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Title page for ETD etd-03262013-141440

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Bentley, Patrick Robert
URN etd-03262013-141440
Title Alliances, arms transfers and military aid: major power security cooperation with applications and extensions to the United States
Degree PhD
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
James Lee Ray Committee Chair
Brett V. Benson Committee Member
Michaela Mattes Committee Member
Thomas A. Schwartz Committee Member
  • military aid
  • security cooperation
  • alliances
  • arms transfers
  • military assistance
Date of Defense 2013-03-25
Availability unrestricted
This project brings together three areas of international relations research: security cooperation, the effects of geography on international outcomes, and United States foreign policy. Each chapter incorporates elements of security cooperation and U.S. foreign policy, and the last chapter focuses on the role of geography in major power and U.S. alliance politics. Substantively, this project broadens the academic understanding of security cooperation.

The first chapter describes how international relations scholarship has focused on alliances as the primary means of security cooperation to the near-exclusion of any other type, but the volume of security cooperation short of an alliance between states is massive, especially in major power dyads. In explaining how powerful states choose what types of security cooperation to extend to other states, the results show that they favor states with similar foreign policy preferences as partners in security cooperation while eschewing those states that are particularly rivalrous.

In the second chapter, I offer an explanation for how the United States used its security cooperation relationships to form the coalitions that fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. The conditions leading up to the formation of these two coalitions differed significantly, leading the U.S. to form a burden sharing coalition in Afghanistan and a legitimacy-seeking coalition in Iraq. As such, it sought to include its allies and states that could contribute to the war effort in Afghanistan and states to which it had given military aid but that offered little to the coalition in Iraq.

I contend in the third chapter that since the alliance formation literature focuses primarily on outcomes between pairs of states, scholars have failed to incorporate measures of interdependence outside of the dyad into their analyses. This project incorporates such interdependence by looking at the proximity between weak states and rivals of powerful states as an explanation of asymmetric alliance formation. The findings also show that U.S. troop deployment favors states that are closer to U.S. rivals.

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