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Political Science
POLI 244
Jason Scott Ferrell

WORLD POLITICS CHAPTER 5 ▯ Alliances form when state shave common interests that lead them to cooperate militarily. They are institutions created between/among states to facilitate cooperation for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of disputes with outsiders ▯ Alliances are successful when allies have a strong interest in coming to one another’s aid in the event of war, and when they are able to signal this interest to the opponent in a credible manner. ▯ Collective security organizations form around a common interest, which all states are presumed to share, in promoting peace. As broad-based intsitutions their primary role is to facilitate collective action within the international community so that states can respond effectively to prevent or stop the outbreak of violence whenever and wherever it may occur ▯ Collective security organizations are successful when leading states perceive a common and compelling interest in stopping an act of aggressionl they fail when leading states have conflicting interests in the coutcome of a particular dispute or when they have too little interest in the matter to justify the costs of intervention. Alliances: Why promise to fight someone else’s war? Alliances: insitutions that help members cooperate militarily in the event of a war. • Standards of behavior • Expectations of behavior under certain conditions • Codify bargains, distribution, contributions • Can be offensive or defensive • NATO Why do states sign alliances? • Form when common interests motivate cooperation o Interests arises because states have a stake in the outcome of the dispute • Balance of Power: situation in which the military capabilities of two states or groups of states are roughly equal o Nobody has a clear advantage over the other o If one is superior, common interests arise over common threat But… o Not all alliances form with the intent of balancing a stronger state ▯ Bandwagoning: strategy in hich states join forces with the stronger side in a conflict ▯ Often offensive ▯ Desire to cooperate for common gain o States can often choose many potential partners in order to balance the capabilities of a stronger state o Not all strong powers provoke similar balancing responses • Whether or not two states share a common interest regarding a third state depends on much more than whether or not the latter has an advantage in military capabilities Other factors… ▯ Geographic proximity ▯ Ideological and cultural similarity ▯ Existence of high-value disputes Alliances and the likelihood of war • When the parties to a dispute have different information about what third parties will do, this uncertainty can heighten the probability of a bargaining failure leading to war • Alliances influence the bargaining interaction between states by influencing the states’ beliefs about what third parties will do o Main reason that states sign alliances is to signal those common interests to others • An alliance entails an implied threat: if you attack my ally, I will fight you. o An alliance commitment may be questionable for the same reasons that threats are questionable ▯ costly and incentives to bluff o Alliances are NOT binding contracts ▯ No external mechanism ▯ It’s a promise • Alliances should be treated as institutions, not actors How alliances establish credibility • Depends on willingness to fight on one another’s behalf and ability to signal this willingness • Must accomplish two tasks to encourage success: o Make it more likely that allies will fight on each other’s behalf than they would in the absence of an alliance ▯ Decreasing costs of fighting ▯ Increasing benefits ▯ Increasing costs of not fighting o Do these things in a way that leads adversaries to believe that the allies will indeed fight together ▯ Goal is to heighten allies’ interests in aiding one another and to influence the interaction with the rival state by shaping its expectations • Can increase costs of abandonment o Treaties generally made public o Reputation into play o Future cred affected • Historically 75% of commitments honored o Institutional mechanisms to heighten interest are effective. Why aren’t alliance commitments ironclad? • Ironclad alliance guarantees that effectively deter challenges to the weaker party also enhance the risk that the weaker party will demand more of the target or become intransigent in negotiations • States avoid entrapment by limiting commitments (or keeping them ambiguous) • There can be a tradeoff between the credibility of alliances and efforts to control partners o No way to avoid tradeoffs o More credible guarantee = Greater incentive to behave opportunistically o Greater discretion retained in effort to limit risk of entrapment = Less credible alliance = Less successful in deterring challengers Success/Failure depends on… • Strength of the common interest • Ability to alter members’ preferences as to make fighting preferable to abandonment • Effectiveness to convince of ^ • Ability to limit risk of entrapment History of Alliances • Pre-World War I: Two Armed Camps o Driven by German growth o Triple Alliance – Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy o Triple Entente – Britain, France, Russia • Interwar Period 1919-1939 o To contain Germany • Cold War: The “Long Peace” in Europe 1945-1990 o