(PDF) Alliance Formation and Power Balance mundialir.rochelleterman.com/sites/default/files/walt 1985.pdf2. My use of the terms "balance" and "band" follows that of Kenneth - DOKUMEN.TIPS (2023)

  • Alliance Formation and the Global Balance of Power Author(s): Stephen M. Walt Source: International Security, Vol. 9, no. 4 (Spring 1985), pp. 3-43 Published by: The MIT PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2538540. Access: 10/15/2011 8:33 p.m. M.

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  • Founding of the Stephen M. Walt Alliance and balance sheet of

    world power

    The question "What causes alignment?" is a central issue in debates about American foreign policy, and the decisions that are made generally revolve around what assumptions about alliance formation are supported. while those who consider it robust tend to see US allies as stronger and more reliable than USSR's. These different beliefs collide on a variety of specific issues. For example, should the US increase its commitment to NATO to prevent the growth of Soviet military power from leading to a "Finnization" of Europe? Alternatively, should the United States do less in the expectation that its allies will do more? Should the United States oppose left-wing regimes in the developing world because its internal ideology will lead it to ally with the Soviet Union, or can a policy of accommodation with radical nationalist regimes lead to good relations with them? Can Soviet or American military aid create credible proxies in the Third World? Is the effort and cost worth it? Each of these questions has important implications for US national security policy, and ultimately the answers revolve around which coalition-building scenarios are viewed as the most valid.

    Despite the obvious importance of understanding how states select their partners, academic research on partnerships has ignored or obscured these issues.' This article intends to correct these omissions through outline

    I would like to thank Robert Art, George Breslauer, Lynn Eden, Charles Glaser, Lori Gronich, Fen Hampson, John Mearsheimer, Kenneth Oye, Glenn Snyder, Jack Snyder, Marc Trachtenberg, and Kenneth Waltz for their helpful comments on earlier draft articles.

    Stephen M. Walt is an Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs in the Department of Politics and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

    1. For representative examples of typical academic endeavors, see: Robert Rood and Patrick McGowan, "Alliance Behavior in Balance of Power Systems," American Political Science Review, Vol. 69, No. 3 (Sept. 1975); George T. Duncan and Randolph Siverson, "Flexibility of Choice of Alliance Partners in Multipolar Systems," International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 4 (December 1982); RP Y Li and WR Thompson, "The Stochastic Process of Alliance Formation Behavior," American Political Science Review, Vol. 72, No. 3 (December 1978). more traditional

    International Security, Spring 1985 (Vol. 9, No. 4) 0162-2889/85/040003-41 $02.50/0 C 1985 by the President and members of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


  • International security 1 4

    some of the key hypotheses surrounding coalition formation and exploring the political implications of each. The first section examines the competing statements that states balance against, or alternatively "agree with" strong or threatening states. I will also consider the distinctly different foreign and defense policies implied by each proposal. The second section develops the opposing assumptions that ideological or cultural similarities can unite or divide states. The third section examines states' ability to create allies or proxies for military and economic aid, propaganda, or political penetration. Finally, the final section shows how these hypotheses taken together might explain the current world power structure and suggests what they imply for US national security policy.

    Balancing vs. Bandwagoning: Alliances in Response to Threats

    Alliances are most commonly viewed as a response to threats, but there is a great deal of disagreement as to what that response will look like. By forming an alliance, states can either balance (ally against the main source of danger) or jump on the bandwagon (ally with the state that poses the greatest threat).2 These opposing hypotheses depict very different worlds, and the policies followed by each are equally different . Put more simply, if reconciliation is more common than jumping on the bandwagon, then states are safer because aggressors will face concerted resistance. Therefore, status quo states should avoid provoking counter-coalitions by avoiding threatening foreign and defense policies. But if jumping on the bandwagon is the dominant trend, then safety is in short supply because aggression is rewarded. A fiercely warlike alien

    Works on alliances include: George Liska, Nations in Alliance (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1962) and Robert L. Rothstein, Alliances and Small Powers (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968). Useful summaries of the Alliance literature can be found in: Ole Holsti, P. Terrence Hopmann, and John D. Sullivan, Unity and Disintegration in International Alliances (New York: Wiley-Interscience, 1973), Chapter 1 and Appendix C; Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and J. David Singer, “Alliance, Capabilities, and War,” Yearbook of Political Science, vol. 4 (1974); Philip Burgess and David Moore, "International Alliances: An Inventory and Assessment of Proposals," Political Science Annual, Vol. 3 (1973); and Michael Don Ward, "Research Breps in Alliance Dynamics," International Affairs Monograph Series, Vol. 19, No.1 (Denver: University of Denver, Graduate School of International Studies, 1982). 2. My use of the terms "balance" and "gear" follows that of Kenneth Waltz in his Theory of International Politics (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1979). Arnold Wolfers uses similar terminology in his essay "The Balance of Power in Theory and Practice" in Discord and Collaboration (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1962), pp. 122-124.

  • Forming Alliances | 5

    Politics and a more capable military establishment are the logical policy options.

    While both hypotheses have been tested by scientists and accepted by statisticians, important details have been overlooked. Therefore, I will first present each hypothesis in its simplest (and most common) form, and then indicate how it should be tested. After doing my homework, I will then consider which hypothesis describes the dominant trend in international politics.


    The proposition that states form alliances to avoid domination by stronger powers is central to traditional balance of power theory.3 According to this hypothesis, states form alliances to protect themselves from states or coalitions whose superior resources might pose a threat. States will choose to balance for two main reasons.

    First, states risk their own survival if they fail to stem potential hegemony before it becomes too strong. Allying yourself with the ruling power means trusting in its continued benevolence. The safest strategy is to align with those who cannot easily dominate their allies, to avoid being dominated by those who can.4 As Winston Churchill explained traditional British alliance policy:

    For four hundred years Britain's foreign policy has been to oppose the strongest, most aggressive and most dominant power on the continent. ... it would have been easy ... and tempting to join the fittest and

    3. For impressive reviews of classic writings on power relations see: Edward V. Gulick, Europe's Classical Balance of Power (New York: W.W. Norton, 1955), Part I; FH Hinsley, Power and the Quest for Peace: Theory and Practice in the History of Relations Between States (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), Part I; Inis L. Claude, Power and International Relations (New York: Random House, 1962), Chapters 2 and 3; Robert Osgood and Robert Tucker, Force, Order, and Justice (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1967), p. 96-104 and passim; and Martin Wight, "The Balance of Power," in Martin Wight and Herbert Butterfield, eds., Diplomatic Investigations (London: Allen and Unwin, 1966). For modern versions of the theory, see Waltz, Theory of International Politics, Chapter 6; Morton Kaplan, System and Process in International Politics (New York: John Wiley, 1957); y Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Between Nations, 5th ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978), Part IV. 4. As Vattel wrote several centuries ago: “The surest means of preserving this balance of power would be no state to make the other superior...but this could not be achieved without injustice and violence...it is easier.", simpler and more just...to form alliances to oppose a very powerful sovereign and prevent him from dominating." Cited in Gulick, Europe's Classical Balance of Power, pp. 61-6

  • International security j 6

    Share the fruits of your labor. However, we have always taken the harder route and joined forces with the weaker powers. . . and so he defeated the continental military tyrant, whoever he may have been... 5

    Similarly, Henry Kissinger advocated rapprochement with China rather than the Soviet Union because he believed that in a triangle it was better to side with the weaker.6

    Second, joining the weaker side increases the new member's influence because the weaker side needs more help. Joining the stronger side, on the other hand, reduces the new member's influence (because it contributes relatively less to the coalition) and makes it vulnerable to the whims of its new partners. Alignment with the weaker side is therefore the preferred option.7

    The appeal of balance of power theory as an explanation for the formation of alliances is not surprising given the numerous examples of states uniting to resist a threatening state or coalition. States are more likely to prefer to ally with the stronger power. Who says that jumping on board is the dominant trend in international politics, and why do you think so?


