Worse Than a Monolith: Alliance Politics and Problems of Coercive Diplomacy in Asia (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics)

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9780691142609: Worse Than a Monolith: Alliance Politics and Problems of Coercive Diplomacy in Asia (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics)

In brute-force struggles for survival, such as the two World Wars, disorganization and divisions within an enemy alliance are to one's own advantage. However, most international security politics involve coercive diplomacy and negotiations short of all-out war. Worse Than a Monolith demonstrates that when states are engaged in coercive diplomacy--combining threats and assurances to influence the behavior of real or potential adversaries--divisions, rivalries, and lack of coordination within the opposing camp often make it more difficult to prevent the onset of conflict, to prevent existing conflicts from escalating, and to negotiate the end to those conflicts promptly. Focusing on relations between the Communist and anti-Communist alliances in Asia during the Cold War, Thomas Christensen explores how internal divisions and lack of cohesion in the two alliances complicated and undercut coercive diplomacy by sending confusing signals about strength, resolve, and intent. In the case of the Communist camp, internal mistrust and rivalries catalyzed the movement's aggressiveness in ways that we would not have expected from a more cohesive movement under Moscow's clear control.Reviewing newly available archival material, Christensen examines the instability in relations across the Asian Cold War divide, and sheds new light on the Korean and Vietnam wars.While recognizing clear differences between the Cold War and post-Cold War environments, he investigates how efforts to adjust burden-sharing roles among the United States and its Asian security partners have complicated U.S.-China security relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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"Christensen is a first-rate expert on Asian politics, American foreign policy, and international relations theory. His new book is a major contribution to all three fields and uses meticulous historical analysis to show how and why internal alliance dynamics have repeatedly made life difficult and dangerous for everyone. This is what qualitative security studies is supposed to look like--and an excellent demonstration of why it is important."--Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs


"Common sense and much of international relations theory suggest that it is in a country's interest for its enemies to be at each other's throats. With careful reasoning and rich research, Christensen shows that this is not so and that the Sino-Soviet split greatly complicated American diplomacy. This book is central to our understanding of the Cold War, East Asia, and international politics theory."--Robert Jervis, Columbia University


"This first-rate book provides rich and nuanced detail about the interactive effects of alliance politics on all sides. Christensen is one of the few international relations scholars who can theorize with the best of the political scientists and write history like a historian."--Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University


"Worse Than a Monolith offers a clear, causal explanation of how internal alliance dynamics interacts with external deterrence to influence the effectiveness of coercive diplomacy. The author makes clever use of history to argue that disunity, lack of coordination, and intra-alliance rivalry increase the likelihood that regional conflicts will occur and existing conflicts will escalate."--Suisheng Zhao, University of Denver


About the Author:

Thomas J. Christensen is the William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics of Peace and War and Director of the China and the World Program at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. He is the author of "Useful Adversaries" (Princeton). From 2006-2008, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

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Thomas J. Christensen
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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2011. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Brand New Book. In brute-force struggles for survival, such as the two World Wars, disorganization and divisions within an enemy alliance are to one s own advantage. However, most international security politics involve coercive diplomacy and negotiations short of all-out war. Worse Than a Monolith demonstrates that when states are engaged in coercive diplomacy - combining threats and assurances to influence the behavior of real or potential adversaries - divisions, rivalries, and lack of coordination within the opposing camp often make it more difficult to prevent the onset of conflict, to prevent existing conflicts from escalating, and to negotiate the end to those conflicts promptly. Focusing on relations between the Communist and anti-Communist alliances in Asia during the Cold War, Thomas Christensen explores how internal divisions and lack of cohesion in the two alliances complicated and undercut coercive diplomacy by sending confusing signals about strength, resolve, and intent. In the case of the Communist camp, internal mistrust and rivalries catalyzed the movement s aggressiveness in ways that we would not have expected from a more cohesive movement under Moscow s clear control. Reviewing newly available archival material, Christensen examines the instability in relations across the Asian Cold War divide, and sheds new light on the Korean and Vietnam wars. While recognizing clear differences between the Cold War and post-Cold War environments, he investigates how efforts to adjust burden-sharing roles among the United States and its Asian security partners have complicated U.S.-China security relations since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Bookseller Inventory # LVN9780691142609

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