Tomorrow, Texas A&M is hosting the annual Texas Triangle IR Conference, which highlights grad student and junior faculty research.
I’ll be presenting “National Leaders, Political Survival, and International Military Coalitions”, (co-authored with Emily Ritter), which tries to explain a specific type of cooperation: when and with whom states build military coalitions during crises (here are the slides). It’s part of a broader project that understands coalitions as crisis-specific instances of military cooperation, where building a coalition yields military benefits but requires that partners be compensated for their efforts. In this paper, we analyze how political survival incentives affect this tradeoff. We show that politically insecure leaders will be more willing than secure leaders to make side payments at the expense of the public interest to reduce the risk of defeat—which harms their chances of retaining office. Thus, insecure leaders are both more willing to build coalitions and less selective about the partners they choose, compromising a larger share of the public interest in the pursuit of retaining office.
As a side note, I’ll also be live-tweeting conference highlights at @nocodecub using the hashtag #TexasTriangle. It’s my first such attempt at live-tweeting, so I make no promises as to the consistency and quality of the effort, but if it helps publicize what I think is a pretty strong group of IR scholars in the state, then we’ll call it a win.