Bandwagoning in International Relations: China, Russia, and Their Neighbors

by Dylan Motin (Kangwon National University, Korea)

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Overall, the book presents the first full-fledged neorealist attempt to explain bandwagoning. The argument is logical, clearly stated, and consistent with prior neorealist scholarship. The demonstration is suitable, but the book will mostly preach to the realist choir. Nonetheless, non-realist readers will also find insightful information, as it will likely provide a yardstick to discuss bandwagoning for the coming years.

[Extract from book review appearing on 'E-International Relations' - Feb 29 2024. Reviewer: Alexandre Haym]

When and why do minor states ‘bandwagon’ with regional powers that might be a threat to them? This is the question that Bandwagoning in International Relations: China, Russia, and Their Neighbors addresses. The book is timely and much needed since there are relatively few in-depth analyses on the postures of minor states despite the term being commonly used
in contemporary discussions of international security. Its extensive coverage on the alignment strategies of Armenia, Belarus, Cambodia, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, and Serbia makes it a worthy piece for readers
keen on understanding the security dynamics of minor states in Asia and Europe. [...]

[Extract from book review on 'Asian Affairs.' 15 Mar 2024. Reviewer: Anthony Toh Han Yang.]

Whether states balance against or bandwagon with threatening great powers remains an unsolved problem for international relations theory. One school argues that military power compels minor powers to accommodate threats, while another defends that it elicits balancing instead. With the emergence of potential hegemons in both Asia and Europe — namely China and Russia — understanding state alignment is more urgent than ever. This book shows that bandwagoning has been a rare choice in contemporary Asia and Europe. The only states that chose bandwagoning with China or Russia faced both conflicts with third rivals and low levels of U.S. assistance. Going further, I divide bandwagoning between full alignment, survival accommodation, and profit accommodation. Bandwagoners choose among these three options based on the severity of the threat posed by the potential hegemon, the intensity of third conflicts, and the level of U.S. assistance. I test this novel theory against three European (Armenia, Belarus, and Serbia) and four Asian (Cambodia, Myanmar, North Korea, and Pakistan) cases. This study is the first to provide an exhaustive and compelling explanation of bandwagoning fully compatible with neorealism and adds to the balancing-bandwagoning debate. Beyond scholarly implications, this research’s findings offer advice for policymakers concerned with the changing balance of power in Asia and Europe and how to counter China and Russia’s influence.

List of Figures
List of Tables
Chapter I Introduction
Chapter II A Neorealist Theory of Bandwagoning
Chapter III Cases in Europe
Chapter IV Cases in Asia
Chapter V Conclusion
Appendix 1. Case Selection
Appendix 2. Calculations of Military Expenditures

Dylan Motin is a Ph.D. candidate majoring in political science at Kangwon National University. He was previously a Marcellus Policy Fellow at the John Quincy Adams Society and a visiting research fellow at the Institute for Far Eastern Studies. Dylan was named one of the Next Generation Korea Peninsula Specialists at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and a Young Leader of the Pacific Forum. His research expertise revolves around international relations theory, and his main interests are balance-of-power theory, great power competition, and Korean affairs.

Accommodation; Alignment; Alliances; Anarchy; Armenia; Balance of Power; Balancing; Balkans; Bandwagoning; Belarus; Buck-Passing; Cambodia; Caucasus; China; Cold War; Defensive Realism; Distribution of Power; Domino Theory; Eastern Europe; Foreign Affairs; Foreign Policy; Geography; Geopolitics; Hegemony; Influence; International Relations; International Relations Theory; International Security; Military Power; Myanmar; Neorealism; North Korea; Northeast Asia; Offensive Realism; Pakistan; Potential Hegemon; Power; Realism; Russia; Security Studies; Serbia; South Asia; Southeast Asia; Strategic Studies; Structural Realism; Threat; United States; U.S.-China Relations; U.S. Foreign Policy; U.S.-Russia Relations

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Bandwagoning in International Relations: China, Russia, and Their Neighbors
Number of pages
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
8 B&W
Publication date
January 2024