What is Brinkmanship?


‘Brinkmanship’ refers to the practice of pushing your opponent to the brink, thereby forcing them to back down from the ongoing conflict. It is a common tactic used in politics, warfare, labour relations, etc.


It is used in labour relations wherein the unions would threaten dire consequences if the employers would not agree to their demands. Similarly, the employers might threaten the workers for organizing unions and this kind of situation can be easily escalated into a brinkmanship tactic.


A commonly cited example of brinkmanship occurred during the Cold War era, where both the US and USSR were engaged in active cold war tactics. Both the countries were announcing plans of developing nuclear technology which could only result in either of the following outcomes, wherein both the counties would be eventually wiped out by nuclear bombs, or, either of them would back out from the arms race, thereby ending the ongoing tensions.

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