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Bandwagoning vs. Balancing Alliances in Regional Security Systems
Unformatted Document Text:  Licht 11 recurrent periods of heightened danger. General wars which drag all major players into the fray and inflict extraordinary cost (Levy 1985) occur when a hegemon loses its position of dominance to a challenging state (Organski and Kugler 1980; Gilpin 1980; Doran 1983; Modelski and Thompson 1996). Thus the power transition school focuses on those times when a state reaches parity, or approximately equal military capacity, with the dominant state (Organski and Kugler 1980). The pacifying effect of bandwagon alliances, if they function as a means of satisfaction management, will be especially notable at these most dangerous times of parity. When other states in the system grow naturally to approach the dominant power’s capabilities, those with long-standing bandwagon alliances tying them to the dominant power will be unlikely to instigate conflict. Satisfaction and mutual benefit from stable relationships mitigates the security dilemma and reduces the destabilizing effect of shifts in relative power. H 2b : Conflict will remain less likely in systems where bandwagoning is frequent, even at times of parity. The pacifying effect of bandwagon alliances may apply even if the state achieving parity is not tied to the dominant power. The aggregation of dyadic alliance dynamics to the systemic level fundamentally alters the norms of interaction as well as the strategic incentives of states. While Walt (1987) theorized that a system of balancing states would produce preferences for non-violent mediation, concern for reputation costs, and generally less uncertainty, this theory suggests that these public goods will be engendered by a dense web of bandwagoning alliances. In a system characterized by satisfaction managing bandwagons, most states will be tied to the dominant power by security pacts, which simultaneously provide them protection from and obligate them to cooperate with the dominant power. This network of asymmetric ties creates a truly and durably

Authors: Licht, Amanda.
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Licht 11
recurrent periods of heightened danger. General wars which drag all major players into
the fray and inflict extraordinary cost (Levy 1985) occur when a hegemon loses its
position of dominance to a challenging state (Organski and Kugler 1980; Gilpin 1980;
Doran 1983; Modelski and Thompson 1996). Thus the power transition school focuses
on those times when a state reaches parity, or approximately equal military capacity, with
the dominant state (Organski and Kugler 1980). The pacifying effect of bandwagon
alliances, if they function as a means of satisfaction management, will be especially
notable at these most dangerous times of parity. When other states in the system grow
naturally to approach the dominant power’s capabilities, those with long-standing
bandwagon alliances tying them to the dominant power will be unlikely to instigate
conflict. Satisfaction and mutual benefit from stable relationships mitigates the security
dilemma and reduces the destabilizing effect of shifts in relative power.
H
2b
: Conflict will remain less likely in systems where bandwagoning is
frequent, even at times of parity.
The pacifying effect of bandwagon alliances may apply even if the state achieving
parity is not tied to the dominant power. The aggregation of dyadic alliance dynamics to
the systemic level fundamentally alters the norms of interaction as well as the strategic
incentives of states. While Walt (1987) theorized that a system of balancing states would
produce preferences for non-violent mediation, concern for reputation costs, and
generally less uncertainty, this theory suggests that these public goods will be engendered
by a dense web of bandwagoning alliances. In a system characterized by satisfaction
managing bandwagons, most states will be tied to the dominant power by security pacts,
which simultaneously provide them protection from and obligate them to cooperate with
the dominant power. This network of asymmetric ties creates a truly and durably


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