    The belief that states side with the dominant side rather than against it is surprisingly widespread. According to a scholar

    [In international politics] momentum is built for the winners and their movement accelerated. The seeming irreversibility of their achievements weakens one side and further stimulates the other. The trolley picks up those standing on the sidelines.9

    5. Winston S. Churchill, World War II: Volume I, The Gathering Storm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948), pp. 207-208. 6. Henry A. Kissinger, White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979), p. 178. 7. In the words of Kenneth Waltz: “Secondaries, given free choice, migrate to the weaker side because it is the stronger side that threatens them. On the weaker side they are more valued and more secure, provided, of course, that the coalition they join achieves sufficient defensive or deterrent power to deter opponents from attack.” See his Theory of International Politics, p. 127. 8. This subject is explored in Ludwig Dehio, The Precarious Balance (New York: Vintage, 1965), Hinsley, Power and the Quest for Peace, and Gulick, Europe's Classic Balance of Power 9. W. Scott Thompson, "The International Communist System", Orbis, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Winter 1977), p. 843.

  • Forming Alliances | 7

    Scientists are not alone in this view. For example, German admiral Alfred von Tirpitz's famous "risk theory" implied such a view. By building up a large battle fleet, Tirpitz argued, Germany could force or ally with England into neutrality, which would pose a threat to England's vital naval supremacy. John F. Kennedy asserted that "if the United States were to falter, the whole world ... would inevitably move toward the communist bloc". Most states are inclined to subscribe to the claim that "when world leaders...assume that the United States lacked strength or will...in their claim that "if we cannot defend ourselves [in Central America]... then we cannot expect it to prevail elsewhere...our credibility will collapse and our alliances will collapse.”13

    Statements like these reveal a common theme: States are drawn by force. The more powerful you are and the more clearly you demonstrate it, the more likely others are to ally with you. Conversely, a decline in relative position will result in allies opting for neutrality at best, or defecting to the other side at worst.

    What is the logic behind the auto-hypothesis? Two different reasons can be identified. First, you can accept boarding the train as a possibility

    10. See William L. Langer, The Diplomacy of Imperialism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1953), pp. 434-435; and Gordon L. Craig, Germany: 1866-1945 (London: Oxford University Press, 1978), pp. 303-314. This view was not limited to military circles in Germany. In February 1914, Secretary of State Jagow predicted that Britain would remain neutral in the event of a Continental War, echoing the widely held view that had dominated German politics before the First World War. Ambassador in London: "We did not build our fleet in vain and I think the people of England will seriously question whether it will be so easy and safe to play the role of the French guardian angel against us." Cited in Imanuel Geiss, July 1914 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1967), pp. 24-25. 11. Cited in Seyom Brown, The Faces of Power (New York: Columbia University Press, 1968), p. 217. 12. Cited in Committee on International Relations, "The Soviet Union and the Third World: Watershed in Great Power Policy?", U.S. House of Representatives, 97th Congress, 1st Session (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977 ), pp. 157-158. 13. "President Reagan's Address to a Joint Session of Congress on Central America," The New York Times, April 28, 1983, p. A-12. In the same speech, Reagan also said, "If Central America were to fall, what would be the consequences for our position in Asia and Europe and for alliances like NATO... What ally, what friend would then trust us?"

  • International Security | 8th

    Appeasement. By siding with the threatening state or coalition, the bandit can hope to avoid an attack on himself by directing it elsewhere. Second, in war, a state can side with the dominant side to share the spoils of victory. War 1.14 By joining what they felt to be the stronger side, both hoped to make territorial gains by the end of the battle.

    Stalin's decision to side with Hitler in 1939 illustrates both motives well. The Nazi-Soviet pact led to the disintegration of Poland and may have steered Hitler's ambitions west. Thus, Stalin was able to buy time and territory by aligning himself with Hitler.15 In general, however, these two motives for moving are very different. In the first, for defensive reasons, you choose to jump on the bandwagon to maintain your independence in the face of a potential threat. In the second case, a moving state chooses the front for offensive reasons, in order to conquer territory. Regardless of the specific reason, however, follower behavior stands in sharp contrast to the predictions of balance of power theory. Therefore, the two hypotheses offer mutually exclusive explanations for how states will make their alliance decisions.


    Balance and getting on the bandwagon are usually only framed in terms of performance. The balance aligns with the weaker side; Jumping on the bandwagon means choosing the strongest. 16 However, this view is seriously flawed because it ignores the other factors that statesmen will consider when identifying potential threats and possible allies. While performance is an important factor in your calculations, it is not the only one. Rather than allying only in response to power, it is more accurate to say that states ally with or oppose the most powerful.

    14. See Denis Mack Smith, Mussolini (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), pp. 234-235, 246-250; Adam B. Ulam, Expansioni and Coexistence (New York: Praeger, 1972), pp. 394-398; and A.J.P. Taylor, The First World War (New York: Perigee Books, 1980), pp. 88-90, 153. 15. See Ulam, Expansion and Coexistence, pp. 276-277; London: Pelican Books, 1966), pp. 437-443; and Joachim Fest, Hitler (New York: Vintage, 1974), pp. 583-584, 592-593. 16. The outstanding example of a power balance theory that focuses solely on the distribution of capabilities is Waltz, Theory of International Politics, Chapter 6. For examples of theorists who recognize that other factors may be important, see Gulick, Europe's Classical Balance of Power, pp. 25, 45-47, 60-62.

  • Alliance formation I 9

    menacing power. States can, for example, balance out alliances with other strong states if a weaker power is more dangerous for other reasons. Thus, the coalitions that defeated Germany in World War I and World War II were vastly superior in terms of overall resources but united by their shared recognition that German expansionism posed the greatest threat. Factors influencing the level of threat states may pose. As such, I will discuss the implications of: 1) additional performance; 2) proximity; 3) offensive capacity; and 4) offensive intentions.

    EXTRA SERVICE. The greater a state's overall resources (i.e. population, industrial and military capacity, technological capability, etc.), the greater the potential threat it can pose to others. Realizing this, Walter Lippmann and George Kennan set the goal of American grand strategy to prevent a single state from controlling the combined resources of industrial Eurasia and advocated US intervention Dual Alliance :

    Failure to do so would mean Germany's dominance; the submission of France and Russia; The Isolation of Britain. . .and finally Germany would wield all power on the continent.19

    Similarly, Castlereagh's goal of creating a "fair distribution of power in Europe" reveals his own concern about the distribution of overall power, as does Bismarck's assertion that "in a system of five great powers, the goal

    17. During World War I, the alliance of Britain, France and Russia controlled 27.9% of world industrial production, while Germany and Austria together controlled only 19.2%. Over the two alliances, it achieved 51.7 percent, an advantage of more than 2 to 1. During World War II, defense spending by the US, Britain and the Soviet Union exceeded Germany's by about 4.5 to 1. Even accounting for German control of Europe and the need to fight Japan, the Grand Alliance had a huge advantage in terms of latent capabilities. So power considerations were not the sole explanation for these alliances. For these and other statistics on relative power in these two wars, see: Paul M. Kennedy, "The First World War and the International Power System," International Security, vol. 9, no. 1 (Summer 1984), pp. 7-40; and The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery (London: Macmillan, 1983), pp. 309-315. 18. For a summary of these ideas, see John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 25-88. Kennan's own thoughts can be found in Realities of American Foreign Policy (New York: New American Library, 1951), p. 10. Lippmann's still compelling analysis can be found in The Cold War: A Study of U.S. Foreign Policy (New York: HarperBrothers, 1947). 19. Quoted in Bernadotte Schmitt, The Coming of the War in 1914 (New York: Howard Fertig, 1968), vol. 2, p. 115

  • International Security I 10

    it should always be to be in a group of three or more.”20 The absolute power that states can exercise is therefore an important component of the threat they can pose to others.

    However, if power can be a threat, it can also be appreciated. High power stats have the ability to punish enemies or reward friends. Therefore, the aggregate power of another state can be a reason for both balance and belonging.

