Allies that Count: Assessing the Utility of Junior Partners in Coalition Warfare

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis explores the issue of the utility of junior partners in coalition warfare in the post-Cold War era. It begins with the observation that the International Relations and strategic studies literatures are surprisingly under-developed on the issue of coalition leader and the junior partners. This thesis challenges the conventional wisdom about coalition-building in the post-Cold War era. It argues that there are two distinct, albeit mutually reinforcing, casual paths to utility: the first is the standing of a state participating to the intervention, the second is the combination of integration and quality to its armed forces.
In order to establish this result, the thesis adopts a mixed-method approach, combining a crisp-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (csQCA) conducted on 2014 cases with detailed case studies of twelve states participating in four multinational military interventions after the Cold War.
This core finding has two major consequences. First, in coalition warfare, the
more is not necessarily the merrier. There is no linear relation between a
junior partner’s participation to an intervention, and an increase of the
legitimacy and/or military effectiveness of the said intervention. For the utility
of a junior partner to be established, the conditions of standing and/or the
combination of integration and quality must be met.
Second, it is very rare to have a clear trade-­‐off between military and political
utility. In most cases, the two causal mechanisms leading to utility are
simultaneous. These findings have important consequences for both research
on alliances and policy-­making.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorTheo Farrell (Supervisor) & Rudra Chaudhuri (Supervisor)

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