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Europe UnitedPower Politics and the Making of the European Community$
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Sebastian Rosato

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449352

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449352.001.0001

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Explaining International Cooperation

Explaining International Cooperation

(p.20) 2. Explaining International Cooperation
Europe United

Sebastian Rosato

Cornell University Press

This chapter presents the book's balance of power theory of interstate cooperation, paying particular attention to its assumptions and causal logics. It begins with a brief discussion of power—what it is, why states want it, and what strategies they can adopt to deal with stronger competitors. It then outlines the conditions under which states can form balancing coalitions and argues that states facing a merely superior adversary always have the option of balancing, whereas those facing an overwhelming opponent can only come together and balance against it under a restrictive set of conditions. Next, the chapter explains why states that hope to balance against an overwhelming competitor are typically driven to establish centralized rather than decentralized coalitions. It shows that the within-coalition distribution of capabilities determines whether centralized coalitions end up being unified or integrated. Finally, it describes the role that institutions play in facilitating these cooperative endeavors.

Keywords:   balance of power, interstate cooperation, world war, European Community, EC, balancing coalitions

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