    NEXT POWER. States will also level up in response to threats from nearby powers. Since the ability to project power diminishes with distance, nearby states pose a greater threat than distant ones.21 For example, the UK Foreign Office explained why Britain was particularly sensitive to German naval expansion, saying:

    If the British press pays more attention to the rise of sea power in Germany than to a similar movement in Brazil. . .this is undoubtedly due to the proximity of the German coasts and the remoteness of Brazil.22

    As with extra power, nearby threats can generate a balance or resistance response. When a nearby threat triggers a Balance Response, the likely result is a checkerboard network of alliances. Students of diplomatic history have long been told that "neighbors are friends of neighbors," and the tendency of besieging states to ally themselves against a central power has been known since Kautilya's writings in the fourth century.23 Examples include: France and Russia. against Wilhelmina Germany; France

    20. Castlereagh's policy is described in Harold Nicolson, The Congress of Vienna (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1946), pp. 205-206. Bismarck's statement is quoted in William L. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 2nd ed. (New York: Random House, 1950), p. 197. 21 See Harvey Starr and Benjamin A. Most, “The Substance and Study of Borders in International Relations Research,” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 20 (1976). For a discussion of the relationship between power and distance, see Kenneth A. Boulding, Conflict and Defense: A General Theory (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1962), pp. 229-230, 245-247. For an interesting practical critique, see Albert Wohlstetter, "Illusions of Distance," Foreign Affairs, vol. 46, no. 2 (Autumn 1968). 22. Quoted in Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism (London: Allen and Unwin, 1980), p. 421. 23. Kautilya's analysis was as follows: “The king who is somewhere immediately on the outskirts of the conqueror's territory is called the enemy. Friend (of the conqueror) ... Facing the conqueror and close to the enemy, the kings began to place themselves as the conqueror's friend, beside him as the enemy's friend and as the last friend. of the conqueror's friend, and then of the foe.” See “Arthasastra” (Political Science), in Paul A. Seabury, ed., Balance of Power (San Francisco: Chandler, 1965), p.8.

  • Alliance formation I 11

    and the "Little Entente" in the 1930s; the Soviet Union and Vietnam against China and Cambodia in the 1970s; the USSR and India against the US and Pakistan today; and the tacit alignment between Iran and Syria against Iraq and its many Arab supporters. Conversely, when a threat from a nearby power leads to a bandit movement, the well-known phenomenon of a "sphere of influence" arises. Small states bordering a great power can be so vulnerable that they choose movement over balance, especially when their powerful neighbor has demonstrated the ability to enforce obedience. Finland, whose name has become synonymous with jumping on the bandwagon, decided to do so only after losing two major wars against the Soviet Union within five years.

    OFFENSIVE POWER. Other things being equal, states with strong offensive capabilities are more likely to evoke an alliance than those that are militarily weak or only defensible.24 Again, the impact of this factor varies. On the one hand, the imminent threat posed by such capabilities can lead states to balance themselves through alliances with others.25 Precisely for this reason, Tirpitz's "risk strategy" backfired. Viewing the German battle fleet as a powerful offensive threat, Britain redoubled its own naval effort while strengthening its ties with France and Russia.26 On the other hand, when offensive power allows for quick conquest, vulnerable states may have little hope of resistance. Balancing can feel reckless as allies may not be able to help quickly enough. This is another reason why "spheres of influence" can form: states bordering on those with great offensive capabilities (and that are far from potential allies) might be forced to move on simply because there aren't any balancing alliances

    24. The best discussions of the implications of attack and defense can be found in: Robert Jervis, “Cooperation Under the Security Dilemma,” World Politics, vol. 30, no. 2 (January 1978); Stephen W. Van Evera, "Causes of War" (PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1984); and George H. Quester, Attack and Defense in the International System (New York: Wiley, 1977). 25. See Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, pp. 3-5; Raymond J. Sontag, European Diplomatic History, 1871-1932 (New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1933), pp. 4-5; Jervis, "Cooperation in the Security Dilemma", p. 189; and Quester, Offense and Defense in the International System, pp. 105-106. 26. As Imanuel Geiss notes: "A German-style agreement with Britain without finding a substantive naval agreement was going full circle." See his German foreign policy (London: Routledge and KeganPaul, 1977), p. 131. See also Kennedy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, pp. 416-423. 27. Thus, when one believes that the offensive has the upper hand, formation of alliances becomes more hectic: great powers will balance more vigorously, while weak states will more often seek protection by jumping on the bandwagon. The likely result is a world of tighter alliances and fewer neutral states.

  • International Security | 12

    OFFENSIVE INTENTIONS. Finally, conditions that appear aggressive tend to make others weigh them up against them. As I have already mentioned, Nazi Germany provoked an overwhelming coalition against itself because it combined considerable power with extremely offensive ambitions. In fact, even conditions with fairly modest abilities can trigger a balance response if they are perceived as particularly aggressive. Thus, Libya, under the command of Colonel Gaddafi, led Egypt, Israel, France, the United States, Chad and Sudan to coordinate political and military responses to defend against Libyan activities.28

    Perceptions of intention play a particularly crucial role in the choice of alliances. In addition to the factors already mentioned, the changed perception of German objectives also contributed to the emergence of the Triple Entente. Although Bismarck had pursued a careful policy of defending the status quo after 1870, the expansionist ambitions of his successors caused growing concern among the other European powers.29 Although the rise of German power played an important role, the importance of German intentions was Germans should not Ignore This is illustrated by Eyre Crowe's famous 1907 memorandum setting out British policy towards Germany. The analysis is all the more impressive as Crowe obviously has little objection to the growth of German power per se:

    It cannot for a moment be questioned that the mere existence and healthy activity of a mighty Germany is an undoubted blessing to all. England can't help but admire it. . . . [As long as] Germany's actions do not go beyond the limits of legitimate protection of existing rights, she can always count on the sympathy and goodwill and even moral support of England. . . . It would be a real advantage if the resolve not to impede the legitimate and peaceful expansion of Germany were expressed so obviously and with the greatest possible authority, provided at the same time care was taken to make it clear that this benevolent attitude would give rise to determined resistance against the first sign that British or Allied interests would be harmed.30

    28. For a discussion of Libya's international position, see Claudia Wright, “Libya and the West: Headlong Into Confrontation?”, International Affairs (London), vol. 58, No. 1 (Winter 1981-1982), pp. 13-41. 29. See Craig, Germany: 1866-1945, pp. 101, 242-247 and chapter 10; Geiß, German Foreign Policy, pp. 66-68; and Kennedy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism, Chapters 14 and 20. 30. Goochand Harold Temperley, ed., British Papers on the Origins of War, 1898-1914 (London: British Foreign Office, 1928), Vol. 3, Pages. 403 and passimn (emphasis added). See also G. W. Monger, The End of Isolation: British Foreign Policy 1900-1907 (London: Thomas Nelson, 1963), pp. 313-315.

  • Forming Alliances | 13

    In short, Britain will only oppose Germany if Germany attempts to expand through conquest. Intentions, not power, are what matters.

    If one state is assumed to be invariably aggressive, others are unlikely to follow suit. Finally, when a bully's intentions cannot be changed, balancing with others is the best way to avoid becoming a victim. Thus the Belgian Prime Minister von Broqueville rejected the German ultimatum of August 2, 1914, saying:

    When we die, we better die with honor. We have no other choice. Our submission would never end. . . if Germany wins, Belgium will be annexed to the Reich regardless of her attitude.31

    In short, the more aggressive or expansionary a state is, the more likely it is to unleash an opposition coalition.

    By refining the baseline assumptions to account for different threat sources, we get a more complete picture of the factors that statesmen will consider when choosing alliances. However, it is not possible to say a priori which threat sources will be the most important in individual cases, only that they are all likely to play a role. .


    The two hypotheses I have just developed paint sharply contrasting pictures of international politics. Clarifying the question of which picture is more accurate is particularly important, as the two hypotheses imply very different policy assumptions. Which worlds do they each describe and which politics are implied?

    When balance is the dominant trend, threatening conditions will prompt others to unite against them. Because those who attempt to dominate others will face widespread opposition, status quo states can take a relatively rosy view of the threats. Credibility matters less in a balanced world because allies will resist threatening states out of self-interest, not because they expect others to do it for them. Thus, the fear of defecting allies is reduced. In addition, when balance is the norm and statesmen understand this tendency, aggression is discouraged because those who consider it expect resistance.

    31. Quoted in Luigi Albertini, The Origins of the War in 1914 (London: Oxford University Press, 1952), Vol. 3, p. 458 (emphasis added).

  • International Security | 14

    In a balanced world, policies that demonstrate moderation and benevolence are best. Strong states can be valued as allies because they have much to offer their partners, but they must be extra careful not to appear aggressive. Foreign and defense policies that minimize the threat one poses to others make the most sense in this world.

