Dissertation: The Initiation and Effectiveness of Multi-Coalition Peace Operations

Committee: Alexander Thompson (chair), Amanda Lea Robinson, Bear F. Braumoeller

When the international community attempts to provide peace by intervening in a crisis, it is increasingly rare for only a single international coalition to be involved in the intervention. Sequential or concurrent interventions by multiple multilateral coalitions are quickly becoming the norm in the international system. While peace operations are frequently studied, we lack a theory of multi-coalition involvement in conflict. This dissertation presents a new theory of the drivers of multi-coalition cooperation in peace operations, and examines variation in the effectiveness of these operations.


Weihua Li,  Aisha E. Bradshaw, Caitlin B. Clary, and Skyler J. Cranmer. “A Three-Degree Horizon of Peace in the Military Alliance Network.” Science Advances Vol. 3, No. 3: e1601895 (01 March 2017). 

States form defensive military alliances to enhance their security in the face of potential or realized interstate conflict. The network of these international alliances is increasingly interconnected, now linking most of the states in a complex web of ties. These alliances can be used both as a tool for securing cooperation and to foster peace between direct partners. However, do indirect connections—such as the ally of an ally or even further out in the alliance network—result in lower probabilities of conflict? We investigate the extent to which military alliances produce peace between states that are not directly allied. We find that the peacemaking horizon of indirect alliances extends through the network up to three degrees of separation. Within this horizon of influence, a lack of decay in the effect of degrees of distance indicates that alliances do not diminish with respect to their ability to affect peace regardless of whether or not the states in question are directly allied. Beyond the three-degree horizon of influence, we observe a sharp decline in the effect of indirect alliances on bilateral peace. Further investigation reveals that the community structure of the alliance network plays a role in establishing this horizon, but the effects of indirect alliances are not spurious to the community structure.