Building Multilateral Military Coalitions: A Study of Bribery and Coercion in Controversial Military Interventions

Student: Marina Rae Roski
Major: Political Science with an International Relations Focus
Minor: Economics
Advisors: Jeff Lantis, Sid Simpson

M RoskiThis study focuses on the interactions and exchanges between countries which allow multilateral military coalitions to form. Especially in coalitions that are not condoned by the majority of the international community, coalition leaders must employ certain strategies in order to obtain coalition members. The driving question in this study is “what strategies utilized by the United States government are most often used to obtain certain types of support for multilateral military coalition efforts?” The role of the United Nations in coalition building is also in question. To address these questions, a comparative case study examining the coalition of the First Persian Gulf War and the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ of the Iraq War is employed. The cases highlight the highest level of contribution from each member state and the most threatening strategy used by the lead country to obtain each member state. Ultimately, the data from both case studies is combined to draw conclusions on all aspects of the research question.

Marina will be online to field comments on May 8:
2-4pm EDT (PST 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)

57 thoughts on “Building Multilateral Military Coalitions: A Study of Bribery and Coercion in Controversial Military Interventions”

  1. I learned a lot from your presentation! What was the inspiration for your topic?

    1. Kat,
      I would say that my general interest in military affairs and United States foreign policy inspired this topic. I also wanted to find a way to incorporate international political economy into my project, which this topic allowed me to do. When I came across a piece of work studying coalition building in an academic journal, I realized that it was fairly under researched and something I was quite interested in exploring more.
      Thank you for your question!

  2. Marina,

    How wonderful to see this come to fruition! It’s great to see how your ideas have evolved since last year.

    I’m fascinated by the data you collected in your case studies. You mentioned the sources including military documents, Presidential Libraries, etc. What sources do you wish you had access to that you were not able to utilize? Do you think those sources would have provided more/different information to help you code threats and rewards?

    1. Hi Professor Krain!

      I think that the sources I utilized gave me the best possible chance at proving useful and accurate information, so I would not necessarily change my sources. However, there are many documents (or parts of documents) within these sources that are not available to the public. For example, in the documents I reviewed from the Bush Presidential Library, there were often large black boxes covering up information that is still classified. So, I believe that if I had access to all of the information present within the sources I utilized, then I may have had different findings regarding threats and rewards utilized by the U.S. government.

      Thank you for the question!

  3. Great Presentation! I was wondering if you had a sense of the magnitude of the economic rewards? Did they vary in size, by country, by country size, or alliance type? Which country got the highest economic reward? Can you also speak more about how you quantified “economic threat”?

    1. Professor Moledina,

      Hello! Yes, I was indeed able to find the magnitude of economic rewards offered to periphery states. I actually have an entire excel sheet with the exact type and size of rewards and threats received by periphery states, however I did not include all of the specifics in my project. I instead used these specifics to more easily categorize and generalize the type of strategy used.

      While I did not study the trends in depth, I would say that yes, the magnitude of threats did vary based on a few different things. I would say that they mainly varied on the amount of dependence the periphery state had on the United States, their wealth on the international scale, and how much the United States desired their participation. For example, Estonia was offered (and accepted) a three million dollar offer for their contribution of combat troops – the highest level of contribution on my scale. While this amount of money is often unimaginable to smaller countries dependent not the United States for their well being, larger and more independent countries were offered larger rewards.

      For example, Turkey was offered (and ended up turning down) and 22 billion dollar reward offered to them in exchange of allowing the coalition to invade Iraq from Turkey’s southern boarder. This reward offered to Turkey was the largest of the two coalitions I studied, and was offered for only logistic support- the second lowest level of contribution, only above verbal support.

      In regards to question about how I quantified “economic threat,” I would not necessarily say that I quantified this type of strategy as much as I operationalized and defined it. There are aspects of economic threats that can be quantified such as the length of sanctions/tariffs and how much U.S. aid was denied to/taken away from periphery states. However, the size or type of economic threat was not made explicit in all the cases included in the final draft of my study.

      While I did not include every specific type/size of strategy used to obtain participation, I did perform and include a series of “mini case studies” within each case study where I discussed the specific types of strategies utilized by the United States to obtain certain periphery states as members.

      Thank you for you question and I hope my response was helpful!

  4. Hi Marina: Congratulations on developing such an interesting thesis. There seems to be significant potential for application of these ideas in cross-national perspectives. Way to go!

    1. Professor Lantis,

      Thank you! And of course, thank you for your help and mentorship throughout this entire process!

  5. Great work – and great presentation. I’m so glad to have the chance to hear about what you worked on this year. Well done!

    1. Thank you, Professor Shaya! I am glad we were able to work together way back during my freshman year!

  6. Marina awesome job! I am proud of you and all the hard work and many hours that went into this presentation! Excited to see all that is in store for your future, congrats!! 🙂

    1. This may not be quite as exciting as space exploration policies, but thank you Kenyon!

  7. Dear Ms. Roski,

    Interesting study of political hegemony and the role of the United Nations.

