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An Empirical Typology of International Military Alliances

Bruce M. Russett
Midwest Journal of Political Science
Vol. 15, No. 2 (May, 1971), pp. 262-289
DOI: 10.2307/2110272
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2110272
Page Count: 28
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An Empirical Typology of International Military Alliances
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Abstract

All military alliances concluded during the period 1920-1957 are examined according to a variety of background and output variables. The duration of alliances is generally unrelated to the degree to which they are dominated by a single power; similarly, if a war does occur, members' likelihood of fighting together on the same side cannot be predicted either from duration or from dominance, nor from the strength of the formal commitment engaged in. Multilateral alliances among equals are most likely to find the members fighting on the same side. On the other hand, dominated alliances seem to provide deterrence most effectively. The characteristics of pre-World War II alliances are not greatly different from those formed since the war.

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