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The United States' alliances with Japan and Australia are the most important bilateral security alliances in the Asia-Pacific. Given the uncertain strategic conditions in the wider region, the relative weight of these relations is bound to increase. While a lot has been written about the alliances, there have been few studies which have attempted to apply a comparative framework to these key relationships. The alliances differ markedly in their various aspects as well as in regard to their strategic environments, but have arguably developed in what might be described as parallel trajectories since the late 1980s. From the perspective of alliance theory, they provide an example of asymmetrical alliance relations during a period of changing systemic structure. I will attempt to assess the development of the alliances after the Cold War with the specific aim of further contributing to the theoretical models of change in security alliances.
Sampo Kemppainen is a currently a PhD Candidate at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. He was originally affiliated with the Finnish Defence Forces, completing his undergraduate education in the Finnish National Defence University. After graduating from the Defence University, he served in the Finnish Defence Force for five years including, most recently, a 10-month tour in Afghanistan in the role of military adviser. Sampo also holds completed bachelor's and master's degrees in International Relations from the University of Helsinki's Department of Political Science.