Alliances and balancing during a structural power shift

I have recently been preoccupied with the Asia pivot, or more generally the structural shift towards Asia—not in the serious research way, but more like the European pondering in the park while smoking a pipe way (figuratively speaking—I usually don’t go outside; I sit inside tweeting). By sheer coincidence the other day I came across Stephen M. Walt’s 2009 article “Alliances in a Unipolar World,” which applies alliance theory and frameworks to the peculiar period of unipolarity we are in currently. Walt mentions the rising powers in Asia and the long list of countries allied or aligned with the . . .
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Multipolarity, Syria and a New Concert

Dan Trombly had, as he often does, an interesting blog post the other day on the possibility of a new concert. Not one with Bruce Springsteen, but rather a global concert of great powers akin to the 19th century Concert of Europe, where nation-states acted by a set of unwritten rules to maintain peace (this came in response to a previous post by Dan Nexon over at the Duck of Minerva). The shadows of Libya and Syria veritably loom over the text as the discussions of intervention and R2P (Responsibility to Protect) have stirred up an interesting debate on . . .
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Testing the Mearsheimer Hypothesis in Europe

If we are lucky (and by ‘we’ I mean political scientists), we will soon find out if John J. Mearsheimer was right—maybe not on offensive realism, but at least on the purpose of U.S. troop presence in Europe. The new strategic framework put out by the Obama administration represents what some have called a pivot towards the Asia-Pacific. Implicit in this shift is less attention and resources put towards Europe. In practical terms this will likely mean drawing down the troop presence in Europe, which today numbers 80,718 active duty service members (as of September 30, 2011).

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Misunderstanding Offshore Balancing: Or How Not to Apply Lessons in International Relations

For aspiring academics the only thing worse than promoting a lame foreign policy idea is abusing international relations theory to do it. The former is relatively common (at least for us snarky Twitter/blogosphere-people), but it’s been a while since I saw someone misunderstand, or misrepresent, IR theory so blatantly as David Axe does in this recent piece in the Diplomat on U.S. policy in northern Africa (h/t to Dan Trombly for the link). Axe begins the article by calling victory in Libya “an apparent success for a new US military strategy.” Exactly what is this new strategy? Winter explains:

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