RSIS Book Launch Seminar “Allies of Convenience: A Theory of Bargaining in U.S. Foreign Policy” by Assistant Professor Evan Resnick, Coordinator for External Teaching, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
Since its founding, the United States has allied with unsavory dictatorships to thwart even more urgent security threats. How well has the United States managed such alliances, and what have been their consequences for its national security? In this book, Evan N. Resnick examines the negotiating tables between the United States and its allies of convenience since World War II and sets forth a novel theory of alliance bargaining.
Resnick’s neoclassical realist theory explains why U.S. leaders negotiate less effectively with unfriendly autocratic states than with friendly liberal ones. Since policy makers struggle to mobilize domestic support for controversial alliances, they seek to cast those allies in the most benign possible light. Yet this strategy has the perverse result of weakening leverage in intra-alliance disputes. Resnick tests his theory on America’s Cold War era alliances with China, Pakistan, and Iraq. In all three cases, otherwise hardline presidents bargained anemically on such pivotal issues as China’s sales of ballistic missiles, Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons, and Iraq’s sponsorship of international terrorism. In contrast, U.S. leaders are more inclined to bargain aggressively with democratic allies who do not provoke domestic opposition, as occurred with the United Kingdom during the Korean War. An innovative work on a crucial and timely international relations topic,Allies of Convenience explains why the United States has mismanaged these “deals with the devil”—with deadly consequences.
About the Author
Evan Resnick is an Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. His chief academic interests lie at the intersection of international relations theory, international security studies, and U.S. foreign policy. Resnick’s published work has appeared in a number of academic journals, including International Security, Security Studies, and Journal of Strategic Studies. Dr. Resnick received Ph.D., M.Phil., and M.A. degrees from Columbia University, and a B.A. (Sp. Hons) from York University in Toronto, Canada. He has previously taught at Yeshiva University in New York City.