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Title: Integrating realist alliance theories : the Saudi-U.S. Case (1941-1957)
Author: Al-Ankari, Fahad
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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The three theories may seem to be at odds with each other, but each brings to the discussions very relevant and useful notions of alliance motivation rooted in the notions of power, threat, and interest/opportunity. It is not the aim of this chapter to arrive at a new theory that explains the entirety of Saudi-U.S. relations to the exclusion of other perspectives. The goal is to broaden the path, which enriches understanding of Saudi-U.S. relations and alignment by applying not just one but all three major elements found in realist alliance theory: power, threat, and interest. This thesis examines and applies realist theories of alliance to Saudi-U.S. relations and alignment from 1941-1957, which are best understood within a structure of power, threat, and interest/opportunity for gain. Realist alliance theories applied to economic, military, and political circumstances and events in the Saudi-U.S. case result in a more complete understanding of the formation, dynamics, and endurance of the Saudi-U.S. alliance. In addition to the grand scenario of Cold War power-seeking and self-interests, the Palestine-Israel problem, the Buraimi dispute, and the Suez Canal Crisis made Saudi-U.S. relations, and the formation of alignment, a complicated process marked by extraordinary challenges to the interests of both states. Gregory Gause (2007) emphasised that except for Walt’s study, literature on the formation and endurance of the Saudi-U.S. alliance is virtually non-existent. The literature review pointed to a shortage in deploying major realist alliance theories into the Saudi-U.S. alliance, especially theories advanced by Stephen Walt (1985, 1987) and Randall Schweller (1994, 1997). The literature shows that the application of realist alliance theory tends to emphasise a single dimension more than an attempt to integrate arguments from the three major theories. The paper argues that the integration of multiple realist alliance theories in the study of the Saudi-U.S. case is more useful than studies that focus on single concepts only, such as balance of power. The application of core elements of neorealist and neoclassical realist alliance theories creates an explanatory structure that brings a sharper focus and a more sober understanding of the basic drivers of the Saudi-U.S. alignment. By viewing the Saudi-U.S. alliance through the lens of the three major realist alliance theories, the research paper adds to the body of knowledge about the dynamics of a long-standing and critical alliance in the international economic, political, and military arena.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Politics