Europe in the World Research Seminar Series – Constructing Cooperation: a Social-Institutional Theory of Multilateral Military Coalition-Building
Organised by Ulrich Krotz, Federico Romero and Richard Maher
Marina Henke | Max Weber Fellow
How do multilateral military coalitions get built? In this talk, Henke will present a social-institutional theory, quantitative and qualitative evidence from over 80 multilateral military coalitions to explain multilateral military coalition building practices. At the heart of this theory lies the notion that multilateral military coalitions seldom emerge naturally due to common interests, norms, values, or alliance commitments. Rather, coalitions are purposefully constructed by individual states. I call these states that organize the coalition building process ‘pivotal states’. These states use the existing institutional structures in which they are globally embedded in to bargain fellow states into a specific coalition. This process involves arguing, persuasion, and often also side-payments. Bilateral and multilateral networks, which include civilian as well as military ties, constitute an invaluable resource in this process. Via these ties, pivotal states have access to private information on deployment preferences of potential coalition participants. Moreover, these connections facilitate issue-linkages and side-payments and allow states to overcome problems of credible commitments. Finally, pivotal states can use common institutional contacts (i.e., IO officials) as cooperation brokers and convert common institutional venues into coalition negotiation fora.