Alliance management of post-Cold War US-Israeli relations

  • Wun Liong CHAU

Student thesis: MPhil Thesis (Lingnan)


There is always a controversial debate on why the US-Israeli relationship can enjoy lengthy endurance (even after the end of the Cold War). Scholars have traditionally offered explanations through either the strategic role of Israel to the US, or domestic factors including the Jewish lobbies in the US, or the cultural affinities between the two states. However, they tend to emphasize the significance of only one particular dimension, marginalizing possible insights from competitive dimensions.

This research aims to offer a different approach to study US-Israeli relations through alliance management theories. Although there are no formal military treaties between the US and Israel, the relationship between the two states is indeed a de facto alliance. Therefore alliance management theories are applicable to the study on the US-Israel relations. A new explanation transcending the boundaries amongst various traditional approaches can be achieved.

This research showed phased fluctuations within this bilateral alliance. Critical junctures, including (i) the end of the Cold war, (ii) the 9/11 incident, (iii) US turmoil in post-war Iraq, forced the US to redefine its top interests in the Middle East. The US-Israeli alliance will become more tension-prone when allying partners experience growing conflicting top interests or weakening shared top interests. Successful alliance management between the two states could stabilize the relations in case of high conflicting interests while consolidate the relations in case of low conflicting interests. The US-Israeli alliance has successfully limited the level of tensions and thus maintained a close and stable relationship even after the end of the Cold War.
Date of Award2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Political Science
SupervisorBaohui ZHANG (Supervisor) & Brian John Edward BRIDGES (Supervisor)

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