Lynne Rienner Publishers Logo

Coalition Politics and the Iraq War: Determinants of Choice

Daniel F. Baltrusaitis
Coalition Politics and the Iraq War: Determinants of Choice
ISBN: 978-1-935049-15-9
ISBN: 978-1-935049-81-4
2009/259 pages/LC: 2009028624
A FirstForumPress Book
"Fascinates the reader by highly illuminating dense empirical accounts of recent events.... This book can be clearly recommended to the policy community and those interested in understanding both today’s coalition of the willing and U.S. foreign policy."—Moritz Weiss, International Studies Review

"An excellent addition to comparative foreign policy research. It points out the variation in real-world policies that many theories of international relations continue to ignore, and it explains puzzling choices through multiple theoretical lenses and with in-depth empirical decision-making analyses."—Juliet Kaarbo, Perspectives on Politics

"The author skillfully analyzes the process of decision making and provides important insights into the ways that different countries approached the demands and requests of the US.... This work gives the reader a firm sense of the operative dynamics of choice."—Choice

"Essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the 'coalitions of the willing' that have become central to US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War.... The analysis is highly relevant not just to ongoing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also to attempts to build coalitions to sanction Iran and North Korea for their nuclear weapons programs."—Andrew Bennett, Georgetown University

"Addressing the puzzle of coalition burden sharing, Baltrusaitis provides an important and policy relevant addition to our understanding of both foreign policy decisionmaking and the crucial interplay between domestic politics and alliance behavior."—Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University

"Provides new insights.... Baltrusaitis’s research helps us to better understand the difficult choices that states made regarding the war in Iraq, as well as the array of factors that shape foreign policy decisions involving war and peace." —Ryan C. Hendrickson, Eastern Illinois University


Why do states join ad hoc military coalitions? What motivated South Korea to contribute significantly to the Iraq War "coalition of the willing," while such steadfast allies as Turkey and Germany resisted US pressure to become burden-sharing partners? Drawing on his extensive examination of South Korean, German, and Turkish politics in the approach to and during the Iraq War, Daniel Baltrusaitis offers an in-depth analysis of how domestic political dynamics critically influence a state's level of material and diplomatic support to "coalitions of choice."


Daniel F. Baltrusaitis is assistant professor of international security studies at the US Air War College. His analysis of US Air Force doctrine in Centralized Control with Decentralized Execution: Never Divide the Fleet received the Douhet-Mitchell Award for visionary research.


  • Untangling the Puzzle of Coalition Burden Sharing.
  • South Korea: Between Iraq and a Nuclear Crisis.
  • Germany: Non-coalition, but Cooperating.
  • Turkey: Involuntary Defection and Eventual Rapprochement.
  • Putting the Pieces Together.