    1. Mr. Harrison,

      Thank you! Yes, role of the United Nations is quite unique in situations such as these, especially when in contention with the desires of the United States.

      1. Dear Ms. Roski,

        I hope you might consider a career in international diplomacy, if you aren’t already. I keep in contact with Ambassador Harriet Elam-Thomas, diplomat-in-residence at my home institution, the University of Central Florida (UCF). She encourages students to pursue such a path. Wooster has a distinguished legacy of State Department and international diplomacy alumni. As but one example, Mr. Jeff Marzilli ’80, M.A., Johns Hopkins, who just recently retired from the UN food and hunger program. There’s also Jane Abel Coon ’51, who was ambassador to Bangladesh, 1981-84. So many other Wooster folks I could name.

  8. Great job, Marina! I’m so excited to see the amazing things you do in the future!!

    1. Thank you, Maegan! I am excited to see you continue your career in softball and political science (hopefully!) as well!

  9. Hi Marina,

    Wonderful presentation! This is such an interesting topic to explore in the international landscape of past and present conflicts. I wonder how carrots and sticks will look in the future with potential multinational incidents of digital warfare?
    Best of luck with your future studies and career!

    1. Ms. Abo,

      Thank you! Yes, this is a very interesting and relevant element of war, especially as we progress into the future. I can imagine that carrots and sticks will operate in similar ways as I observed, but they will be altered based on their context. For example, it is possible that instead of using military related carrots and sticks, strategies related to blackmail and cyber security could be utilized instead. After all, we can already see war beginning to be fought at a distance, which could be used to explain why I did not find many military related strategies throughout my project.

      Definitely an interesting thought, thank you again!

  10. Wow, I am so excited to see this finally come together! I definitely learned something new today. Great job on presenting the material in a way that is easily understandable for someone with no background in this field. Good luck in your future endeavors!

  11. Marina, great analysis. Congratulations on capping off four successful years at the COW!

    I would like to ask you a couple of questions though. These concern your analysis as applied to our current global situation.

    Both of your case studies dealt with conflicts in oil exporting countries. Now that the world is awash in oil, I was wondering how your research indicates this could effect coalition building for conflicts located in geographic regions that are economically dependent on oil exportation, and conversely on those conflicts in areas that are primarily dependent on energy importation. Also, what new or different sticks and carrots do you now think could be effectively used to encourage or discourage governments dependent on revenue from petrodollars from joining or opposing military coalitions.

    1. Reagan,

      What a very thoughtful, insightful question! As I am sure you are aware, the falling oil prices and debate over oil rights during the mid-to-late 1900s affected basically the entire globe, but especially those countries in the Middle East who were economically dependent on oil exports. Given this, I will address your first question in specific regard to the First Persian Gulf War.

      Now, allow me to address the earlier part of your first question. As I observed throughout my data collection process, the types of rewards/threats imposed by the United States onto desired coalition members were dependent on a few different things. While I did not discuss this directly in my thesis, I observed that countries which were struggling financially were more likely to join the coalition. They assumed themselves unable to survive if a threat from the United States were to be imposed upon them. They were unable to turn down economic rewards offered to them simply due to the economic hardships they were facing. So, when the United States sought them out as members, they were far less likely to decline. Due to the fact that many countries in the Middle East were struggling economically, it makes sense why even countries loyal to Iraq and Hussein sided with the U.S. led coalition. Moreover, because the coalition’s goals targeted the country responsible for these falling oil prices (which in turn led to physical altercations) it makes sense why countries dependent on oil would be more likely to join the cause.

      Continuing to the latter part of your first question, my answer would be quite similar to the previous one. Especially in the First Persian Gulf War, where oil and all of its implications were main causes of the war, countries who were dependent on the oil in anyway were more likely to join. As I explained in my presentation, not many U.S. strategies were needed to build this coalition. I credit this observation to the overall dependence on oil and international agreement that a coalition was necessary and had legitimate goals.

      However, in the case of the 2003 Iraq War, I do not believe that a country’s dependence on oil exports or energy imports played nearly as large of a role in coalition building as it did just over a decade prior – despite taking place in the same region. Again, I simply believe this relates back to the causes of the wars and intent/goals of the coalition.

      Lastly, a few comments on your last question regarding different types of carrots and sticks. “Carrots” and “sticks” can come in many, many different forms. The United States was able to successfully identify strengths and weaknesses within desired coalition members, and mold the strategies utilized around this information. I also believe that the type of carrots/sticks used could be dependent on the causes/context/goals of the coalition being formed. I have no doubt that the different forms of carrots and sticks used against governments dependent on revenue from petrodollars are quite complex, creative, and adverse. A simple example could be the United States threatening to sanction oil producing and exporting states. Also, given that the United States also has much leadership in international organizations, it is quite possible that they could influence other countries to impose similar threats onto these states.

