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From friends to strangers: A theory of interstate security cooperation applied to German-American relations, 1945-1995.

Berenskotter, Felix Sebastian (2008) From friends to strangers: A theory of interstate security cooperation applied to German-American relations, 1945-1995. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The aim of this thesis is to advance a theory of friendship and estrangement between states as an explanation for the emergence and decline of interstate security cooperation, defined as costly investment in a shared international institution. It seeks to illuminate dynamics in (West)German-American relations between 1945 and 1995, specifically Germany's subsequent investment in three different security institutions for the purpose of 'European security' which gradually excluded the United States: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1945-55), the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1965-75) and the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy (1985-95). Suggesting that the three dominant IR paradigms - realism, institutionalism and constructivism - cannot explain this dynamic, the thesis applies a phenomenological lens to explore the parameters of the national security interest and the motivation for security cooperation by interrogating what it means for the state to exist. Combining insights from Heidegger and Aristotle, the first part argues that states (i) attempt to control anxiety through the formulation of an authentic biographical narrative inscribed in space and time, and that they (ii) attempt to stabilize their narrative by embedding it in a project of 'world building' negotiated with friends through shared institutions. It further argues that (iii) enduring dissonance within this relationship signifies a process of estrangement and leads to a strategy of emancipation by investing in an alternative institution with another friend. The second part applies this theoretical frame to explain the abovementioned dynamic with (dis)agreements between German and American policymakers over visions of European order embedded in respective national biographies. The thesis argues that the consensus of using NATO for building a 'peaceful Europe' in the Western space on the principles of 'freedom' and 'unity' weakened when (a) US administrations came to question the desirability of the latter for the American narrative and were willing to use military means to build the 'free world', while (b) German governments came to pursue the vision of having Germany unfold in a Greater European Peace Order marked by 'unity' through peaceful means.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, International Relations
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > International Relations

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