To Arm or to Ally? The Patron's Dilemma and the Strategic Logic of Arms Transfers and Alliances

  title={To Arm or to Ally? The Patron's Dilemma and the Strategic Logic of Arms Transfers and Alliances},
  author={Keren Yarhi-Milo and Alexander Lanoszka and Zack Cooper},
  journal={International Security},
How do great powers decide whether to provide arms to or form alliances with client states? This “patron's dilemma” revolves around a decision about how to best provide security to clients without becoming entrapped in unwanted conflicts. Strong commitments worsen the risk of entrapment, whereas weak commitments intensify fears of abandonment. This traditional alliance dilemma can be addressed through the provision of arms and alliances. Great power patrons primarily make such decisions on the… 
Arms, Alliances, and Patron-Client Relationships
In “To Arm or to Ally?” Keren Yarhi-Milo, Alexander Lanoszka, and Zack Cooper present an elegant and powerful theory that explains conditions under which a great power (in their case, the United
Promises under Pressure: Reassurance and Burden-Sharing in Asymmetric Alliances
Promises under Pressure: Reassurance and Burden-Sharing in Asymmetric Alliances Brian Dylan Blankenship Great power patrons frequently reassure allies of their protection, whether by stationing
Strategies of Extended Deterrence: How States Provide the Security Umbrella
Abstract What extended deterrence strategies are available to nuclear patrons, and what factors determine which strategy they adopt? How does each strategy manifest as force employment? The bulk of
Reliability and Alliance Politics: Interdependence and America’s Asian Alliance System
Throughout the Cold War, US officials feared that Washington’s disloyalty to one ally would automatically cause other allies to doubt America’s security reliability. These doubts could prompt allies
Promises under Pressure: Statements of Reassurance in US Alliances
The United States frequently reassures allies of its protection by stationing troops abroad, visiting allied countries, and making public statements. Yet the causes of reassurance in asymmetric
Tangled up in rose? Theories of alliance entrapment and the 2008 Russo-Georgian War
ABSTRACT Recent tensions between Russia and the United States have sparked debate over the value of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). One controversy surrounds the extent to which NATO
Accidental rivals? EU fiscal rules, NATO, and transatlantic burden-sharing
Both theorists and practitioners continue to show interest in transatlantic burden-sharing. Resource allocation choices – both to and within defense budgets – are grand strategic choices, and
Arming a few dictators but not others: The politics of UK arms sales to Chile (1973–1989) and Argentina (1976–1983)
The United Kingdom imposed an arms embargo on Chile in 1974 but not on Argentina after the 1976 coup, despite brutal military dictatorships in both countries. What explains this difference? What can
The Case for Maintaining Strategic Ambiguity in the Taiwan Strait
For decades, one key dimension of US policy toward Taiwan has been “strategic ambiguity.” With its equivocal reassurance in defending Taiwan, while recognizing there is “one China,” Washington has
'Money as a Weapons System': The Promises and Pitfalls of Foreign Defense Contracting
The U.S. government spends billions of dollars every year on goods and services from foreign countries. Most of this spending is for military purposes. Over $1 billion a year in overseas defense


Alliances: Why Write Them Down?
States formalize some relations into military alliances. A formal commitment could increase credibility by signaling an intention to come to the aid of another state or by creating commitment by
Signaling Foreign Policy Interests
The author distinguishes between two types of costly signals that state leaders might employ in trying to credibly communicate their foreign policy interests to other states, whether in the realm of
Signaling Alliance Commitments: Hand-Tying and Sunk Costs in Extended Nuclear Deterrence
How can states signal their alliance commitments? Although scholars have developed sophisticated theoretical models of costly signaling in international relations, we know little about which specific
Alliances, Credibility, and Peacetime Costs
Alliances are not perfectly credible. Although alliances raise the probability of intervention into war, many allies do not honor their promise in wartime. A formal model of alliances as signals of
The Showdown That Wasn't: U.S.-Israeli Relations and American Domestic Politics, 1973–75
How influential are domestic politics on U.S. foreign affairs? With regard to Middle East policy, how important a role do ethnic lobbies, Congress, and public opinion play in influencing U.S.
France and the Arms Trade
HE characterisation of French arms sales as 'commercial pragmatism', a term applied to British policy, is only partially useful in explaining French behaviour. * * It captures little of the
The Security Dilemma in Alliance Politics
The alliance security dilemma is more severe, and places more constraints on allies' policies toward adversaries, in multipolar than in bipolar alliances, and is a major reason for the current persistence of conflict in NATO.
Arms Transfers to Israel: The Strategic Logic Behind American Military Assistance
Introduction: The American-Israeli Relationship in Historical Perspective The Israeli Quest for Arms: Western Europe and the United States Armoured Breakthrough: The 1965 Sale of M-48 Patton Tanks to
The Myth of Entangling Alliances: Reassessing the Security Risks of U.S. Defense Pacts
A large literature assumes that alliances entangle the United States in military conflicts that it might otherwise avoid. Since 1945, however, there have been only five cases of what might be
The Water's Edge and Beyond: Defining the Limits to Domestic Influence on United States Middle East Policy
One of the most commonly held notions in American politics is that American Jews have a great deal of influence on U.S. foreign policy. Some influential Americans have even argued that