      I hope this answered your questions! You are wise beyond your years.

  12. Phenomenal work! As an old war dog, I read with great interest your examination of our coalitions involved in the Gulf conflicts.

  13. Marina!!! Congrats on completing IS!! You’re so incredibly smart and hardworking and your future is so bright!! I hope you are super proud of everything you’ve accomplished at Woo, especially this project.

    My question is, if you could change anything about the way you approached IS, what would it be?

    1. Rachel,

      Thank you! If I could change one thing about the way I approached IS, it would be to take wholistic views at my work more often. As my advisor Dr. Lantis reminded me throughout this process, “do not lose the forest in the trees.” It can be very difficult to remember what exactly was written in the literature review section while writing a methodology or analysis section. I would recommend re-reading your previous work often to make sure all lose ends are being addressed!

      I hope this was helpful!

  14. Way to Go! Interesting topic. Stick & carrots approach. Military sanctions. Learned a lot. The Navy will be proud to have you!

  15. Hi Marina – An interesting project, thanks for sharing!

    I am curious to backtrack a little bit to get a clearer idea on the theoretical and literature underpinnings of your project. I thought initially that different theoretical notions of power would be tested more directly in your project – do you think such a “theory testing” IS would have worked in relation to your study? You seem to return to this in your Concluding thoughts when talking about the power of the United Nations, so it would be great to have a bit of a clearer understanding of the theoretical lens you are using to observe and reflect on the UN at this point.

    And since you do introduce UN Security Council resolutions as part of your model, do you think it would be valuable to draw more directly on UN-related literature on the dynamics of the Security Council and address US efforts in the Security Council to diplomatically win over resolution support/failure a bit more directly?

    1. Professor Kille,

      Thank you for your questions! I believe that a theory testing IS would have definitely been possible for a topic similar to mine. However, I do not think it would have been effective in answering my specific research question. The main purpose of including these theories of power was to explore the one aspect of coalition building that was agreed upon within the field. This aspect is the necessity of power possessed by the core state leading the coalition. But “power” can mean different things and can take different forms, and I felt that this was important for my audience to understand. Most often, people associate power with brute strength of a military or size of an economy. However, bodies such as the United Nations, and even the United States, sometimes need to rely on power outside of quantifiable forms.

      I originally intended to study the United Nations’ effect on the strategies used by the United States, simply because the United Nations is assumed to have the ability to deem international efforts as legitimate, necessary, reasonable, or not (possibly due to social power). I then took the idea of a coalition’s legitimacy and connected that the type and amount of strategies used to obtain members. For example, in the First Persian Gulf War, the United Nations supported the coalition. The United States was not observed as needing to utilize many strategies to obtain coalition members in this war. Of the few strategies observed, they were all rewards. This contrasts with the 2003 Iraq War, which did not have the support of the UN. The United States found themselves without many voluntary participants, and has to resort to strategies to obtain members. So again, I viewed the United Nations as a body capable of deeming the coalition legitimate. Hopefully this is helpful in addressing your question.

      In regards to your last question, yes, it is quite possible that looking into such literature could have been helpful. While I did reference specific resolutions passed the UNSC, understanding the dynamic of which they operated may have been useful when examining the root of a coalition’s “legitimacy.”

      On a bit of a side note, I found that there were often times of coercion taking place between members of the security council. This coercion could potential undermine the belief that they have the ability to determine what is good, legitimate, and reasonable.

      1. Thanks for the reply, Marina! The Intro IR students you TAed for last semester certainly would have been proud of your engagement with and nuanced discussion of power. There is an interesting literature out there on UN SC and legitimacy if you ever want to follow up – but I know you have more pressing post-Wooster plans 🙂

        Wishing you all the best – be sure to check in and let me know how things are going.

  16. Great work Marina! I thought this was a very interesting topic and I am so proud of all the work you put into this study. I can’t wait to see what amazing things you accomplish in the future!

    1. Thank you Kylie! I cannot wait to watch you go through the rest of your college career in school, softball, and soccer! You too will do amazing things!

  17. Great job Marina! I loved listening to you explain your research! Very proud 🙂

  18. Congratulations on a great IS! I really enjoyed listening to your presentation and your topic was really interesting to me. The point you made about there possibly needing to be more coercion used in the Iraq War because of the lack of UN support is very interesting and I’d be excited to know if that has, in fact, made a difference in many scenarios!

    I’m very proud of you and all the work you have put in to academics and athletics at Wooster. You have so many great things ahead of you!

  19. Great job Marina!! Congrats on completing your I.S. You have so much to be proud of during your time at Wooster! Wishing you nothing but the best in the future!

  20. Great work, Marina, and very thorough explanation of your research. Good luck with what’s next!

  21. Marina,

    I am so proud of you! Your presentation was so professional and interesting. Is there anything you would have done differently throughout your I.S process? What was the most difficult part? I am grateful to have you as a best friend and a roommate. I wish you all the best of luck in your new chapter!

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