Dissertation > Political, legal > Diplomacy, international relations > Diplomacy, international relations theory

The Level Analysis of the Cause of Bilateral Alliances’Collapse

Author JiangYiNing
Tutor JiQiuFeng
School Nanjing University
Course Of Diplomacy
Keywords Collapse of alliances Level of analysis International system Distribution of power Symmetry/asymmetry National interests
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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In the realm of international politics, alliance is not only a very important phenomenon and nation’s behavior, but also a kind of process. However, the issue of the collapse of alliance, as the end of the process, has not been caught enough attention by scholars and policy-makers at home and abroad. Some statistics show that, there are a total number of694alliances from1815to2003,431of which has collapsed, accounting62%of the total number. But there is no clear and systematic explanation or theory about the cause of alliances’collapse. So it is of significant theory value to make a research on this subject. Besides, studying the cause of alliances’collapse is important to the real world. Recently some neighboring countries misunderstood or overreacted facing the rapid development of China, and made collaboration with US, the hegemonic superpower, to balance China. This leads a trend of strengthening the US-Japan and US-South Korea military alliances and the level of cooperation between US and India, Vietnam, Philippine, who directly or indirectly want to fight against China. Therefore, to study the reasons causing the collapse of alliances will help us to find solutions to dissolve the alliances against China and to avoid other nations forming military alliances against China on the one hand. On the other hand, this study will prevent China’s military alliances (if China were to form military alliances with other nations) from collapsing.It is believed that making definitions about alliances and other relevant concepts strictly and accurately helps to do research in the right direction and thus promote theoretical research towards a deeper level. Therefore at the beginning of main body, this paper firstly definite alliance and the conditions of alliance collapse. The definition of alliance in this paper is that, alliances are written agreements, signed by official representatives of at least two independent states, that include promises to aid a partner in the event of military conflict, to remain neutral in the event of conflict to refrain from military conflict with one another, or to consult/cooperate in the event of international crises that create a potential for military conflict. This gives affiance three core features:formal written agreements, independent nation states and military cooperation. The definition of alliance collapse is that if the alliance ends due to violation of provisions by one or more members, including willful abrogation before the scheduled termination date, the alliance is dissolve abnormally. And finally this article focus the research on the bilateral alliances from1815to2003based on the database used in this paper.In the following chapters, this paper analyzes the cause of alliance collapse in three levels----international system level, alliance level and state level. The chapter two firstly focuses on the international level. This paper makes definitions of international systems and categories them into three types. Then hypothesis is brought up to build connections between the stability of three international systems and alliance collapse. To prove or disprove this hypothesis, the author analyzes some relevant statistics from the database ATOP and the hypothesis is proved. The explanation is that the distribution of power in the international system is a key factor that affected the collapse of alliances, and the more unstable the international system is, the more easily alliances collapse.Chapter three studies the connections between the nature of alliance and the dissolution of alliances in an alliance level. Based on the previous research, it is considered that the symmetry or asymmetry of alliance is worth studying. To label an alliance as symmetry or asymmetry, there are two factors to be considered, that is the comparison of power between members, and the provisions of alliance agreements are equal or not. Then this paper analyses some relevant statistics according to this two factors, and then gives a conclusion, compared to asymmetrical alliances, symmetrical alliances are more vulnerable. Therefore the comparison of power of member states, which embodies as symmetry and asymmetry, is a key factor to cause alliance collapse.Chapter four is aimed to find key variables in the state level. It is thought that national interests may be a key factor to affect the alliance collapse because alliances are products of compromise between different national interests. Then this paper analyses two cases----Franco-Belgium alliance (1920) and Sino-Soviet alliance (1950), and concludes that the smaller the intersection of interests between members, the greater the possibility of the collapse of alliances.The conclusion part integrates the three levels of analysis into a comprehensive and systematic theoretical framework. The three interacting key factors in three different levels are distribution of power in international system, the comparison of power between member states in alliance level, and the differences in national interests in state level. Finally the author points out the defects and shortcomings of this article on the research and research methods, and wants to be able to better deal with these issues in future research.

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