America’s allies have been whiplashed by the contradictory policies of the last two US administrations. Whereas Donald Trump maligned US allies as parasitic free-riders and repeatedly threatened to dissolve America’s longstanding security guarantees in Asia and Europe, Joseph Biden has pledged to reinvigorate and strengthen those relationships in order to more effectively contain a rising China and recalcitrant Russia. This webinar aims to discuss the past and present role of alliances in US national security policy and predict their fate in a new era of great power competition. It brings together three leading alliance scholars, each of whom has recently published an important book that addresses the subject from a distinct vantage point. In America’s Entangling Alliances: 1778 to the Present (Georgetown University Press, 2020) Professor Jason Davidson of the University of Mary Washington argues that alliances of various types have played a more central role in the history of US statecraft than is commonly believed. In The Power to Divide: Wedge Strategies in Great Power Competition (Cornell University Press, 2021), Professor Timothy Crawford of Boston College analyses the strategies that great powers have used to weaken and fracture the alliances of their adversaries. In Allies of Convenience: A Theory of Bargaining in U.S. Foreign Policy (Columbia University Press 2019), Professor Evan Resnick of RSIS examines the risky and oftentimes counterproductive alliances that US leaders have formed with unsavoury dictatorships. At a tumultuous moment when America’s rivals are testing the credibility of Washington’s security commitments to a degree not seen since the Cold War, a wide-ranging discussion of the dynamics and importance of those commitments could not be more opportune.
About the Panellists
Jason Davidson is Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He earned a Ph.D. (2001) and an M.A. (1999) in government from Georgetown University and a B.A. (1996) in political science from the University of California at Berkeley.
Professor Davidson is the author of four books: America’s Entangling Alliances: 1778 to the Present (Georgetown University Press, 2020); with Fabrizio Coticchia Italian Foreign Policy During Matteo Renzi’s Government: A Domestically-Focused Outsider and the World (Lexington Books, 2019); The Origins of Revisionist and Status-quo States (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and America’s Allies and War: Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). His articles have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals such as Foreign Policy Analysis, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Contemporary Security Policy, Modern Italy, Security Studies, and The Nonproliferation Review.
Timothy W. Crawford (Ph.D., Columbia University) is Associate Professor of Political Science at Boston College. His research focuses on alliance politics and strategies. His recent work includes The Power to Divide: Wedge Strategies in Great Power Competition (Cornell University Press, 2021), “Arms Control as Wedge Strategy,” International Security (Fall 2021), and “How to Distance Russia from China,” Washington Quarterly (Fall 2021). He is also the author of Pivotal Deterrence: Third Party Statecraft and the Pursuit of Peace (Cornell University Press, 2003), winner of the 2003 Edgar S. Furniss Award; and editor (with Alan J. Kuperman) of Gambling on Humanitarian Intervention: Moral Hazard, Rebellion, and Civil War (Routledge, 2006). Before joining Boston College, Dr Crawford was a national security fellow at the Olin Institute of Strategic Studies and a postdoctoral fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, and the Center for International Studies, Princeton University, and a term-member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
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. His book Allies of Convenience: A Theory of Bargaining in U.S. Foreign Policy was published by Columbia University Press in 2019. He is presently working on a second book project, “Interests, Ideologies, and Great Power Spheres of Influence,” for which he was awarded a Singapore Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1 Grant in 2021. 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.