Coral Bell's Alliance Politics: Practitioner and Pundit

Power and International Relations

Author/s (editor/s):

William Tow

Publication year:


Publication type:

Book chapter

Find this publication at:
ANU Press

William T. Tow, ‘Coral Bell’s Alliance Politics: Practitioner and Pundit’, in Desmond Ball and Sheryn Lee, eds, Power and International Relations: Essays in Honour of Coral Bell, Canberra: ANU Press, 2014, pp. 106-18.

Coral Bell was Australia’s premier expert on alliance politics during and after the Cold War. She was both a practitioner in and pundit on this subject. Three key dimensions of Bell’s work on alliance politics are discussed in this chapter. First, an assessment of her work indicates that she ranks among the very best of all those who have written on alliance theory. Second, her work on alliance leadership and power balancing was particularly incisive. Third, she sought to reconcile traditional alliance postures with the politics of concert in the twenty-first century. In this, she fused her remarkable grasp of diplomatic history with objective thinking about how historic changes in contemporary global security relations were affecting the Western alliance system and its Australian-American component.

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