Alliance Politics Dynamics

  • Gunnar FermannEmail author


What foreign policy-making problems may caveats contribute solving at the level of global politics? Caveats seem to limit the political costs of participating in coalition forces due to concerns about alliance commitments. Instead of buck-passing entirely, caveats allows the lukewarm or hesitant coalition member to contribute the smaller proverbial buck. Based on the theory of the security dilemma in alliance politics, an argument is developed for the deduction of three hypotheses on coalition participation and caveats. In this theoretical context, caveats become a foreign policy instrument used to optimize the balancing of the dual fears of being abandoned by the alliance and be trapped in a risky military commitment not justified in other national interests. National reservations on the use of force is an instrument to strike a balance between diverging national concerns, and thereby also a tool to maximize coalition force generation within what is politically feasible. Caveats may thus become the lesser evil to the alternative of desist from participating in the coalition altogether.


Security dilemma in alliance politics Fear of abandonment Fear of entrapment International terrorism Solidarity norm Security insurance Problems of free riding Military force generation 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

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