Speaker: Mina Erika Pollmann, Research Fellow, International Security Program

Pro-alliance leaders would rather form an alliance by persuasion than by coercion. Whether pro-alliance leaders have to escalate from persuading to coercing anti-alliance leaders to form an alliance depends on how strongly anti-alliance leaders are motivated to oppose the proposed alliance. There are three distinct reasons possible for why anti-alliance leaders would oppose a proposed alliance: entrapment concerns, provocation concerns, and relative capabilities. The cases examined in this seminar suggest that entrapment concerns and provocation concerns both motivate anti-alliance leaders, though entrapment concerns have a slightly stronger correlation with when pro-alliance leaders must escalate to coercion. There is a strong but non-linear relationship between strength of anti-alliance leaders' opposition and relative capabilities. Though the domestic politicking of alliance formation has been overlooked in the literature, studying the domestic politicking matters because alliances formed by coercion are more likely to be associated with greater domestic political instability and longer negotiations.

Everyone is welcome to join us online via Zoom! Please register in advance for this seminar:

For more information, email the International Security Program Assistant at susan_lynch@harvard.edu.