Title page for ETD etd-05082008-192725

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Seagle, Adriana N.
Author's Email Address aseagle@vt.edu
URN etd-05082008-192725
Title Why Do States Join Military Alliances? The Case of Romania
Degree Master of Arts
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Stivachtis, Ioannis Yannis Committee Chair
Luke, Timothy W. Committee Member
Sjoberg, Laura Committee Member
  • Romania
  • Geopolitics
  • Alliances
  • Threats
  • NATO
Date of Defense 2008-04-25
Availability unrestricted

Alliances continue to remain fundamental at the core of international politics. How states make their alliance choices is important for international order and security. The end of the Cold War brought ethnic conflicts and political instabilities in the Balkan region. Based on its size and geographical configuration, Romania again confronted its history in the alliance dilemma of whether to “balance” against threatening states or to “bandwagon” with the states that posed the greatest threats in order to appease their power. Stephen M. Walt (1987) predicted that in a case like that of Romania, the statesmen would most likely choose to bandwagon because of two motives: (i) for “defensive” purposes in order to maintain its independence in the face of a potential threat and (ii) for “offensive” reasons in order to acquire territory. After reviewing Romanian historical records on alliances since 1878, the evidence is compelling that the case of Romania conforms to Walt’s (1987) theory only to the extent that “balancing is not universal.” Thus, it depends on which perspective balancing or bandwagoning is considered from in forming alliances. Romania either formed alliances to balance threats, or allied with the threat. Territorial security was one of the most recurrent motives prevalent in Romanian historical records that prompted Romania to form alliances. As expected, Walt’s (1987) last three factors did not provide a great explanation for Romanian alliances. Modest support was found for ideological solidarity,but little for economic ideology and transnational political penetration.

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