    On the other hand, a world in motion is much more competitive. When states tend to ally themselves with the strongest and most menacing state, great powers are rewarded for appearing strong and potentially dangerous. International rivalries intensify as a single defeat can signal the downfall of one side and the rise of the other. This is particularly alarming in a changing world, with more exits and a further decline in the underdog position to be expected. Furthermore, if statesmen believe that jumping on board is widespread, they will be more inclined to use force to settle international disputes. This is because they fear the gains that others might gain by demonstrating their power or determination, and because they assume that others are unlikely to weigh them against them.32

    Finally, it is dangerous to misjudge relative propensity to balance or move, since actions that are appropriate in one situation are counterproductive in another. When statesmen follow the recipe for balance in a world on the move, their measured responses and careless view of threats will encourage their allies to defect, leaving them isolated against an overwhelming coalition. On the other hand, following the movement recipe (frequent use of power and threats) in a world of balancers will only result in others opposing it more and more vigorously.33

    These concerns are not just theoretical. In the 1930s, France failed to realize that its allies in the “Little Entente” were ready to jump on the bandwagon, a

    32. Thus both Napoleon and Hitler underestimated the cost of aggression by assuming that their potential enemies would acquiesce. After Munich, for example, Hitler dismissed the possibility of opposition, saying the leaders of France and Britain were "little worms." Apparently Napoleon believed that "Unassisted England cannot reasonably make war against us" and assumed that England would remain at peace after the Peace of Amiens. See Fest, Hitler, pp. 594-595; Liska, Nations in the Alliance, p. four five; and Geoffrey Bruun, Europe and the French Empire (New York: HarperTorchbooks, 1938), p. 118. Because Hitler and Napoleon believed in a world in motion, they were ruthlessly intent on going to war. 33. This situation is analogous to Robert Jervis' distinction between the spiral model and the deterrent model. The first calls for appeasement, the second for resistance against a suspected attacker. Balancing and jumping on the bandwagon are the Alliance's equivalents of deterrence and appeasement. See Jervis, Perception and Misperception in International Politics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), Chapter 3.

  • Forming Alliances | fifteen

    a trend reinforced by French military and diplomatic policies. In contrast, Soviet attempts to intimidate Turkey after World War II failed, leading to further US involvement in the region and cementing Turkey's interest in a formal alliance with the West. - the perception, prevailing in both countries, that jumping on board is the dominant trend in international affairs.


    Which of these two worlds is closer to reality? Which hypothesis describes the dominant trend in international politics? Although statesmen often justify their actions with the train-wagon hypothesis, history provides little evidence for this claim. In contrast, since Ranke, balance of power theorists have consistently and convincingly shown that states faced with an external threat prefer to weigh against the threat rather than accept it. This is mainly because an orientation that preserves a large part of a state's freedom of action is preferable to subordination to a hegemonic power. Because intentions can change and perceptions are unreliable, balancing potential threats is safer than expecting strong states to remain benevolent.

    The overwhelming tendency of states to balance rather than chariot defeated the hegemonic aspirations of Spain under Philip II, France under Louis XIV and Napoleon, and Germany under Wilhelm II and Hitler. While the follower hypothesis predicts that these potential hegemonic powers should have found more and more support as they expanded, the actual response of those in power to those they threatened was exactly the opposite. The more clearly one state tried to dominate the others, the more reliably the others banded together to combat the threat.35

    34. The French attempt to contain Germany after World War I was undermined both by the Locarno Treaty (which secured France's border with Germany but provided no similar guarantees for its allies) and by the French adoption of a military doctrine of defense, which made it difficult for him to come to the aid of his allies. See Telford Taylor, Munich: The Price of Peace (New York: Vintage, 1980), pp. 111-112; and Richard D. Challener, The French Theory of the Nation in Arms (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969), pp. 264-265. For the impact of Soviet pressure on Turkey see: George Lenczowski, The Middle East in World Affairs (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1980), pp. 134-138; and Bruce R. Kuniholm, The Origins of the Cold War in the Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), pp. 355-378. 35. See Jack S. Levy, "Theories of General War", unpublished manuscript, 1984. (A much revised version of this article appears in World Politics, April 1985.)

  • International Security | sixteen

    This trend is not limited to Europe either, as some examples will make clear. The American defeat in Indochina, rather than prompting a move in Southeast Asia, prompted renewed cooperation among ASEAN countries and reignited traditional China-Vietnam hostility. In the 1950s, the long-standing rivalry between the House of Saud in Saudi Arabia and the Hashemite dynasties of Iraq and Jordan gave way to the "royal alliance" as Nasser's Egypt rose to become the dominant power in the region. The desire to balance regional threats also inspired most Middle Eastern states to ally themselves with one superpower or another, just as the rivalry between the superpowers themselves made the Soviet Union and the United States poised to support those superpowers for regional clients .36 Likewise, the threat from revolutionary Iran prompted the formation of the Gulf Cooperation Council headed by Saudi Arabia. Regardless of what one thinks of the effectiveness of these different arrangements, the trend they illustrate is striking.37 Even in very different contexts, the strong tendency for states to exercise discretion in choosing alliances is confirmed.

    Academics or statisticians who hold the opposite view, whether under the guise of "Finnization," "dominoes," or other variations of follower logic, place themselves in direct opposition to the most widely held theory in the field of international relations. . Just as clearly, his predictions about expected government behavior contradict most of international history. The implications of this disregard for evidence are clear: 1) Such views exaggerate US insecurity by portraying US allies as highly vulnerable to defection; 2) they distort US security priorities by inflating the perceived benefits of large military forces and "hard" politics; and 3) make it easier for allies to "piggyback" by encouraging the US to do too much. Thus, the United States pays a heavy price for not recognizing the dominant tendency towards equilibrium in the other. Indeed, the misguided fear that fellow travelers were likely to emerge was the key intellectual error underlying the most self-defeating excesses of postwar American foreign policy.

    That's not to say that jumping on the bandwagon never happens. Three conditions can slightly increase the general reluctance of states to join. First,

    36. For evidence and analysis on this point, see Stephen M. Walt, 'The Origins of Alliances' (PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1983), especially Chapter 6. 37. See MahnazZehra Ispahani, 'Alone Together: Regional Security Arrangements in South Africa and the Persian Gulf", International Security, Vol. 8, No. 4 (Spring 1984), pp. 152-175.

  • Forming Alliances | 17

    Particularly weak states are more likely to join, both because they are more vulnerable to pressure and because the capabilities they can add to either side are unlikely to make much of a difference. Since they can hardly influence the outcome, they tend to be on the winning side.38 King Leopold of Belgium and Urho Kekkonen of Finland justified their own alliance policy by pointing out the particular vulnerability of small border states to the Great Forces. .39 Another implication is that weak states can balance themselves against other weak states, but are relatively more likely to combine when faced with a great power.

    Second, weak states are more likely to join when allies are simply unavailable. Even weak states can be persuaded to compensate if they are dependent on the support of allies; in their absence, however, conforming to the menacing power may be the only viable alternative. Therefore, another prerequisite for effective compensatory behavior is an active diplomatic communications system that allows potential allies to identify their common interests and coordinate their responses. . Thus, the first Shah of Iran interpreted the British withdrawal from Kandahar in 1881 as a signal to move forward with Russia. As he told the British representative, all he got from Britain was “good advice and nice talks, nothing more.”41 Finland's foreign policy suggests the same lesson. Finland's alliance with the Soviet Union after World War II was encouraged by the fact that Finland was in balance

    38. See Rothstein, Alliances and Small Powers, p. 11. 39. As King Leopold explained Belgian neutrality after World War I, “an alliance, even a purely defensive one, does not lead to the object [of security], prompt as an ally's aid may be, it will not come until after the attack of the invader, which will be overwhelming...' Quoted in Rothstein, Allianzen und Klein Mechten, pp. 111-112 Kekkonen of Finland advocated a settlement with the USSR, saying: 'A small state cannot last forever to the teeth remain armed...the first to be ambushed by the enemy, and lacking the political importance to make sense of his word when making decisions about war and peace..." See UrhoKekkonen, A President's View, trans Gregory Coogan (London: Heinemann, 1982), pp. 42 and 43. 40. One of the reasons for Rome's continued hegemony in antiquity was the fact that its various opponents lacked the diplomatic means to effectively oppose Rome to coordinate (see Edward N. Luttwak, Th and Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire). (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), pp. 192, 199-200. As a viable diplomatic system was established in the Renaissance, the prospects for European hegemony declined sharply. See Gulick, Europe's Classical Balance of Power, p. sixteen; Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society (New York: Columbia University Press, 1977), p. 106 and chapter 7; Garrett Mattingly, Renaissance Diplomacy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971), chapters 13-16; and Harold Nicolson, Diplomacy (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), Chapter 1. 41. Cited in C.J. Lowe, The Reluctant Imperialists (New York: Macmillan, 1967), p. 85.

