America's Entangling Alliances

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304 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781647120283 ()

304 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781647120290 ()

ISBN: 9781647120306

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November 2022
Sales Rights: World


Table of Contents

America's Entangling Alliances
1778 to the Present
Jason W. Davidson
A challenge to long-held assumptions about the costs and benefits of America's allies.

Since the Revolutionary War, the United States has entered into dozens of alliances with international powers to protect its assets and advance its security interests. America's Entangling Alliances offers a corrective to long-held assumptions about US foreign policy and is relevant to current public and academic debates about the costs and benefits of America's allies.

Author Jason W. Davidson examines these alliances to shed light on their nature and what they reveal about the evolution of American power. He challenges the belief that the nation resists international alliances, showing that this has been true in practice only when using a narrow definition of alliance. While there have been more alliances since World War II than before it, US presidents and Congress have viewed it in the country's best interest to enter into a variety of security arrangements over virtually the entire course of the country's history. By documenting thirty-four alliances—categorized as defense pacts, military coalitions, or security partnerships—Davidson finds that the US demand for allies is best explained by looking at variance in its relative power and the threats it has faced.
Jason W. Davidson is a professor of political science and international affairs at the University of Mary Washington. He is the author of America's Allies and War: Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, The Origins of Revisionist and Status-Quo States, and, with Fabrizio Coticchia, Italian Foreign Policy during Matteo Renzi's Government: A Domestically-Focused Outsider and the World.
"Alliances are at the center of the lively debate about US grand strategy, and that debate is more relevant than it has been in decades. In America's Entangling Alliances, Jason Davidson brings a new power-centric theory and fresh evidence to bear on explaining US decisions to tie its security to other states'. Davidson challenges cherished assumptions about the United States' role in the world, making a major, policy-relevant contribution to scholarship on US foreign policy and alliance behavior."—William C. Wohlforth, professor of government and Daniel Webster Professor, Dartmouth College

"A tremendous work of research and writing, America's Entangling Alliances will be an invaluable resource for scholars for many years. Jason Davidson convincingly shows that US leaders formed alliances with a host of foreign countries, and increasingly so as America's power and influence grew, because they believed that such partnerships would advance US security. This very thorough book provides the critical foundation for determining whether these assessments were accurate, and should inform the future of America's alliance relationships."—Christopher A. Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at The Cato Institute and coauthor of Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America's Broken Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Recover)

"America's Entangling Alliances: 1778 to the Present is an impressively informative and meticulous study of exhaustively detailed research. Well written, deftly organize, and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation."—Midwest Book Review

"Davidson's book is a clear and concise overview of how and why the United States, since its beginning, has sought out and achieved entangling alliances with other powers in the past and will continue to do so in the future."—H-Diplo

"In sum, America's Entangling Alliances is well worth reading and engaging. It succeeds admirably in demonstrating the core argument that alliances were a traditional American foreign policy tool."—H-Diplo

Table of Contents


Explaining the United States' Demand for Allies

A Lesser Power and Alliance for Survival, 1778-1822

A Regional Power and Defense Pacts, 1823-1913

Multipolarity and Military Coalitions, 1914-45

Bipolarity and Defense Pacts, 1946-89

Unipolarity and Security Partnerships




About the Author