"By empirically demonstrating the ubiquity of limited alignment by Southeast Asian states since 1975, John Ciorciari usefully redirects our attention toward complexly contingent engagement as normal behavior in international relations. His argument is timely too, in that it showcases responses to uncertainty---a prominent current and likely future condition of (in)security in world affairs."---Donald K. Emmerson, director, Southeast Asia Forum, Stanford University
"[This] book challenges conventional wisdom about the alignment behavior of developing countries. Based on a systematic and superb analysis...an important contribution to international relations theory and Southeast Asian studies."---Yuen Foong Khong, professor of international relations and John G. Winant University Lecturer, Nuffield College, Oxford University
The Limits of Alignment is an engaging and accessible study that explores how small states and middle powers of Southeast Asia ensure their security in a world where they are over-shadowed by greater powers. John D. Ciorciari challenges a central concept in international relations theory---that states respond to insecurity by either balancing against their principal foes, "bandwagoning" with them, or declaring themselves neutral. Instead, he shows that developing countries prefer limited alignments that steer between strict neutrality and formal alliances to obtain the fruits of security cooperation without the perils of undue dependency.
Ciorciari also shows how structural and normative shifts following the end of the Cold War and the advent of U.S. primacy have increased the prevalence of limited alignments in the developing world and that these can often place constraints on U.S. foreign policy. Finally, he discusses how limited alignments in the developing world may affect the future course of international security as China and other rising powers gather influence on the world stage.
Draws from an impressive selection of secondary sources ... For those who are interested in constructing grand theoretical structures through which to understand foreign relations, Ciorciari's book is of clear value. It adds complexity to a particular view of the world and, crucially, emphasizes the agency of state actors in countries that are assigned the 'developing country' label. South East Asia Research