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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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Alliance Problems, Signaling, and Escalation of Asian Conflict

Alliance Problems, Signaling, and Escalation of Asian Conflict

(p.63) Chapter 3 Alliance Problems, Signaling, and Escalation of Asian Conflict
Worse Than a Monolith

Thomas J. Christensen

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines two intrawar deterrence failures in Korea in late summer and fall 1950, both of which were related to alliance politics. It shows that lack of coordination and mistrust in the communist camp rendered the alliance incapable of sending clear and timely signals of resolve to the United States that might have deterred the Americans from crossing the 38th parallel in the crucial three weeks following Douglas MacArthur's successful Inchon landing. This same lack of coordination undercut communist efforts at coercive diplomacy. U.S. policies in the early weeks of the Korean War had a powerful impact on strategic thinking in the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China about the long-term implications of the military defeat of the North Korean communist regime and the unification of the Korean peninsula under a government friendly to the United States.

Keywords:   deterrence, alliance politics, coordination, United States, coercive diplomacy, Korean War, Soviet Union, People's Republic of China, North Korea

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