  • International Security 1 18th

    The alliance with Nazi Germany during the war had alienated potential allies it could have sought against Soviet pressure.42

    That means worrying about credibility isn't entirely misplaced. Proponents of US isolation ignore the possibility that weak states will be forced to join other powers if the prospect of US support is completely removed. However, the opposite misconception is more common: the exaggerated fear that jumping on board might lead the US to squander resources on strategically irrelevant conflicts (e.g., Vietnam) to placate allies who are likely to remain loyal anyway.

    Together, these two factors help explain why great powers can occasionally create spheres of influence. Although strong neighbors balance each other out, small, weak states close to a major power are the most likely candidates. Because they will be the first victims of an attack, because potential allies are few or far between, and because they are unable to survive on their own or significantly upset the balance, it can sometimes make more sense to accommodate a neighboring major power.

    However, such circumstances are rare; and such alliances will erode as the disparities that produced them erode.43 Moreover, even if weak states occasionally adopt them, their decisions will have little impact on the global balance of power. For states that matter, balance is the rule: they will unite against the threats of power, proximity, offensive capability, and the intentions of others.

    Of course, statisticians don't live from threat assessments alone. It is therefore necessary to consider another influential hypothesis: that ideological solidarity is a powerful force for alignment.

    "Birds of a Feather Gathering" (and Flying Separately): Ideology and Alliance Formation

    "Ideological solidarity" (to use Hans Morgenthau's term) refers to alliances formed between states that share political, cultural, or other characteristics. In accordance with

    42. See Fred Singleton, "The Myth of Finlandization", International Affairs (London), vol. 57, No. 2 (Spring 1981), especially pp. 276-278. Singleton points out that the Western Allies approved the 1944 armistice between Finland and the USSR (which established Soviet dominance there) in 1947. 43. This appears to be true in both Latin America and Eastern Europe. As the relative power of the two superpowers decreased, so did the ability of states in their respective spheres to

  • Alliance formation I 19

    For this hypothesis, the more similar two or more states are, the more likely it is that they will form an alliance. While most scholars believe that this is at best a secondary explanation for alliances,44 the belief that ideological affinities are crucial often crops up in the rhetoric of statesmen who seek to justify siding with a side or to oppose the other. This is how Samora Machel from Mozambique explained her close relationship with the USSR and described the two states as "natural socialist allies". natural affinity of democracies. In a statement that also reveals the belief that weak states will unite, Palmerston said:

    Our policy now should be to form a western confederation of free states to counterbalance the eastern league of arbitrary governments. England, France, Spain and Portugal. . . they will form a political and moral force in Europe... We will be ahead, they in decline, and all the smaller planets of Europe will have a natural tendency to draw towards our system.46

    More recently, John Foster Dulles justified US support for Chiang Kai-shek and Synghman Rhee by claiming that these leaders were "Christian gentlemen... who suffered for their faith." The allies "rediscovered their democratic values," values ​​that "unite us with our allies and friends in an administration of peace and liberty."

    rise of hegemonic power. Obviously, this trend is more pronounced in the western hemisphere than in eastern Europe because geography makes it easier for the Soviets to exercise control. 44. For scholarly discussions questioning the importance of ideology in forming alliances, see: Edwin Fedder, “The Concept of Alliance,” International Studies Quarterly, vol. 12 (1968), p. 86; Morgenthau, Politics Between Nations, pp. 183-184; Ernst B. Haas and Allen Whiting, Dynamics of International Relations (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956), pp. 167-168; Robert E. Osgood, Alliances and American Foreign Policy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1968), p. twenty; and Harold Guetzkow, "Isolation and Collaboration: A Partial Theory of International Relations", Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 1, no. 1 (1957), p. 158. 45. Cited in Committee on International Relations, The Soviet Union and the Third World, pp. 46-48. Under pressure from South Africa, Samora has recently softened his pro-Soviet stance. 46. ​​Quoted in Charles K. Webster, The Foreign Policy of Palmerston (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1951), vol. 1, p. 390. 47. Cited in Townsend Hoopes, The Devil and John Foster Dulles (Boston: Little, Brown, 1973), pp. 77-78. 48. “State of the Union Message,” The New York Times, January 26, 1983.

  • International Security | twenty

    the belief that such regimes were inherently inclined to align themselves with the Soviet Union because they shared similar ideological traits.49

    What is the logic behind such beliefs? Several possibilities can be identified. First, siding with similar states can be seen as a way of defending one's political principles. Because if statesmen believe that their own system is inherently good, then the protection of states with a similar system must also be considered good. Second, states with similar characteristics may be less afraid of each other because they find it harder to imagine that an inherently "good" state would decide to attack them. Third, alignment with similar states can increase the legitimacy of a weak regime by showing that it is part of a broader popular movement.50 Fourth, ideology itself can dictate alignment, as Marxism-Leninism explicitly does.51

    Besides the logic, there are many examples that support this hypothesis. Australia fought Germany in both world wars, although Germany posed no direct threat to it. According to one account, the colonies' allegiance to Britain was "not all to one, but all to the British ideal and way of life, wherever found". The defeat of Napoleon and Bismarck's "Dreikaiserbund" united similar states against alternative systems, although considerations of power and security also played a role. , which sharply divided Europe along ideological lines (despite major divisions within the two coalitions).54

    49. See Richard Barnet, Intervention and Revolution (New York: Meridien, 1968); Richard E. Feinberg and Kenneth A. Oye, “After the Fall: US Policy Toward Radical Regimes,” World Policy Journal, vol. 1, No. 1 (Fall 1983); and Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, pp. 96, 136-144, 175-182, 284-288. 50. See Liska, Nations in Alliance, p. 37. 51. For a discussion of the centralizing character of Marxism-Leninism and a general history of the world communist movement, see Richard Lowenthal, World Communism: The Disintegration of a Secular Faith (New York : Oxford University Press, 1964). 52. See James A. Williamson, Great Britain and the Commonwealth (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1965), pp. 180-181. 53. The "Holy Alliance" began with a declaration by the most important European rulers not to use violence against one another. By 1820 England had retreated on the question of intervention against liberal movements, leaving Austria-Hungary, Russia and Prussia in an alliance against the threat of liberal revolution. See Nicolson, The Congress of Vienna, pp. 242-243, 245-251 and Chapter 16. On the Bund of the Three Emperors, see Geiß, Deutsche Außenpolitik, pp. 242-243, 245-251. 29-30; and Craig, Germany: 1866-1945, pp. 103-104. 54 See Webster, The Foreign Policy of Palmerston, vol. 1, pp. 386-410; and Hinsley, Power and the Quest for Peace, pp. 215-217.

  • Forming Alliances | twenty-one

    Two questions remain. First, we must consider an alternative hypothesis: that certain ideological types encourage conflict between like states rather than cooperation. Second, we must ask what role ideology plays in coalition formation and what factors increase or decrease its importance.


    While a shared ideology can help create effective alliances, certain types of ideologies lead to conflict rather than cooperation between adherents. When ideology requires members to form a centralized, hierarchical movement under a single authoritative leadership, the likelihood of conflict increases. This somewhat paradoxical result occurs for several reasons.

    First, because ideology is a source of legitimacy for any member regime, each must at least assert its universal validity. But if ideology calls for a single leader, all regimes except the one that emerges at the top will find their autonomy threatened by other members of the same movement.55

    Second, since the leadership's authority rests on its interpretation of the shared ideology, ideological clashes are very likely. They also tend to be intense because rival factions can defend their own interpretation simply by portraying the rivals as traitors or heretics.

