Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Alliance Reliability in Times of War: Explaining State Decisions to Violate Treaties

Abstract
Abstract

Understanding the conditions under which state leaders are willing to honor alliance commitments in war will increase knowledge about the escalation and diffusion of conflict and about the propensity of states to fulfill agreements under anarchy. New data analysis provides evidence that alliance commitments are fulfilled about 75 percent of the time. But how can one understand the failure of alliance partners to act as promised in the remaining 25 percent of cases? Formal modelers have deduced that because of the costs associated with alliances, state leaders who form alliances are likely to fulfill them; those alliances that are formed should be fairly reliable. I argue, therefore, that one can best account for violations of alliance agreements either through an understanding of the factors that reduce the costs of violation or through changes that have occurred since the alliance was formed. Using detailed data on alliance commitments between 1816 and 1944, I find evidence commensurate with this argument. Changes in the power of states or in their policymaking processes are powerful predictors of the failure to honor past commitments; and nondemocratic states and major powers, sets of states that I argue suffer lower costs from reneging on agreements, are more likely to violate treaties.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

D. Scott Bennett . 1997. Testing Alternative Models of Alliance Duration, 1816–1984. American Journal of Political Science 41 (3):846–78.

D. Scott Bennett , and Allan C. Stam . 2000. EUGene: A Conceptual Manual. International Interactions 26 (2):179204.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita , James D. Morrow , Randolph M. Siverson , and Alastair Smith . 1999. An Institutional Explanation of the Democratic Peace. American Political Science Review 93 (4):791808.

John A. C. Conybeare 1992. A Portfolio Diversification Model of Alliances: The Triple Alliance and Triple Entente, 1879–1914. Journal of Conflict Resolution 36 (1):5385.

John A. C. Conybeare 1994. The Portfolio Benefits of Free Riding in Military Alliances. International Studies Quarterly 38 (3):405–19.

George W. Downs , David M. Rocke , and Peter N. Barsoom . 1996. Is the Good News About Compliance Good News About Cooperation? International Organization 50 (3):379406.

James D. Fearon 1994. Domestic Political Audiences and the Escalation of International Disputes. American Political Science Review 88 (3):577–92.

James D. Fearon 1997. Signaling Foreign Policy Interests: Tying Hands Versus Sinking Costs. Journal of Conflict Resolution 41 (1):6890.

James D. Fearon 1998. Bargaining, Enforcement, and International Cooperation. International Organization 52 (2):269305.

Scott Sigmund Gartner , and Randolph M. Siverson . 1996. War Expansion and War Outcome. Journal of Conflict Resolution 40 (1):415.

Kurt Taylor Gaubatz . 1996. Democratic States and Commitment in International Relations. International Organization 50 (1):109–39.

Daniel M. Jones , Stuart A. Bremer , and J. David Singer . 1996. Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1816–1992: Rationale, Coding Rules, and Empirical Patterns. Conflict Management and Peace Science 15 (2):163213.

Robert O. Keohane , and Lisa L. Martin . 1995. The Promise of Institutionalist Theory. International Security 20(1):3951.

Barbara Koremenos , Charles Lipson , and Duncan Snidal . 2001. The Rational Design of International Institutions. International Organization 55 (4):761–99.

Volker Krause , and J. David Singer . 1997. Patterns of Alliance Commitments and the Risk of Armed Conflict Involvement, 1816–1984. In Enforcing Cooperation: Risky States and Intergovernmental Management of Conflict, edited by Gerald Schneider and Patricia A. Weitsman , 81103. New York: St. Martin's Press.

David A. Lake 1996. Anarchy, Hierarchy, and the Variety of International Relations. International Organization 50 (1):133.

Brett Ashley Leeds . 1999. Domestic Political Institutions, Credible Commitments, and International Cooperation. American Journal of Political Science 43 (4):9791002.

Brett Ashley Leeds . 2000. Credible Commitments and International Cooperation: Guaranteeing Contracts Without External Enforcement. Conflict Management and Peace Science 18 (1):4971.

Brett Ashley Leeds . 2003. Do Alliances Deter Aggression? Military Alliances and the Initiation of Militarized Interstate Disputes. American Journal of Political Science 47 (3):427–39.

Brett Ashley Leeds , Andrew G. Long , and Sara McLaughlin Mitchell . 2000. Reevaluating Alliance Reliability: Specific Threats, Specific Promises. Journal of Conflict Resolution 44 (5):686–99.

Brett Ashley Leeds , Jeffrey M. Ritter , Sara McLaughlin Mitchell , and Andrew G. Long . 2002. Alliance Treaty Obligations and Provisions, 1815–1944. International Interactions 28 (3):237–60.

Zeev Maoz . 1996. Domestic Sources of Global Change. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Fiona McGillivray , and Alastair Smith . 2000. Trust and Cooperation Through Agent Specific Punishments. International Organization 54 (4):809–24.

Michael D. McGinnis 1990. A Rational Model of Regional Rivalry. International Studies Quarterly 34(1):111–35.

Sara McLaughlin , Scott Gates , Havard Hegre , Ranveig Gissinger , and Nils Petter Gleditsch . 1998. Timing the Changes in Political Structures: A New Polity Database. Journal of Conflict Resolution 42 (2):231–42.

John J. Mearsheimer 1995. The False Promise of International Institutions. International Security 19 (3):549.

T. Clifton Morgan , and Sally Howard Campbell . 1991. Domestic Structure, Decisional Constraints, and War: So Why Kant Democracies Fight? Journal of Conflict Resolution 35 (2):187211.

James D. Morrow 1991. Alliances and Asymmetry: An Alternative to the Capability Aggregation Model of Alliances. American Journal of Political Science 35 (4):904–33.

James D. Morrow 1994. Alliances, Credibility, and Peacetime Costs. Journal of Conflict Resolution 38 (2):270–97.

William B. Moul 1988. Great Power Nondefense Alliances and the Escalation to War of Conflicts Between Unequals, 1815–1939. International Interactions 15 (1):2543.

Daryl Pregibon . 1981. Logistic Regression Diagnostics. Annals of Statistics 9 (4):705–24.

Adam Przeworski . 1991. Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Randolph M. Siverson , and Joel King . 1980. Attributes of National Alliance Membership and War Participation, 1815–1965. American Journal of Political Science 24 (1):115.

Randolph M. Siverson , and Harvey Starr . 1994. Regime Change and the Restructuring of Alliances. American Journal of Political Science 38 (1):145–61.

Alastair Smith . 1995. Alliance Formation and War. International Studies Quarterly 39 (4):405–25.

Alastair Smith . 1996. To Intervene or Not to Intervene: A Biased Decision. Journal of Conflict Resolution 40 (1):1640.

Alastair Smith . 1998a. Extended Deterrence and Alliance Formation. International Interactions 24 (4):315–43.

Alastair Smith . 1998b. International Crises and Domestic Politics. American Political Science Review 92 (3):623–38.

Glenn H. Snyder 1984. The Security Dilemma in Alliance Politics. World Politics 36 (4):461–95.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Organization
  • ISSN: 0020-8183
  • EISSN: 1531-5088
  • URL: /core/journals/international-organization
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 162 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 434 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.