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.
Last updated on 09/09/2021