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About This Lesson

Use the following hypothetical simulation from Model Diplomacy to spark discussion and help students to think through what they would do if they were decision-makers.

Learning Goals

  • Students will learn how countries dissuade bad behavior with the threat of significant punishment.

The Situation

Deterrence means discouraging unwanted behavior through the threat of significant punishment. Sometimes the threat of severe consequences is enough to discourage or deter a threat without requiring governments to act. However, to be effective, deterrence requires that a country make credible threats and be capable of carrying them out. In this hypothetical scenario, the United States needs to decide how best to use deterrence to block threats against itself and its allies.


Model Diplomacy is a free simulation program that invites students, educators, and professionals to step into the roles of decision-makers in the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) or UN Security Council (UNSC). Model Diplomacy simulations help students develop critical thinking, persuasive speaking and writing, and collaboration skills, all while giving them hands-on experience grappling with the challenges of our modern, globalized world.

CFR Education is an initiative within the Council on Foreign Relations that aims to make complex foreign policy and international issues accessible for middle, high school, and college students through its educational products: World101, Model Diplomacy, and Convene the Council.


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