: the inhibition of criminal behavior by fear especially of punishment
Military strategy whereby one power uses the threat of reprisal to preclude an attack from an adversary. The term largely refers to the basic strategy of the nuclear powers and the major alliance systems. The premise is that each nuclear power maintains a high level of instant and overwhelming destructive capability against any aggressor. It relies on two basic conditions: the ability to retaliate after a surprise attack must be perceived as credible, and retaliation must be perceived as a possibility, if not a certainty.