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Small allies, big challenges The international politics of military access

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Description: With the US military engaged in multiple conflicts and other missions around the globe, continued access to military facilities in foreign countries is integral to the projection of American power. As American basing and force structure continues to evolve from a system designed to fight the Cold War to one intended to combat terrorism, deal with rogue states and manage American interests in a changing international system, the US will be required to form numerous bilateral, ad hoc alliances with states that it has little to no previous working relationship with, often outside the auspices of broader alliance organizations such as NATO. With this in mind, it is important that serious consideration be given to the factors and phenomena that influence decisions to grant or rescind military access. This thesis seeks to achieve a better understanding of the behavior of small, non-traditional allies in such contexts. Drawing on the preeminent theories of alliance formation and collapse and small state behavior, seven contemporary case studies involving overseas basing are examined, revealing that while small states enter into these alliances for a variety of reasons, security concerns are the ultimate deal breaker. If the US is to avoid future predicaments, it must not only make short-term changes that give its hosts a vital stake in the bases they loan, but reassess its grand strategy to make its overseas presence more manageable.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work