    The history of international communism provides a striking example of this dynamic. According to an authoritative Soviet source, "Ideological cohesion based on Marxism-Leninism is the basis of [communist] international cohesion". Moscow supports. As self-sufficient communist states emerged, the undisputed role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union became a thing of the past.57 Since World War II

    55. Richard Lowenthal, „Drive Factors and Conflict Factors“, The Annals, Vol. 55, No. 349 (1963), p. 107; Rothstein, Bündnisse und Kleinmächte, S. 178; Liska, Nations in Alliance, S. 170-171; und Fedder, "The Alliance Concept", p. 83. 56. V. V. Zagladin, The World Communist Movement: Outline of Strategy and Tactics (Moskau: Progress Publishers, 1973), p. 465. 57. Siehe Lowenthal, World Communism, S. 234–235, 247–252, 256; Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Soviet Bloc: Unity and Conflict (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1967), S. 51-58; und Franz Borkenau, World Communism: A History of the Communist International (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1971), S. 196-207.

  • International Security | 22

    Rivalries between communist states are among the most virulent disputes in the world. The "natural" cohesion of the movement was secured only in Eastern Europe, and there only by force.

    The history of pan-Arabism offers an even more striking illustration. Despite many attempts to translate the shared ethnic character and ideological vision of the Arab world into viable political cohesion, the ideology of pan-Arabism has repeatedly fueled rivalries.58 And the more serious the commitment to unity, the more intense it is. The conflict. Thus, the most bitter rivalries in the Arab world have been between Nasser (the leading pan-Arab figure) and the transnational, explicitly pan-Arab Ba'ath Party. a schism that continues to this day.59

    The explanation for these rivalries lies in the contradictory premises of pan-Arab ideology. While support for Arab unity was an important part of the regime's legitimacy after 1955,60 the realization of the ideal threatened the very existence of each regime. If unity were achieved, all elites would be wiped out except the one that emerges at the top. The various attempts at formal unification soon turned into power struggles, in which ideologies were used to justify extreme measures against rivals.61 As one Ba'athist explained: “The collapse [of the United Arab Republic] ... of the hegemonic Egyptian vision of unity.”62 Nasser himself seemed to recognize the fundamental contradiction after the split:

    58. For analyzes of the various divergences among the Arabs, see: Malcolm Kerr, The Arab Cold War: Gamal 'Abdel Nasser and His Rivals (London: Oxford University Press, 1971); Nadav Safran, "Arab Politics: Peace and War," Orbis, vol. 18, No. 2 (Summer 1974); and From War to War (New York: Dial Press, 1969), Chapter 2; and Walt, “The Origins of Alliances,” Chapter 7. 59. For discussions of the split within the Baath Party, see: John F. Devlin, The Baath Party (Stanford, California: Hoover Institute Press, 1968). ) , pp. 313-315; and Itamar Rabinovich, Syria Under the Ba'ath, 1963-1966: The Army-Party Symbiosis (New York: Halsted Press, 1974), pp. 207-208. 60. For a discussion of the role of pan-Arabism in the legitimacy formula of Arab regimes, see Michael Hudson, ArabPolitics: The Search for Legitimacy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), chapter 2 and p. 242. 61. As the Egyptian National Charter states: “Egypt is destined to spread its mission and make the principles on which it is based available to all Arabs, regardless of the hackneyed notion that it is thereby interfering in the lives of other people. Affairs. Quoted in Adeed Dawisha, Egypt in the Arab World (London: Macmillan, 1976), p. 35. "To spread its mission" included military intervention in Yemen's civil war, assassination attempts on other Arab leaders, support for Nasserist groups in other countries. and continued propaganda on Radio Cairo 62. Quoted in Robert Stephens, Nasser: A Political Biography (London: Allen Lane/The Penguin Press, 1971), 343. Emphasis added.

  • Forming Alliances | 23

    Today the concept of unity is in crisis... This kind of variety of nationalist activities seems to lead us to clashes... While every Arab country has a [revolutionary] party. . . Union seems utterly impossible. Genuine political opposition would produce regionalism, with Syria at odds with Egypt, Iraq at odds with Syria, and so on.63

    In contrast, Anwar Sadat's success in achieving effective Arab cooperation between 1971 and 1975 was also due to his lack of format to lead a unitary movement and his belief that effective alliances were more important to Egypt than formalities.f4

    Significantly, these problems do not affect democracies or monarchies when allied with a similar state. Both types of states rest on bases of legitimacy that do not extend beyond their borders. For democracies, it is popular support expressed through elections. For monarchies, it is the traditional or "divine" right of kings. Since the guiding principles of a monarchical or democratic regime grant legitimacy over its own domain but do not imply such authority over the domain of others, alliances between monarchies or between democracies are not torn by ideological conflict. Moreover, their interest in working together against alternative ideologies that threaten their legitimacy provides an additional incentive to ally.65 It is not surprising, then, that the monarchies of Jordan and Saudi Arabia joined forces to advance Nasser's Egypt or Russia To protect Prussia and Austria-Hungary allied against the liberal movements in the 1820s.66 And like Michael

    63. Gamal 'Abdel Nasser, “Speech on the 11th Anniversary of the July 23 Revolution,” Arab Political Papers 1963 (Beirut: American University of Beirut, 1964), p. 333 and Passim. 64. For Sadat's helpful insights and analysis, see: Raphael Israel, ed., The Public Diary of President Sadat (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1978), vol. 1, pp. 369, 403; Kerr, Arab Cold War, p. 129; Hudson, Arab Politics, pp. 248-249; Mohamed Heikal, "Egyptian Foreign Policy", Foreign Affairs, vol. 56, No. 4 (July 1978), p. 720, and The Road to Ramadan (New York: Quadrangle Books, 1975), pp. 133-134; Raymond J. Baker, Egypt's Uncertain Revolution under Nasser and Sadat (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978), p. 126; and Fouad Ajami, "The End of Pan-Arabism", Foreign Affairs, Vol. 47, No. 2 (Winter 1978-79), pp. 360-373. 65. Of course, liberalism can pose a threat to monarchical systems. We would therefore not expect monarchies and democracies to cooperate on the basis of ideological solidarity, except against regimes that both find even more repugnant or dangerous. 66. For a discussion of the Saudi-Jordanian alliance see: David Holden and Richard Johns, The House of Saud (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1981), pp. 194-195; Lenczowski, The Middle East in World Affairs, p. 288; and "Chronology", Middle East Journal, Vol. 17, No. 1 (1963), p. 117. For the Holy Covenant in the 1820s, see William L. Langer, Political and Social Upheaval: 1832-1852 (New York: HarperTorchbooks, 1969), pp. 290-295; and Walter Alison Philips, The Confederation of Europe (London: Longmans, Green, 1920), pp. 202-203, 208-209 and passim. This is just a variation on the general tendency of states to weigh themselves against significant threats.

  • International security 124

    Doyle suggests the exceptional absence of war between Democratic or Republican regimes that their internal arrangements also help reduce conflict between them.67


    Is ideological solidarity an important reason for alliances? Under what conditions does it play a more or less important role? These questions are difficult because ideology is only one factor among many. However, some conclusions can be drawn with confidence.

    First, states are more likely to follow their ideological preferences when they are reasonably sure. When faced with great danger, the person takes as many allies as he can. Winston Churchill summed this up in his famous statement that "if Hitler has marched into hell, he should at least make a benevolent reference to the devil in the House of Commons," a view shared by Franklin D. Roosevelt.68 These reactions can to be compared with earlier British and American policies . In the 1920s, Germany's weakness allowed Britain, France, and the United States to treat the Soviet Union with contempt, a dislike largely ideologically based and echoed by the Soviets. It was only when Nazi Germany posed a significant threat that these ideological preferences lost their force.69 In other words, security considerations take precedence over ideological preferences, and ideologically based alliances are unlikely to survive if larger interests stand in the way.

    There are several interesting implications from this conclusion. In particular, those factors that tend to make states more secure should increase the importance of ideological considerations in alliance decisions. If Kenneth Waltz is right that bipolar worlds are the most stable, then the influence of ideology can increase because all states are safer. Bipolar rivalry will not only encourage both superpowers to freely support third parties (and allow third parties to choose the ideologically compatible side), but the caution bipolarity imposes on superpower behavior may allow most other states to express ideological preferences instead of following security. Criteria.

    67. Michael Doyle, „Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs“, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 67, No. 17, Nr. 3 und 4 (Sommer/Herbst 1983). 68. Winston S. Churchill, World War II: Volume III, The Grand Alliance (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1950), S. 370. 69. Siehe John Lewis Gaddis, Russia, the Soviet Union, and the United States: An Interpretive History (New York: John Wiley, 1978), Kapitel 4 und 5.

