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Worse Than a MonolithAlliance Politics and Problems of Coercive Diplomacy in Asia$
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Thomas J. Christensen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142609

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142609.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
Worse Than a Monolith

Thomas J. Christensen

Princeton University Press

This book examines the alliance dynamics of Cold War East Asia during the period 1949–1969, arguing that disunity, lack of coordination, and intra-alliance rivalry increased both the chance that regional conflicts would occur and the likelihood that existing conflicts would persist and escalate. It shows that, in their formative years, both the U.S.-led alliance system and the Asian communist alliance sent dangerously confusing signals regarding the cohesion, resolve, and intent of their respective blocs. These signals undercut coercive diplomacy in Asia and created conditions for both crisis and war. The book considers two forms of dangerous dynamics among enemy alliances: poor coordination and, in the case of revisionist alliances, the catalyzing effect of ideology and the pursuit of prestige on aggression toward enemies. It also explores the legacies of U.S. Cold War alliances for contemporary Sino-American relations and concludes with a chapter on post-Cold War East Asia.

Keywords:   enemy alliances, Cold War alliances, East Asia, regional conflicts, coercive diplomacy, revisionist alliances, ideology, Sino-American relations, Asian communist alliance

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