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Rival principals and shrewd agents: Military assistance and the diffusion of warfare

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 February 2021

Alex Neads*
Affiliation:
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, United Kingdom
*
*Corresponding author. Email: a.s.neads@bath.ac.uk

Abstract

Military assistance is a perennial feature of international relations. Such programmes typically aim to improve the effectiveness of local partners, exporting the donor's way of war through the provision of training and equipment. By remaking indigenous armies in their own image, donors likewise hope to mitigate the profound agency costs associated with the transfer of military capability. But, while technical and organisational transformations can provide notable battlefield advantages, the philosophies underlying such innovations are not so easily propagated. Instead, new tactics, structures, and technologies typically intersect with pre-existing local schemata of war, producing novel if sometimes dysfunctional hybrid praxes. According to principal-agent theory, the application of greater conditionality in the provision of military assistance should improve the fidelity of military diffusion, aligning agents’ divergent interests with their principals’ goals. In practice, however, principal-agent exchanges rarely exist in isolation. Examining the modernisation of nineteenth-century Japan as a case study in military diffusion, this article argues that competition between rival patrons allows recipient states to play would-be principals off against each other, bypassing conditionality by replicating a marketplace for military assistance. In so doing, however, agents trade functionality for sovereignty in their military diffusion.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British International Studies Association

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47 Ibid., p. 7.

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68 Ibid., pp. 9–10.

69 Ibid., pp. 28–9.

70 Ibid., p. 26, p. 21.

71 Ibid., pp. 69–76.

72 Ibid., p. 81, pp. 77–82.

73 Umetani, Foreign Employees, pp. 17–20; D. Eleanor Westney, ‘The military’, in Marius Jansen and Gilbert Rozman, Japan in Transition: From Tokugawa to Meiji (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), p. 172.

74 Samuels, ‘Rich Nation, Strong Army’, pp. 82–3.

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82 Umetani, Foreign Employees, p. 25; Presseisen, Before Aggression, p. 3.

83 Robert Morton (ed.), Private Correspondence between Sir Harry Parkes and Edmund Hammond, 1865–1868 (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018), p. 13; Daniels, ‘British role’, p. 298.

84 Jaundrill, Samurai to Soldier, p. 58.

85 Satow, Diplomat in Japan, pp. 158–9.

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90 Sims, French Policy, p. 53.

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102 Morton (ed.), Private Correspondence, p. 70.

103 Ibid., p. 88; Sims, French Policy, pp. 62–3.

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105 Ibid., pp. 13–14; p. 73.

106 Lehmann, ‘Léon Roches’, p. 289.

107 Sims, French Policy, pp. 49–50.

108 Lehmann, ‘Léon Roches’, pp. 294–300.

109 Sims, French Policy, p. 66.

110 Satow, Diplomat in Japan, p. 231.

111 Morton (ed.), Private Correspondence, p. 62, p. 71.

112 Lehmann, ‘Léon Roches’, p. 299.

113 Ibid., p. 292; Sims, French Policy, pp. 70–1.

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115 Sims, French Policy, p. 71.

116 Lehmann, ‘Léon Roches’, p. 303.

117 Daniels, ‘British role’, pp. 293, 304–05, 313.

118 Satow, Diplomat in Japan, pp. 299–300.

119 Cortazzi, Dr Willis, pp. 74, 77.

120 Daniels, ‘British role’, pp. 301–02.

121 Satow, Diplomat in Japan, pp. 253–5; Morton (ed.), Private Correspondence, pp. 9–12.

122 Cortazzi, Dr Willis, p. 76.

123 Morton (ed.), Private Correspondence, pp. 80, 123.

124 Satow, Diplomat in Japan, p. 173.

125 Sims, French Policy, pp. 78–9.

126 Ibid., p. 80.

127 Ibid., p. 81.

128 Ibid., pp. 81–2.

129 Auslin, Negotiating with Imperialism, pp. 156–7.

130 Satow, Diplomat in Japan, p. 320.

131 Auslin, Negotiating with Imperialism, pp. 149–52.

132 Tomoko, ‘Meiji diplomacy’, p. 6.

133 Auslin, Negotiating with Imperialism, pp. 154–62.

134 Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 15–18.

135 Morton (ed.), Private Correspondence, p. 168; Auslin, Negotiating with Imperialism, pp. 150–1.

136 Jones, H., Live Machines: Hired Foreigners and Meiji Japan (Vancouver, University of British Colombia Press, 1980), p. 30Google Scholar; Morton (ed.), Private Correspondence, pp. 157–8.

137 Morton (ed.), Private Correspondence, pp. 155–8.

138 Satow, Diplomat in Japan, p. 326.

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140 Drea, Japan's Imperial Army, pp. 23–4.

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142 Sims, French Policy, pp. 88–9.

143 Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 33–41.

144 Umetani, Foreign Employees, pp. 43–5, 56.

145 Sims, French Policy, p. 99.

146 Fukushima, ‘Building of a national army’, p. 194; Jaundrill, Samurai to Soldier, pp. 128–30.

147 Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 43–53; Drea, Japan's Imperial Army, pp. 26–7.

148 Fathil, British Diplomatic Perceptions, pp. 160–2.

149 Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 41–2.

150 Sims, French Policy, pp. 149–56.

151 Ibid., p. 324; Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 50–3.

152 Jones, Live Machines, pp. 33, 112.

153 Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 112–25.

154 Jaundrill, Samurai to Soldier, p. 162; Hyman Kublin, ‘The “modern” army of early Meiji Japan’, Far Eastern Quarterly, 9:1 (1949), p. 39.

155 Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 59–67; D. Eleanor Westney, ‘The military’, in Jansen and Rozman, Japan in Transition, pp. 188–9.

156 Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 97–103.

157 Ibid., pp. 69–88; Jaundrill, Samurai to Soldier, p. 163.

158 Sims, French Policy, p. 100; Auslin, Negotiating with Imperialism, pp. 189–200.

159 Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 104–12.

160 Drea, Japan's Imperial Army, pp. 57–65; Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 125–35.

161 Fathil, British Diplomatic Perceptions, pp. 161–3.

162 Westney, ‘The military’, pp. 188–90; Jaundrill, Samurai to Soldier, p. 163; Drea, Japan's Imperial Army, pp. 64–5.

163 Jones, Live Machines, p. 91, p. 84, p. xv.

164 Sims, French Policy, pp. 94–6.

165 Ibid., p. 103.

166 Ibid., p. 108.

167 Drea, Japan's Imperial Army, pp. 28–39; Goldman, ‘Western military models’, p. 54; Presseisen, Before Aggression, pp. 31–2; Westney, ‘The military’, p. 179.

168 Auslin, Negotiating with Imperialism, p. 194.

169 Jaundrill, Samurai to Soldier, p. 111; Westney, ‘The military’, pp. 182–3.

170 Kublin, ‘“Modern” army’, p. 22; Jaundrill, Samurai to Soldier, pp. 161–2.

171 Wittner, Culture of Progress, pp. 4, 110–12.

172 Goldman, ‘Western military models’, pp. 41–68; Westney, Imitation and Innovation, pp. 18–30.

173 Horowitz, Diffusion of Military Power.

174 British Government, International Defence Engagement Strategy (London: HMSO, 2013), p. 1; British Government, International Defence Engagement Strategy (London: Ministry of Defence, 2017), p. 12.

175 Fergus Kelly, ‘Nigeria A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft contract finally lands’, The Defence Post (29 November 2018); Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, ‘SIPRI Arms Transfers Database’.

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