  • Forming Alliances | 25

    Requirements.70 Bipolarity can also be a valid cause of neutralism, as third parties have more confidence that the superpowers are mutually exclusive and that at least one of them will be available when a key ally is needed. Thus, in proclaiming Cambodia's neutrality, Prince Sihuanouk also declared that "in the event of a Viet Minh invasion, we shall have the assistance... of the United States."

    In addition, other factors that make defense easier and conquest more difficult should make ideological considerations more important. .72 Similarly, the existence of nuclear weapons, by preventing war between the great powers, might make ideology a little more important today than ever. Because nuclear weapons make it more difficult for major powers to threaten weaker states (and give them incentives to moderate the behavior of others as well), third parties require less formal alliances and may pay more attention to ideological factors when selecting investment partners. As Nasser noted in rejecting US bids to join the Baghdad Pact, “There would be no [Soviet] aggression… for the simple reason that… nuclear weapons changed the entire art of war and made any foreign aggression a long shot. " ." . "73

    A second conclusion is that the apparent importance of ideology may be exaggerated by statesmen's perceptions and the resulting policies. If statesmen believe that ideology determines international alignments, they will see like states as potential friends and dissimilar ones.

    70. See Kenneth N. Waltz, “The Stability of a Bipolar World,” Daedalus, vol. 93, No. 3 (Summer 1964); and Theory of International Politics, Chapter 8; Glenn Snyder and Paul Diesing, Conflict Among Nations: Bargaining, System Structure, and Decision Making in International Crises (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977), pp. 419-429; and Herbert Dinerstein, "The Transformation of Alliance Systems," American Political Science Review, vol. 59, no. 3 (1965), p. 596. 71. Cited in Rothstein, Alliances and SmallPowers, p. 247. Gamal Nasser expressed a similar view when he said that "Egypt's great strength lies in the rival interests of the United States and Russia in the Middle East...each of the superpowers will protect it from the other." Quoted in Anthony Nutting, Nasser ( London: Constable, 1972), p. 271. 72. See: Osgood and Tucker, Force, Order, and Justice, pp. 271. 72. 52-53, 78-81; Quester, Offense and Defense in the International System, pp. 73-76; Robert Jervis, “Security Regimes,” in Stephen Krasner, ed., International Regimes (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983), pp. 178-184; and Stanislav Andreski, Military Organization and Society (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), pp. 68-69. 73. Cited in Patrick Seale, The Struggle for Syria: A Study of Post-War Arab Politics 1945-1958 (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), p. 188.

  • International security 26

    as potential enemies. Responding positively to the former and harshly to the latter will foster good relations with one and cause others to unite more strongly in opposition. In this way, the hypothesis becomes self-fulfilling and the result is used to prove that the original belief was correct. Thus, American belief in a communist “monolith” prompted US behavior that could have held the alliance of the Soviet Union and other leftist forces much more together than it otherwise would have been. The importance of ideology in setting Cold War directions may be less the result of "natural" Marxist solidarity than of the naïve American assumption that it was the case.

    Third, the importance of ideology can also be exaggerated by taking the rhetoric of statesmen too seriously. For internal and external reasons, statesmen tend to emphasize this factor when discussing national obligations. Not only does this help convince adversaries of the alliance's viability, but it also increases internal support when the public believes the allies share its goals and values. Joseph Stalin's money laundering during World War II (during which the former tyrant became his paternal "Uncle Joe") is a prime example, as is Vice President Bush's praise of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos' commitment to democracy exaggerated if we just look at the rhetoric of national leaders.

    In short, while ideology matters in choosing alliances, it is usually subservient. Moreover, despite the widespread fear that Marxist regimes are natural allies, the reality can be quite the opposite. The more seriously such regimes pursue the Leninist imperative to follow an international vanguard, the more likely they are to fall out among themselves. What solidarity there is is only reinforced by the American perception that such ideologies pose a threat that must be met with relentless resistance. - Healthy to the max. Worse, we act in ways that give them few incentives to cooperate with us and plenty of reasons not to.

    74. See Robert Dallek, Franklin D. Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy: 1932-1945 (London: Oxford University Press, 1979), pp. 296-298. For the general tendency of the Allies to exaggerate their consensus, see Robert Jervis, "Hypotheses on Misperception," World Politics, vol. 20, no. 3 (April 1968), p. 463.

  • Alliance formation j 27

    The tools of alliance formation: “bribery” and penetration

    States seeking allies will use specific policy tools to win others over to their side. The use of such tools (or the interpretation given by others to their use) is based on implicit assumptions about the relative effectiveness of such tactics. The most important of these hypotheses concerns the tools of "bribery" and penetration. What are these hypotheses and how seriously should we take them?


    According to this hypothesis, the provision of economic or military aid creates effective allies, either by demonstrating their good intentions, by inducing a sense of gratitude, or by making the recipient dependent on the giver. Simply put, the assumption is: the more you help, the closer the resulting alliance will be. This assumption is at the heart of most military and economic aid programs, as well as American concerns about the shipment of Soviet arms to various Third World countries. For example, US Assistant Secretary of Defense Fred C. Ikle has warned that Soviet military aid to Cuba and Nicaragua threatens to turn Central America into "another Eastern Europe," just as previous US officials have said Soviet military aid to other areas is reliable Tool. .75 Following the same logic, Undersecretary of State James Buckley has suggested that increasing US arms transfers would help "revitalize US alliances". about the recipient.

    There is some justification in assuming that such secondary payments play a role in alliance formation. Throughout history, states have often offered material incentives to attract allies. Louis XIV bought English neutrality during his campaign for hegemony in Europe by handing out subsidies to the impoverished court of James 11.77 During World War I, Britain and France enlisted the support of various Arab leaders, promising them territory after the war and immediately granted a gold subsidy. . Similar promises also got Italy into the war.78 Historians generally agree that French loans

    75. The New York Times, 15. März 1983. 76. „Arms Transfers and the National Interest“, Current Policy Nr. 279, 21. Mai 1981, Office of Public Affairs (Washington, D.C.: US-Außenministerium). , 1981), S. 2. 77 Siehe John Wolf, The Emergence of the Great Powers (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1962), p. 18, 26, 103. 78 Siehe Lenczowski, The Middle East in World Affairs, p. 81; Howard M. Sachar, Zum Notfall

  • International Security | 28

    Russia played a role in promoting the Franco-Russian alliance of 1892.79 Thus, parallel payments are often part of the alliance-forming process.

    However, it is wrong to conclude that they are the main cause of alignment or a powerful tool of influence. The simplistic notion that "help makes allies" ignores the fact that military or economic aid is only offered and accepted when both parties feel it is in their best interests to do so. In other words, offering or accepting aid is one way in which states with different capabilities can respond to a common threat. Therefore, a great helping relationship is more often the result of alignment than its cause. For example, no one would say that the Grand Alliance in World War II was "caused" by American Lend-Lease aid to Britain and the Soviet Union. Rather, lend-lease was a means by which the productivity of American industry could be used more effectively against the common enemy. Means by which an alliance is implemented and ignoring the common interests that inspired the relationship in the first place.

    Consequently, it is more appropriate to consider the conditions under which the use of military or economic assistance will have strong independent effects on the behavior of the recipient. For example, if we are concerned about Soviet military aid, we want to know if and when this will allow Moscow to channel the recipients to its own ends. The question then arises: when does “bribery” give vendors effective political influence? The answer is: not very often. This is true for several reasons.8'

    First, leverage is limited unless the provider is the only available source of financial or military assistance, as the recipient can always obtain it in other ways.

    of the Near East: 1914-1924 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969), pp. 125-130, 136; Bernadotte Schmitt and Harold M. Vedeler, The World in the Crucible: 1914-1918 (New York: Harper and Row, 1984), pp. 92-94. 79. Jacob Viner, “International Finance and Balance of Power Diplomacy, 1881-1914,” in Viner, International Economics: Studies (Glencoe, Illinois: Free Press, 1952); George F. Kennan, The Decline of Bismarck's European Order (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978), pp. 342-346; and Fritz Stern, Gold and Iron: Bismarck, Bleichroder, and the Building of the German Empire (New York: Vintage, 1979), pp. 439-447. 80. See Gaddis, Strategies of Containment, Chapter 1; and William H. McNeill, America, Britain, and Russia: Their Cooperation and Conflict, 1941-1946 (London: Oxford University Press, 1953), pp. 137-155 and passim.81. There is an extensive literature on the sources and terms of economic leverage. I have found the following papers particularly useful: Ariel Levite and Athanassios Platias, "Evaluating Small States' Dependence on Arms Imports: An Alternative Perspective" (Ithaca: Cornell Peace Studies Program, 1983); Classical State Power and the Structure of the International by Albert O. Hirschman

  • Forming Alliances | 29

    Where. With two superpowers in a position to provide assistance, client states can often threaten to switch providers if their interests are not served.82

    Second, because receivers are generally weaker than providers, they will trade more because they have more at stake. At the same time, suppliers will be reluctant to halt shipments if they believe doing so will leave their allies vulnerable. This further limits your effective leverage.