NATO: alliance formed in 1949 ▯ US, Canada, Western Europe ▯ In response to Soviet Union threat o Warsaw Pact: military alliance formed in 1955 ▯ Unites Soviet Union and Cold War allies in Eastern Europe ▯ Dissolved in 1991 Collective Security: why can’t the UN keep the peace? • Alliances couldn’t prevent wars • Should be a permanent institution that would enable countries to police the int’l system in the name of peace and security for all o League of Nations: collective security organization founded in 1919 after WWI. ▯ Ended in 1946, Replaced by UN o UN: collective security organization founded in 1945 after WWI ▯ Includes all recognized states • Collective Security Organizations: institutions that facilitate cooperation among their members. o Form under the presumption that all states have a common interest in preventing war and aggression, regarding who the perpetrator and victim are o Doesn’t alter bargaining outcomes in favor of a state ▯ Ensures changes to status quo happen peacefully o Also seek to prevent violence within states o Gross violations of human rights ▯ Genocide: intentional and systematic killing aimed at eliminating an identifiable group of people (ethnic, religious) How does collective security work? • Triggered when one state attacks/threatens another in the even of a civil conflict, when there is an outbreak of large-scale violence within a country • If determined that events constitute an act of aggression = “threat to international peace and security” o All members are called to act against the offender ▯ Economic sanctions to Military interventions Different Strategies influence bargaining interactions: • Outside involvement makes war less attractive o Defeat virtually certain • Outsiders can help resolve commitment problems by promising to enforce • Can play a positive role in promoting peace, not through threat of intervention, but by serving as neutral observers/peacekeepers Dilemmas of Collective Security ▯ Collective Action Problem o Depend on members to provide resources o Higher risk for members o Imbalance of contributions ▯ Free-rider problem ▯ Joint Decision-making Problem o What constitutes a threat o Who is an aggressor o What response is best Institutional Responses to the Challenges of Collective Security • Creation of small councils dominated by strongest states in the system o Authority to determine threats and prescribe responses ▯ Security Council: main governing body of the UN. It has the authority to identify threats to int’l peace and security and to prescribe the organization’s response, including military and/or economic sanctions ▯ P5 & Veto Power Pros… ▯ Not necessary to obtain consensus within entire membership o Reduces costs o Faster responses ▯ Rules ensure that actions supported by strong powers in int’l system o No collective action problem Cons… ▯ Bias policy outcomes in favor of strongest nations ▯ Can lead towards bias of inaction (through veto) ▯ Uneven policing powers Most likely to succeed if… • Powerful members all agree on the desirability of collective action • Some members value collective good highly enough to pay costs in lives and money to ensure it is provided What does the UN do? • Charter • Pledge not to use force in dispute with one another o And seek assistance from UN • Chapter VII • Peacekeeping operation: op in which troops and observers are deployed to monitor a ceasefire or peace agreement o Agreement to be let in ▯ Host nation agreement o Purpose not to fight war but to ensure it doesn’t restart • Peace-enforcement operation: military op in which force is used to make/enforce peace among warring parties that have not agreed to end their fighting o Invasions o Usually targeted at one side UN faces two essential requirements to function… ▯ None of veto powers can see potential op as threatening to its interest o Block for inaction Effective action can be thwarted by… ▯ Apathy ▯ Self-interest ▯ Powerful states agree enough and care enough to take action UN does make a difference… • Constructive role in organizing peacekeeping missions to help countries reconstruct in the wake of conflict o Perceived impartiality bestows legitimacy on peacekeeping efforts o Role of honest broker o There are costs of going to war without the backing of the UN • Facilitates joint decision-making o Countries don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” each time a crisis arises Primary Challenges • Providing a public good in an environment in which there can be competing private interests and the costs of providing the good may be more than anyone is WTP • Rules set down by founding members advantaged them from the start “The UN was not created to take humanity to heaven but to save it from hell” • limits of governance in the int’l system • states have conflicts of interests that they are willing to fight for Even an imperfect police may be better than none. **Alliances and collective security organizations are poor substitutes for an effective and neutral police, but it is likely that the world would be an even more violent place without them.** WAR AS AN INSTRUMENT OF POLICY – CLAUSEWITZ War is only a part of political intercourse. It is by no means an independent thing in itself. • It is a continuation of political intercourse with a mixture of other means. o Intercourse doesn’t cease by the war itself.
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