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Worse Than a Monolith:
Alliance Politics and Problems of Coercive Diplomacy in Asia
Thomas J. Christensen

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"Christensen's book is an important contribution to the burgeoning literature on East Asian security. He provides a counterintuitive theoretical claim that alliance cohesion may be more stable than alliance disunity, and provides deeply researched evidence from the Cold War in East Asia to back up his claims. Careful, thoughtful, and always stimulating, this book will be an important addition to our understanding of historical and contemporary problems in East Asian security."--David Kang, Political Science Quarterly

"The main strength of Worse than a Monolith lies in the skill with which Christensen uses his alliance politics framework to lend welcome analytical traction especially to explaining the Communist side of the conflict at a time when there is arguably little genuinely new to add to the historiography of the 'hot Asian wars' of the Cold War."--Evelyn Goh, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific

"[T]he book is well written, and chapters Two through Seven will certainly interest any student of Cold War or East Asian history."--Walter Brummund, III, Journal of International Law and Politics

"[T]his thought-provoking book will be of value to academics, students, and policymakers of East Asian affairs, international relations theories, and international security."--Kai Chen, Journal of Peace Research


"Christensen is a first-rate expert on Asian politics, American foreign policy, and international relations theory. His new book is a major contribution to all three fields and uses meticulous historical analysis to show how and why internal alliance dynamics have repeatedly made life difficult and dangerous for everyone. This is what qualitative security studies is supposed to look like--and an excellent demonstration of why it is important."--Gideon Rose, Foreign Affairs

"Common sense and much of international relations theory suggest that it is in a country's interest for its enemies to be at each other's throats. With careful reasoning and rich research, Christensen shows that this is not so and that the Sino-Soviet split greatly complicated American diplomacy. This book is central to our understanding of the Cold War, East Asia, and international politics theory."--Robert Jervis, Columbia University

"This first-rate book provides rich and nuanced detail about the interactive effects of alliance politics on all sides. Christensen is one of the few international relations scholars who can theorize with the best of the political scientists and write history like a historian."--Alastair Iain Johnston, Harvard University

"Worse Than a Monolith offers a clear, causal explanation of how internal alliance dynamics interacts with external deterrence to influence the effectiveness of coercive diplomacy. The author makes clever use of history to argue that disunity, lack of coordination, and intra-alliance rivalry increase the likelihood that regional conflicts will occur and existing conflicts will escalate."--Suisheng Zhao, University of Denver

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File created: 4/24/2017

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