Date of Graduation

Spring 2009


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Bradley Thayer


alliance politics, cooperation, European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, United States

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


It is widely accepted that the fundamental nature of the international political system changed after the Cold War concluded. However, the basics of alliance behavior have not. This study argues that a new approach to leading alliances today is required. Bandwagoning alliances require states who lead them to be more open to feedback and equitable participation from their smaller partners. To support this theory, this thesis combines empirical analysis with process tracing. Specifically, the case of U.S. relations with Europe is analyzed. The United States has adhered to traditional definitions of acceptable leadership in bandwagoning alliances and has not adapted to the current security environment. As a result, the United States has provoked the rise of Europe-centric coalitions that exclude U.S. leadership, such as the European Union. This situation can be ameliorated by incorporating cooperative means more akin to traditional balancing alliances.


© Timothy M. Snyder

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