Warring Friends

Warring Friends: Alliance Restraint in International Politics

Jeremy Pressman
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: Cornell University Press
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7591/j.ctt7zb94
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  • Book Info
    Warring Friends
    Book Description:

    Allied nations often stop each other from going to war. Some countries even form alliances with the specific intent of restraining another power and thereby preventing war. Furthermore, restraint often becomes an issue in existing alliances as one ally wants to start a war, launch a military intervention, or pursue some other risky military policy while the other ally balks. In Warring Friends, Jeremy Pressman draws on and critiques realist, normative, and institutionalist understandings of how alliance decisions are made.

    Alliance restraint often has a role to play both in the genesis of alliances and in their continuation. As this book demonstrates, an external power can apply the brakes to an incipient conflict, and even unheeded advice can aid in clarifying national goals. The power differentials between allies in these partnerships are influenced by leadership unity, deception, policy substitutes, and national security priorities. Recent controversy over the complicated relationship between the U.S. and Israeli governments-especially in regard to military and security concerns-is a reminder that the alliance has never been easy or straightforward.

    Pressman highlights multiple episodes during which the United States attempted to restrain Israel's military policies: Israeli nuclear proliferation during the Kennedy Administration; the 1967 Arab-Israeli War; preventing an Israeli preemptive attack in 1973; a small Israeli operation in Lebanon in 1977; the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982; and Israeli action during the Gulf War of 1991. As Pressman shows, U.S. initiatives were successful only in 1973, 1977, and 1991, and tensions have flared up again recently as a result of Israeli arms sales to China.

    Pressman also illuminates aspects of the Anglo-American special relationship as revealed in several cases: British nonintervention in Iran in 1951; U.S. nonintervention in Indochina in 1954; U.S. commitments to Taiwan that Britain opposed, 1954-1955; and British intervention and then withdrawal during the Suez War of 1956. These historical examples go far to explain the context within which the Blair administration failed to prevent the U.S. government from pursuing war in Iraq at a time of unprecedented American power.

    eISBN: 978-0-8014-6494-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Alliance Restraint
    (pp. 1-17)

    In the months leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, several close U.S. allies frenetically worked to stop the war. In different ways, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey all took actions or issued statements that sought to restrain the United States by blocking American military intervention to topple Saddam Hussein. They failed to stop the world’s lone superpower.

    Nearly fifty years earlier, the situation was reversed as the United States worked to restrain its British and French allies. In 1956, after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, Britain and France considered military action against Egypt to...

  5. 2 Allying to Restrain
    (pp. 18-41)

    Some states form alliances in order to restrain other states. This chapter reviews six alliances in which alliance restraint and balance-of-threat theory each purport to explain the formation of a military alliance. In three cases, the alliance restraint explanation is more persuasive: United States–South Korea, United States–Taiwan, and Egypt-Syria. With the Anglo-Japanese alliance, threat and restraint played about equal roles. In the fifth and sixth cases, the German-Austrian alliance and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the restraint element played a secondary, albeit important, role.

    However, this does not mean that balance-of-threat theory is irrelevant in the three cases...

  6. 3 Anglo-American Relations and Alliance Restraint
    (pp. 42-77)

    What explains the success or failure of alliance restraint? An assessment of Anglo-American relations in the 1950s helps evaluate the power and norm-based explanations. In four U.S.-British case studies, the normative explanation of policy coordination is not supported. On the power side, the mere holding of an advantage in capabilities does not determine success. A more powerful ally must be willing to mobilize its power resources, whether that means to go it alone and rebuff a restraint attempt or to sanction and induce to achieve restraint success. This chapter, as well as chapter 4, turns to alliance management, or how...

  7. 4 American-Israeli Relations and Alliance Restraint
    (pp. 78-119)

    The United States has frequently tried to modify Israeli military policy. Sometimes Washington has not been successful. Although the United States is by far the more powerful player, it failed to restrain Israel in three of the seven examples mentioned in this chapter. Furthermore, rather than accept the counsel of its partner, Israel has often defied the United States and deceived Washington. A normative alliance commitment to policy coordination does not explain the U.S.-Israeli cases. Only when the United States was willing to mobilize its power resources was it able to restrain Israel. A power advantage alone is insufficient if...

  8. 5 Expanding the Restraint Story
    (pp. 120-136)

    Alliance restraint is a common feature of international relations. The case studies in chapters 2, 3, and 4 support the four findings described in chapter 1. This chapter begins by reviewing the same four findings on alliance formation, alliance management (success/failure), the conditions for power mobilization, and the institutional and other differences between alliance restraint and restraint-like activities in international affairs writ large. Bearing in mind future research on alliance restraint, the chapter then reflects on the potential richness of the historical record surrounding a single event, the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. The next section considers what case studies in bipolar...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 137-172)
  10. Index
    (pp. 173-178)