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Title: The political economy of U.S. military strategy
Author: Waterman, K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7654 7598
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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Rapid economic growth in emerging economies since the end of the Cold War has driven debate on American 'relative decline'; the relative diminution of US material capabilities with respect to other states. Such relative decline poses potential constraints on US power and has thus manifested itself in arguments over the economic merits of the United States' expansive military commitments. Contributing to this literature, my thesis answers the following question: does American military strategy generate economic benefits? I argue that that there is significant evidence to suggest that US military strategy has influenced international economic relationships in ways beneficial to US national interests. Principally, my analysis shows American military strategy acts as a 'underwriter' for the extant international economic system. I explore two logics associated with this. Firstly, a general 'status quo' logic which sees military power as both a guarantor and promoter of specific structural configurations of the international political economy. And secondly, a more specific 'utility' logic operating on other states either bilaterally or multilaterally. This pathway assumes that US military strategy, particularly its security guarantees, may alter the utility of other states decisions in America's favour. This thesis also shows that specific results often prove far more tentative and circumstantial than commonly articulated by scholars in the literature. Nearly all specific and 'utility' pathways through which the United States is hypothesized to derive economic benefit suffer from foundational generalisability issues, irrespective of methodology. This suggests that specific avenues and instances of US military strategy influencing international economic relationships are not likely to be a reliable or prudent source of future policy making. Rather, the principal political-economic influence to consider is the role US military power plays in underwriting the contemporary American centred international order, which is the prerequisite for other specific pathways to emerge.
Supervisor: Stokes, D. ; Baele, S. Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Military Strategy ; International Political Economy