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Center of gravity: domestic institutions and the victory of liberal strategy in Cold War Europe

Martill, Benjamin (2018) Center of gravity: domestic institutions and the victory of liberal strategy in Cold War Europe. Security Studies. ISSN 0963-6412

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Identification Number: 10.1080/09636412.2018.1508636


Cold War strategy in Western Europe almost exclusively followed the US policy of containment. Conventional explanations for this continuity, however, fail to account for both the strategic rationale and the scale of domestic support behind attempts to disengage from the Cold War. This article seeks to explain why containment won out over disengagement in European strategy. By highlighting the underlying liberal tenets of containment, it argues this victory owed more to the advantages afforded the political center by the political institutions of Western Europe than to the logic of containment strategy itself. The occupation of the center-ground by advocates of containment afforded them distinct institutional advantages, including an increased likelihood of representation in government, greater bargaining strength relative to other parties, and limited sources of viable opposition. The dependence of containment strategy on centrist strength is demonstrated through a discussion of the politics of strategy in the French Fourth Republic.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2018 10:13
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 23:21

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