Strategy of Alliance Management: Procedural Autonomy in U.S.-China Competition

Monday, April 10, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central, C330
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
  • Ayumi Teraoka
Strategy of Alliance Management: Procedural Autonomy in U.S.-China Competition

When and how can senior allies best manage and strengthen their asymmetric alliances by shaping junior allies’ policy choices in their peacetime geopolitical competitions with third-party rivals? More specifically, in issue areas where China has opposing preferences, why does the United States sometimes successfully bolster defense cooperation with its allies, yet at other times fail to do so?

In this talk, Dr. Ayumi Teraoka will share findings from her book project, Strategy of Alliance Management: Procedural Autonomy in U.S.-China Competition, which addresses these questions. She will introduce a theory of procedural autonomy protection, which argues that the relative balance of respect a senior ally and its rival pay toward a junior ally’s procedural autonomy—the freedom over how to reach and present a particular choice without the appearance of foreign influence—is critical in shaping the junior ally’s domestic political dynamics and helps explain its policy choices on contested geopolitical questions. She will illustrate the theoretical mechanism using historical case studies of the U.S.-Japan Alliance and Japan’s decision-making processes surrounding its role in a Taiwan contingency. Her research draws on declassified archival materials, policymakers’ memoirs and oral histories in Japanese and English, and extensive interviews she conducted with thirty-five former senior officials from the United States and Japan. She will conclude by offering lessons for today’s U.S.-China competition. 


Headshot for Ayumi Teraoka

Ayumi Teraoka is an America in the World Consortium Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on coercive diplomacy, alliance politics in the Indo-Pacific, and Japanese foreign policy and national security. She is a past recipient of numerous fellowships and grants, including Princeton University’s A.B. Krongard fellowship, Bradley fellowship, and the Smith Richardson Foundation’s World Politics and Statecraft Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in PS: Political Science & Politics, Georgetown Journal of Asian Affairs, The Japan Times, and Foreign Policy, among others. Previously, Dr. Teraoka worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC. She holds a Ph.D. and an M.A. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University, an M.A. in Asian Studies from Georgetown University, and a B.A. in Law from Keio University.