The Origins of Alliance

Front Cover
Cornell University Press, Aug 9, 2013 - Political Science - 336 pages
0 Reviews

How are alliances made? In this book, Stephen M. Walt makes a significant contribution to this topic, surveying theories of the origins of international alliances and identifying the most important causes of security cooperation between states. In addition, he proposes a fundamental change in the present conceptions of alliance systems. Contrary to traditional balance-of-power theories, Walt shows that states form alliances not simply to balance power but in order to balance threats. Walt begins by outlining five general hypotheses about the causes of alliances.

Drawing upon diplomatic history and a detailed study of alliance formation in the Middle East between 1955 and 1979, he demonstrates that states are more likely to join together against threats than they are to ally themselves with threatening powers. Walt also examines the impact of ideology on alliance preferences and the role of foreign aid and transnational penetration. His analysis show, however, that these motives for alignment are relatively less important. In his conclusion, he examines the implications of "balance of threat" for U.S. foreign policy.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


1 Introduction Exploring Alliance Formation
2 Explaining Alliance Formation
3 From the Baghdad Pact to the Six Day War
4 From the Six Day War to the Camp David Accords
5 Balancing and Bandwagoning
6 Ideology and Alliance Formation
7 The Instruments of Alliance Aid and Penetration
8 Conclusion Alliance Formation and the Balance of World Power
Appendix 1 Alliances and Alignments in the Middle East 9551979
Appendix 2 The Balance of World Power

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of The Origins of Alliances, Revolution and War (both from Cornell), and Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy.

Bibliographic information