This project develops a theory of cooperation in multilateral military interventions. Whether launched ad hoc or in the institutional framework of the United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, European Union or African Union, multilateral interventions rely on voluntary troop contributions by sovereign states. For states, however, participating in such endeavors is costly in financial as well as political terms. This project thus addresses the question: what are the motivating factors behind an individual country's troop deployments?

The project proposes that participants to most military interventions need to be divided into leaders and laggards. Leaders are understood as the drivers behind the launch of specific operations, pursuing sharply defined political, economic or normative interests. Laggards, on the other hand, lack such interests or at least do not share the same interest intensity as do leaders. The laggards thus need additional incentives to motivate their force deployments, and such incentives are most often provided by leaders. The project then develops a theory about how interdependence between leaders and laggards influences the probability that the laggards will join the security coalition.

The investigator tests this theory by examining the recruitment process of three distinct security operations: the United Nations operation in East Timor, the European Union operation in Chad and the Central African Republic, and the US-led operation in Iraq. This qualitative analysis complements the results of the already completed large-N regression analysis, which includes all 132 multilateral military operations conducted since the end of the Cold War. Its results suggest that there is a statistically significant correlation between the degree of interdependence between leaders and laggards and the laggards' probability of contributing troops to an operation of the leader's choice.

The intellectual merit of this project thus lies in its capacity to shed new light on multilateral military interventions, arguably the most forceful tool to create world order. Although often depicted as mounted by international organizations, military interventions never ensue from international rules or regulations but are always the product of pure political will mustered by participating actors. This project breaks new ground in analyzing how such political will can be created. The empirical basis for the analysis comprises both qualitative case studies and an original dataset encompassing all security operations since the end of the Cold War.

This project has broader implications as well. Interdependence is a defining feature of contemporary global politics. At times interdependence carries negative connotations. This project suggests the positive impact of interdependence. In particular, interdependence between states can enhance international cooperation in the security realm.

Project Report

This NSF-funded dissertation develops the concept of an International Security Cooperation Market. The currency of this market is the side-deal. These deals, also known as issue-linkages or side-payments, are systematically negotiated between Lead Nations - nations for which the execution of a particular security cooperation effort is a top foreign policy priority - and Laggards, which do not assign a similar level of importance to the same endeavor. I find that institutional connectedness between leaders and laggards determines the likelihood of a laggard being successfully recruited by the leader. I demonstrate that institutional connectedness allows leaders to minimize information asymmetries and to maximize payment flexibility thus increasing the likelihood of concluding a successful bargain. These findings break new ground theoretically and empirically. Empirically, they shed new light on how international security cooperation occurs. Since the inception of International Relations (IR) research, alliance theory has been the dominant paradigm through which international security cooperation is perceived, analyzed and understood. In particular, throughout the Cold War, alliances were needed to deter the enemy through credible common positions demonstrating unquestionable resolve.[1] Such credible commitments required the establishment of centralized decision-making institutions, which allowed production of tight systems of coordinated planning, tripwire defense mechanisms, and coherent public rhetoric.[2] This dissertation suggests, however, that alliance structures are ceding their predominance in enabling international cooperation in the use of force.[3] While alliance theory is one of the most developed branches of IR research, the specific formation of coalitions-of-the-willing has thus far gained much less theoretical traction.[4] This dissertation attempts to fill this gap by offering a causal pathway as to how security coalitions are built. It also makes publicly available an original security operation dataset representing a unique collection of security operation characteristics. Theoretically, this dissertation project adds to the IR literature on side-deal bargaining. The existing literature so far has failed to grasp the underlying logic of side-deal negotiations, or, as Oye noted, "aside from observing what linkages have been constructed in the past, no clear criteria have emerged for predicting [any] patterns."[5] This dissertation tries to remedy this shortcoming by showing that issue-linkages are negotiated and distributed systematically. By proposing this logic, I highlight the difficulties of finding suitable bargaining partners in an environment of heterogeneous preference intensities and the domestic hurdles to side-deal cooperation. I propose that institutional ties can reduce both impediments; institutional connectedness provides the information necessary to reduce information asymmetries between potential cooperation partners and enlarges the possible range of issue-linkage opportunities. As a result, institutional ties multiply international cooperation efforts not necessarily because of preference convergence – as often suggested by the literature – but despite persistent preference divergences among cooperating partners. Overall, this dissertation proposes the idea of an international security cooperation market in which "cooperation services" can be exchanged. I argue that this market exists parallel to traditional collective action efforts; if no "like-minded" cooperation partners can be found, the market is used to fill the gaps. In this market, power assets, whether in the economic, institutional or security spheres, become not only fungible but tradable. Efficiency in this market is gained via institutional connectedness; the more connected an actor, the more information and flexibility it has available, and the cheaper its cooperation bargains can be. As a result of this market, institutional interdependence takes on another meaning, not one of a constraining condition—of impinging on a state’s sovereignty and making it sensitive to other countries’ policies—but one of reducing the costs of side-deal bargains, thus enabling cooperative outcomes which would otherwise either be very costly or impossible to achieve. While tested here in the security sphere, similar situations of heterogeneous cooperation preferences are easily imaginable in other issue areas such as environmental cooperation, cooperation in questions of human rights, or other regulatory issues such as tax evasion or money laundering. Finally, this dissertation further bridges the divide between International Political Economy (IPE) and security studies approaches to IR research. In fact, implicitly or explicitly, the existing IR literature still holds on to a division between "high politics" and "low politics," i.e., depicting security concerns as concerns to state survival and therefore superior to economic matters. The empirical evidence presented in this dissertation suggests that, in our current age, this distinction is less pertinent than hitherto assumed. [1] Schelling 1966, [2] cf. Maynes in Prins 2002; Moravcsik 2009. [3] For a similar analysis see e.g. Pierre 2002; Baltrusaitis 2009; Norris 2003; Tertrais 2004; Menon 2003; Dibb 2002. [4] Noteworthy exceptions are Bennett et al. 1994, 1997, with regards to the multinational coalition formed in the Gulf War; Baltrusaitis 2009, with regards to the multinational coalition formed during the Iraq War; Tago 2007, 2008; Lake 2009 and Vucetic 2010 on US-led operations overall. [5] Oye 1979, 18; see also Tollison and Willet 1979.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
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Brian D. Humes
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Princeton University
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