Alliance Politics in Unipolarity

dc.contributor.authorSanders, Marietta E.
dc.creatorSanders, Marietta E.
dc.description.abstractThroughout the Cold War the United States’ relationship with its allies was primarily based on its ability to defend them against the Soviet Union. The US would bear the military burden for their safety in exchange for their support and special economic relationships that would allow the US to continue to prosper and pay for the expense of the military burden. After the Cold War ended these relationships continued to exist, but under different international pressures. The US needs allied involvement in order to build a more robust and complex international missile defense system designed to counter any nation or group seeking to use ballistic missiles against the US or its friends and allies. However, some US allies differ on the need for this type of protection and the attention it brings to them as a close ally of the United States. States may feel the threat has not yet materialized for this type of system, that building this system only further instigates arms races and leads to greater instability, or cooperation with the US on this system will make them more of a target to terrorist organizations or states hostile to American interests. This dynamic has brought out interesting reactions among the US’ allies on its pursuit of a robust missile defense system. This paper seeks to develop and test a theory that explores the patterns of alliance behavior in a unipolar system and use the issue of missile defense between the United States and its European allies as a case study. This new theory is a combination of components of Glenn H. Snyder’s and Stephen M. Walt’s theory of alliances under assumptions of William Wohlforth’s observations about unipolarity. With this mid-range theory I will seek to better explain the dynamics of the relationships between the United States and European allies through the issue of missile defense in the current international system structure. Additionally, this theory will attempt to determine the most important causal factor behind states’ decisions within an alliance; whether autonomy or perceptions of threat are a bigger influence in state decisions on security.
dc.subjectMissile defense
dc.subjectAlliance politics
dc.titleAlliance Politics in Unipolarity
dc.typeThesis Science Mason University's of Arts in Political Science


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