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Understanding Alliance Formation Patterns

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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In international relations literature, there seems to be some confusion caused by the many contradictory theories on alliance formation patterns. For this reason, this thesis surveys why there is not just one theory that explains most of the alliance formations throughout history. Using logistic regression models and statistical analysis for different historical periods from 1816 to 2012, the thesis explores the effects of four state-level variables-regime type, national material capabilities, geographical proximity, and trade exchange-on alliance formation behaviors.The results show that the four state-level variables have different levels of significance in the different periods. The thesis concludes that alliance formation behaviors differ depending on the prevailing system-level conditions in the different historical periods, especially under conditions of war and peace and based on the polarity of the international system. The approach presented in the thesis provides a new perspective to analyze alliance formation patterns for a better understanding of future alliances.

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