthatatthe
ti.me
thiswaswrittenSchellinghadnotpresentedanyformalizationofhispathbreakingnotionsonbargainingandthreats,anditwasamajoraimofmylecturestoaccomplishthis.Alastcaution.Atleastonereaderinferred,andpublishedtheinference,thatIamnotmerelyananalystbutafanofblackmail,forindividualsandgovernments.Hewasmistaken.
 
-1-
THETHEORYANDPRACTICEOFBLACKMAIL
*
anielEllsbergTheRANDCorporation,SantaMonica,CaliforniaYourgeneralstalkofmaintainingyourpositioninBerlinwithforce.Thatisbluff.Ifyousendintanks,theywillburnandmakenomistakeaboutit.Ifyouwantwar,youcanhaveit,butremember,itwillbeyourwar.Ourrocketswillflyautomatically.--NikitaKhrushchev,June23,1959Q:Whatdoyouthinkoftalksuchasthis?THEPRESIDENT:Well,Idon'tthinkanythingaboutitatall.Idon'tbelievethatresponsiblepeopleshouldindulgeinanythingthatcanbeevenremotelyconsideredultimatumsorthreats.Thatisnotthewaytoreachpeacefulsolutions.--PresidentEisenhower,July8,1959Likeitornot,thelanguageofthreatandultimatumistoday--thismonth,thisyear--thelanguageofdiplomacy.Itis,formany,anunfamiliardiscourse.Forthemtheselectures,whosesubjectisthelogicandtherhetoricofthreats,mayprovidesomeguidetocurrentheadlines.AtoneofsomeperplexityseemsclearinthePresident'sclosingcommentsinapressconferenceinthespringof1959,inwhichhehadfacedquestionsonBerlinthathehadheardearlieroverLebanon,Iraq,andQuemoy:Wearelivinginasortof
s
halfworldinsomanythings.Wearenot--wearenotfightingawar,wearenotkillingeachother,wearenotgoingtotheultimatehorror.Ontheothersi.deofthepicture,wearenotlivingthekindofnormal,wha
t
we'dliketoca11anorma1life•Wejustmustn£teverbeindifferenttowhatishappeningintheworldtoday.
....
.
-
•.......
-.
*
Anyviewsexpressedinthispaperarethoseoftheauthor.TheyshouldnotbeinterpretedasreflectingtheviewsofTheRANDCorporationoftheofficialopinionorpolicyofanyofitsgovernmentalorprivateresearchsponsor.
1
NewYorkTimes,March5,1959•

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