Exponential Capacity of Power and its Impact on Military Alliance Dynamics

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The Cold War ended in 1989, yet the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) endures despite the disappearance of the Soviet Union—the principal rival that prompted the military alliance’s formation1 and purportedly warranted its endurance for over four decades.2 Moreover, the number of cooperative programs has steadily increased after the Cold War and currently, the US and its allies are cooperating in over 20 military programs.3 The enduring capacity of NATO is, indeed, a puzzling political event and a counterintuitive development regarding the internal logic of military alliance theory4. The central goal of the study is to find out why the cooperation among NATO members has endured and even increased since the end of the Cold War. The proposed study aims to advance an important theoretical contribution to the literature on military alliance theory. Its aim is to show, that the political economy of military production, a variable generally omitted when explaining military alliance dynamics, might be among important causal factors influencing the alliance decisions of states. The study employs a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods to find out why NATO members continued and deepened their military cooperation after the Cold War, in the absence of an external or extra- alliance threat. The explanation is based on the compatibility of interests among great powers and political economy of military production: the size and extent of scale economies, economies of scope, learning-by- doing and escalating R & D costs. The variables are measured with data available in industrial censuses and national trade statistics. Because there are only a few cases, the study employs the focused method of comparison in order to shed light on the compatibility of national interests of NATO members after the Cold War. The applied method is to be mixed with intensive case study approach to learn in depth about the states’ military and economic interests and alliance decisions they took. Such an approach allows to extract similarities and reach specific generalizations and conclusions.