    Third, the more important the recipient is to the giver, the more help they are likely to receive. But when a recipient is so important, the giver will be even less willing to put too much pressure on them. This tendency is compounded by the fact that providing aid also affects the reputation of the donor himself. Threats to retarget customers if their interests are not met will be even more effective if their sponsor is already heavily invested. If the recipient decides to realign or suffer defeat, the reputation of the buyer is likely to be tarnished.83 A supplier's ability to enforce compliance by restricting supplies is further reduced. In fact, far from providing effective leverage for vendors, large support programs may actually indicate that the customer has successfully manipulated the user into providing more and more support.

    Finally, providing help can be counterproductive as it empowers the beneficiary and thus reduces the need to follow the sponsor's wishes. As Henry Kissinger described the negotiation process with Israel during his "step-by-step" diplomacy:

    I ask [Israeli Prime Minister] Rabin to make concessions and he says he cannot because Israel is weak. So I give him more weapons and he says he doesn't have to give in because Israel is strong.84

    Trade (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1945), especially pp. 29-40; James A. Caporaso, "Dependence, Dependence, and Power in the Global System: A Structural and Behavioral Analysis," International Organization, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Winter 1978); Klaus Knorr, The Power of Nations (New York: Basic Books, 1975) and "Is International Coercion Increasing or Decreasing?", International Security, vol. 1, no. 4 (Spring 1977), pp. 92-110; and Steven E. Miller, "Arms and Impotence: Arms Transfers and Superpower Influence" (Presentation at the IISS Young Scholars Conference, Bellagio, Italy, 1979). 82. For example, Jordan was able to obtain a variety of advanced weapons (e.g. tanks and surface-to-air missiles) from the United States by returning to the Soviet Union in 1963, 1964 and again in 1975/76 threatened . . Similarly, Nasser persuaded a reluctant Soviet leadership to send troops and air defense equipment to Egypt during the War of Attrition by threatening to resign in favor of a pro-American president. 83. During the October War, for example, Henry Kissinger allegedly argued that the United States "could not allow a Soviet client to defeat a traditional [American] friend." See his Troubled Years (Boston: Little, Brown, 1981), p. 468. 84. Cited in Edward R.F. Sheehan, The Arabs, the Israelis, and Kissinger (Pleasantville: Reader's Digest Press, 1976), p. 199

  • International security 1 30

    For all these reasons, the provision of military or economic aid is likely to be a rather weak instrument of superpower influence. The historical record supports this conclusion. Not only did clients of superpowers demonstrate a remarkable ability to challenge their patrons on important issues,85 previous great powers also benefited from ephemeral advantages. For example, although Britain funded and equipped the coalition that defeated Napoleon, it found its allies to be an undisciplined coalition in which British influence was erratic at best.86

    In short, the general claim that Soviet or American military aid will create credible substitutes is misleading at best and false at worst because the assumption that "bribery" can create allies is not true. . Rather than being a tool by which great powers gain credible allies, the provision of aid is a means by which recipients can solve their own problems through foreign aid. Obviously, a large aid program indicates certain common interests of the states involved. For example, Nicaragua, Cuba, and the Soviet Union oppose US intervention in Central America, just as Saudi Arabia and the United States fear Soviet interference in the Middle East. But it is wrong to conclude that the recipients will become Soviet (or, for that matter, American) lackeys, because aid can only have a significant impact on the most helpless (and therefore most inconsequential) recipients. Foreign aid can make an existing alliance more effective, but one seldom forms without shared political interests.


    The last hypothesis relates to the effects of political penetration, defined as the covert or indirect manipulation of one state's political system by another. This can take many forms: 1) state officials whose loyalties are divided can use their office to bring one state closer to another; 2) lobbying organizations can be used to change policy decisions and public perceptions of a potential ally; or 3) foreign propaganda can be used to influence elite and mass attitudes. This hypothesis predicts that alliances can easily be formed by manipulating foreign governments through these indirect means.

    85. For a review of the historical record, see Walt, “The Origins of Alliances,” chapter 8. See also Robert O. Keohane, “The Big Influence of Small Allies,” Foreign Policy, vol. 2 (Spring 1971), p. . . . 182. 86. See Robert Sherwig, Guineas and Guinpozwder: British Foreign Aid in the Wars with France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1969), pp. 311-313, 350-355.

  • Alliance formation j 31

    Although penetration has received relatively little attention in recent academic research87, examples can easily be found. Turkey's decision to ally with Germany in World War I was partly due to the influence of Liman von Sanders, a German officer commanding the Turkish army in Constantinople.88 During the war itself, Britain conducted a propaganda campaign that was was effective in the United States. United States, which played an important role in the US decision to join.89 In the 1950s, the "China lobby" exercised considerable influence over US Far East policy, manipulating public opinion and officials of influential Americans.90 Finally, faith that penetration is possible to be an effective means. This alliance-building tool inspired the political indoctrination programs that accompanied US military training for various developing countries, not to mention US concerns with similar Soviet military, educational, and assistance programs.91

    However, the circumstances under which penetration will have a significant impact are limited. First, you're more likely to succeed in open societies where influential elites are more amenable to foreign ideas. Second, if the target state sees penetration efforts as subversive or illegitimate, it is likely to respond by withdrawing from the state to increase its influence, and penetration will therefore be counterproductive. This possibility implies that penetration is safest (i.e. has the best chance of succeeding) when there are already strong incentives for the two states to align, such that activities to promote an alliance through penetration do not appear dangerous. This, of course, implies that penetration serves, at best, to complement existing incentives to align.

    87. Ausnahmen sind: K.J. Holsti, International Politics: A Framework for Analysis (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1967), Kapitel 8; Andrew M. Scott, The Revolution in Statecraft: Informal Penetration (New York: Random House, 1965); Nicholas 0. Berry, "A Gestão da Penetração Estrangeira", Orbis, vol. 17, Nr. 3 (Fassung von 1973); und Knorr, O Poder das Nações. 88. Schmitt und Vedeler, Die Welt im Schmelztiegel, S. 98-102; A.J.P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe: 1848-1945 (London: Oxford University Press, 1952), S. 508-511, 533-534. 89. Siehe Horace C. Peterson, Propaganda for War: The British Campaign Against American Neutrality, 1914-1918 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1939). Siehe Ross Y. Koen, The China Lobby in American Politics (New York: Harper and Row, 1974); e Stanley Bacrack, Das Komitee für eine Million (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976). 91. Miles D. Wolpin, „External Political Socialization as a Source of Conservative Military Behavior in the Third World“, in Kenneth Fidel, Hrsg., Militarism in Developing Countries (New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1975); Anthony Cordesman, „U.S. and Soviet Competition in Arms Export and Military Assistance“, Armed Forces Journal International, August 1981, S. 66-67; e US-Verteidigungsministerium, Soviet Military Power (Washington, 1983), S. 86-90.

  • International security 1 32

    Furthermore, concluding that penetration plays a strong causal role in contemporary international alliances means reversing the likely causal relationship between the decision to ally and the development of extensive contacts between two states. As with foreign aid, a major military training or education program is a consequence of good political relations but rarely an independent cause. 92

    Several examples should illustrate these considerations. Ethnic lobbies that influence US alliance policy are effective precisely because: 1) they operate within an open political system; 2) its goals are limited to a narrow range of topics; and 3) his actions are considered to be in line with the traditions of US political interest groups. Thus, the probability of a game is reduced. The chairman of the US-Israeli Public Affairs Committee acknowledged this, commenting, "If you cannot always translate this in the best interest of the United States, you are lost" in Sadat's decision to expel his Russian advisers in 1972. Apparently, similar events took place in S


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