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The Supply Side of SecurityA Market Theory of Military Alliances$
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Tongfi Kim

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780804796965

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804796965.001.0001

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A Systemic Theory of the Alliance Market

A Systemic Theory of the Alliance Market

(p.49) 3 A Systemic Theory of the Alliance Market
The Supply Side of Security

Tongfi Kim

Stanford University Press

Polarity affects alliance politics because it is related to the number of potential security-suppliers and to the relative capabilities of actual and potential allies. This chapter develops a systemic theory of military alliances that explains both the persistence of numerous Cold War alliances and the high rate of alliance formation in the post-Cold War era that has taken place without the involvement of or balancing against the United States. This chapter also explains why China’s alliance policy has so far been dormant and why it would be more active under Sino-US bipolarity. In the context of alliance politics, the chapter argues, the vice to which great powers easily succumb in a multipolar world is overreaction; in a bipolar world, overextension; in a unipolar world, inattention.

Keywords:   Unipolarity, Bipolarity, Multipolarity, China, the United States, security suppliers, rise of China

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