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NATO and the Persian Gulf: examining intra-alliance behavior


  • Kupchan, Charles A.


This study examines the determinants of intra-alliance cooperation by focusing on a single case study: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) attempts to deal with Persian Gulf security since 1979. It chronicles the evolution of NATO policy towards Southwest Asia, identifying examples of cooperative and noncooperative behavior. The essay then develops four hypotheses about intra-alliance behavior and uses them to examine the case study. The External Threat hypothesis suggests that alliance cohesion rises and falls with external threats to collective security. The Alliance Security Dilemma hypothesis proposes that cohesion is a function of the coercive potential of the alliance leader and its ability to exact cooperative behavior from its weaker partners. The Collective Action hypothesis suggests that alliance behavior is fundamentally a public goods problem. The Domestic Politics hypothesis asserts that alliance behavior is determined primarily by political and economic factors at the domestic level.

Suggested Citation

  • Kupchan, Charles A., 1988. "NATO and the Persian Gulf: examining intra-alliance behavior," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(02), pages 317-346, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:42:y:1988:i:02:p:317-346_03

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