The economics of alliance
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Author:  MadArchitect [ Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:55 pm ]
Post subject:  The economics of alliance

In chapter 16, section II, there's a particularly notable instance of the British-French-Russian alliance's weakness in the face of post-war plans. Of course, that sort of thing isn't entirely unexpected, but it's interesting to me that nations could vest so much in a wartime alliance, and then wrangle over the as-yet unwon spoils of war to the extent that they'll actually consider abandoning the alliance.

Further, this section also shows them parcelling out spoils on conditions that include maintaining the alliance as a provision. Constantinople and the straights were essentially bartered to Russia on condition of a) successful continuance of the war, and b) Russian sympathy to French and British imperial interests in the rest of the OE.

That Britain and France played that game is, I think, illustrative of the motivations that play into the relations between nations. They handed over Constantinople and the straights out of a) fear that they'd lose the war for lack of Russia as an ally, and b) desire for the ME territories they had their eye on, even at the cost of the gateway between Europe and the East.

Author:  JulianTheApostate [ Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The economics of alliance

There's always a tension between the shared goal of military allies to win the war and different interests after a post-war victory.

The best-known example was the World War II alliance between the US, Britain, and the Soviet Union. While all three nations were desperate to beat the Nazis, the leaders of each country were well aware of the Cold War to follow.

Also, hardball tactics are often the best way to get what you want. Threatening to leave the alliance is a powerful negotiating stance. The ever-changing dynamics between nations made European history complex, fascinating, and brutal. The two-sided Cold War struggle and the recent peace in most of Europe are historical anomalies.

Author:  minority mandate [ Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The economics of alliance

It appears that Europe was locked into the old continental war game in which the winners demanded reparations from the losers usually in the form of colonies or adjacent lands (Alsace-Lorraine). Even six month prior to their loss the Germans were hard at work trying to determine what concessions they would demand from the allies when they won.

The tragedy of World War One was that neither side had very clear war aims beyond what we might call booty and honor.

Author:  minority mandate [ Wed Aug 09, 2006 12:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The economics of alliance

I might add that that is what made Woodrow Wilson so noble and notable when he tried to structure the peace "to make the world safe for democracy". Obviously an idea whose time had not come but not one that would::41 .

Author:  MadArchitect [ Mon Aug 14, 2006 4:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The economics of alliance

Wilson's efforts were, indeed, laudable and noble, but most of what I've read of politics in the last few years suggests to me that they were also too utopian to stand much chance.

Author:  Loricat [ Mon Aug 21, 2006 11:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The economics of alliance

Another thing I found interesting about that chapter was sure all sides were making deals about how to divvy up the spoils, but then they were betraying each other. The French especially, giving the Russians the inside scoop on why the British wanted what they wanted.

It just struck me as so...high school. Your friend tells the guy you like that you like him, thus embarassing you, and throwing the power into his hands.

Sorry for the low-brow comparison, as you guys are discussing other tomes I'm never going to get around to reading, but I'm just reeling slightly from my idealistic assumptions the realities of diplomacy being shattered.


"All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds."

Loricat's Book Nook
Celebrating the Absurd

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