I am a Lecturer in the Department of International Politics at City University London. I was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College. Beforehand I was a Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Security Studies Program. In May 2014, I completed my doctorate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. My research addresses issues in American foreign policy, alliance politics, nuclear strategy, and theories of war. I have so far published in Security Studies, Survival, International Affairs, International Theory, and elsewhere. I have done work on East Asia but my primary regional focus is on East Central Europe.
My book project (tentatively titled 'Atomic Assurance: The Alliance Politics of Nuclear Proliferation') explores the alliance dynamics that ensue when states move towards nuclear weapons acquisition upon doubting the credibility of the nuclear security guarantees that they receive from their guarantors. It contains intensive case studies on West Germany, Japan, and South Korea that draw on deep archival work. This project has implications for current policy debates regarding nuclear proliferation and alliance management.
I have written commentary on contemporary security dynamics in East Central Europe in The Monkey Cage (Washington Post), The National Interest, World Affairs , Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and Small Wars Journal. On alliances and deterrence, more generally, I have written commentary in E-International Relations and in War is Boring.
In my spare time, I dabble in film. My biggest passion is in music, however. For the video of a musical tribute to MIT's Security Studies Program I helped make, follow this link. I have two places that I consider home: Windsor-Detroit and Krakow, Poland.
Below you will find abstracts of my book project and published articles as well as information on my teaching.
Atomic Assurance: The Alliance Politics of Nuclear Proliferation
How do alliances curb potential and actual efforts by states to develop nuclear weapons, if at all? My book looks at what makes alliances so credible as to prevent nuclear proliferation, how alliances can breakdown and encourage nuclear proliferation, and whether guarantors like the United States can use their alliance ties to end the nuclear efforts of an ally. I argue that allies determine the credibility of the security guarantees they receive with reference to their guarantor's foreign policy doctrine and conventional military deployments. When a state experiences unfavorable adjustments in their received alliance commitments (e.g., troop withdrawals), it becomes more likely to consider (at least) acquiring nuclear weapons. I also argue that security guarantors often face severe challenges in getting its ally to renounce nuclear weapons. For one, it must repair the broken security guarantee. For another, its best potential source of leverage is in its economic power over the ally, that is, to the extent that such leverage exists. As such, the record of alliances in managing nuclear proliferation is more mixed than some accounts presume. I show that some key American allies backed away from nuclear weapons for reasons other than American coercion. Drawing on my own archival research, I support my argument using intensive case studies on West Germany, Japan, and South Korea as well as a series of smaller cases on France and Great Britain.
This book project is based on my dissertation. A draft of the introductory chapter of the book is available here. The dissertation chapter on South Korea is available here as well. My dissertation is embargoed, but please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to have a copy of it.
Under what conditions do major powers provide client states defense pacts, weapons, or both? We propose a novel theory that explains variation in major powers' decisions regarding the combination of security commitments to extend to client states. We argue that patrons base these decisions on two factors: first, whether the patron and the client have overlapping threat portfolios; and second, whether the patron believes the client can deter its main adversary, shared or not. These two variables interact to shape the patron's willingness to grant four categories of security goods: arms transfers alongside some form of alliance commitment, alliance commitments alone, arms transfers alone, or nothing. Using several collections of recently declassified materials, we assess our arguments through careful process tracing of US commitment choices to Taiwan and Israel from the 1950s to the 1980s. Both cases provide variation in our explanatory variables. They also include multiple observations that enable assessments of different decision points during which US policymakers deliberated whether to offer those client states alliance commitments, arms, or both. We find strong support for our theory and weak support for a domestic politics explanation. In addition to important foreign policy implications, the theory and findings contribute to the study of interstate signaling, extended deterrence, and foreign policy substitution.
The US Army is under pressure. If trends persist, it will soon shrink to its smallest size in nearly 70 years. While there are sound arguments for the current drawdown, reasonable policies can still yield unintended consequences. In particular, we argue American land power helps make America's conventional and nuclear security guarantees credible. Since these guarantees stabilize alliances, deter aggression, and curb nuclear proliferation, land power's relative decline could have serious implications for the broader security situation of the United States.
Since early 2014 how Russia has used force against Ukraine has prompted some observers to remark that it is engaging in 'hybrid warfare'. This form of military statecraft has made some Eastern European countries fear that Russia would use subversion rather than pursue a conventional military engagement against them. Despite this concern about Russian hybrid war, existing descriptions of this form of war suffer from conceptual weaknesses. I conceive hybrid warfare as a marriage of conventional deterrence and insurgent tactics. That is, the belligerent uses insurgent tactics against its target while using its conventional military power to deter a strong military response. I then outline why some Eastern European countries are susceptible to Russian hybrid warfare, allowing me to postulate inductively the conditions under which hybrid warfare might be used in general. My analysis yields two policy implications. First, military solutions are not wholly appropriate against hybrid warfare since it exploits latent ethnic grievances and weak civil societies. Second, only under narrow circumstances would belligerents resort to hybrid warfare. Belligerents need to be revisionist and militarily stronger than their targets, but they also need to have ethnic or linguistic ties with the target society to leverage in waging hybrid warfare.
Why the First World War ended in 1918 and not earlier remains a major puzzle. We propose a new theory that emphasizes how honor prolongs wars beyond what rationalist theories can explain. It argues that when honor is insulted, an affronted actor will strive to punish the offender. Absent an apology, the pursuit of a satisfactory punishment leads the affronted belligerent to ignore unfavorable battlefield information, hold logically irreconcilable beliefs, process information in emotional terms, and obsess over status. We predict that wars of prevention and territorial occupation are most likely to elicit honor considerations. We test our argument against an obscure episode in the war where Germany, and the United States, made peace overtures in December 1916. We demonstrate that honor concerns made Entente decision-makers see German aggression as an affront to their honor that only the destruction of Germany's political regime could redress.
American scholars, pundits, and politicians often remark that American allies do not do enough to advance their own security interests, preferring instead to free ride on the United States. In this essay, I question the logic of such claims. I then proceed to show evidence of European allies balancing against adversaries and not free riding on their American patron during the Cold War and in the present. I find that concerns of allies free riding are overblown.
In categorizing international hierarchies, theorists often emphasize some balance between levels of consent and coercion. I show that emphasis on these terms is conceptually problematic. Borrowing insights from republican political theory, I argue that we can better distinguish hierarchies on the basis of whether they feature domination. Under domination the subordinate's freedom of choice is contingent upon the predilections of the superordinate state, which can assert its supremacy whenever and possibly however it may please. Moreover, subordinate states cannot unilaterally and peacefully withdraw from the hierarchy. By contrast, in hierarchies of non-domination the superordinate state enjoys the `powers of attorney' with which it might be permitted to practice coercion in order to advance an agreed-upon goal. The contract underpinning this type of hierarchy also allows for the unilateral and peaceful termination by the subordinate, either through withdrawal or expiry. I demonstrate the applicability of this conceptual framework by examining Soviet and American relations with Central-Eastern and Western Europe, respectively, during the Cold War.
Dr. Alexander Lanoszka
Department of International Politics
School of Arts and Social Sciences
City University London
London EC1V 0HB