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The utility of military threats as a means to deter international crises and war has been a central topic of international relations research. Rational choice models have provided the foundation for theorizing about the conditions under which conventional deterrence is likely to succeed or fail. Rational deterrence theorists have focused on four sets of variables: the balance of military forces, costly signaling and bargaining behavior, reputations, and interests at stake. Over the past twodoi:10.1146/annurev.polisci.2.1.25 fatcat:ln2esdiolrbv5n4sjv6cxk2ujy