Title

Does Chain-Ganging Cause The Outbreak Of War?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-1-2011

Published In

International Studies Quarterly

Abstract

Realists have argued that fears over the defection or defeat of an ally can draw states into wars against their broader interests (“chain-ganging”). However, the logic underpinning chain-ganging theory is flawed, and the paradigmatic case—World War I—is not an instance of chain-ganging causing the outbreak of war. The paper draws on recent literatures on alliance restraint and the origins of World War I to provide the first extensive critique of chain-ganging theory, examines the impact on chain-ganging of a number of factors including power and interests, and suggests policy implications for an emerging multipolar system.