Social origins of alliances: uneven and combined development and the case of Jordan 1955-7
Allinson, James Christopher
This thesis answers the question: ‘what explains Jordan’s international alignments between 1955 and 1957?’ In so doing, the thesis addresses the broader question of why states in the Global South make alignments and explores the conditions under which these alignments are generated. The thesis advances beyond existing accounts in the historical and International Relations (IR) literature: especially the ‘omni-balancing school who argue that in Southern States, ruling regimes balance or bandwagon (like state actors in neo-realist theory) but directed against both internal and external threats. This thesis argues that such explanations explain Southern state behaviour by some lack or failure in comparison to the states of the global North. The thesis argues that omnibalancing imports neo-realist assumptions inside the state, endowing regimes with an autonomy they do not necessarily hold. The thesis adopts the theoretical framework of uneven and combined development to overcome these challenges in explaining Jordan’s alignments between 1955 and 1957. Using this case study, at a turning point in the international relations of the Middle East where Jordan could have taken either path, the thesis illuminates the potential utility of this theoretical framework for the region as a whole. The thesis argues that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries a ‘combined social formation’ emerged east of the Jordan river through the processes of Ottoman mimetic reform, land reform and state formation under the British mandate. The main characteristics of this social formation were a relatively egalitarian rural land-holding structure and a mechanism of combination with the global capitalist system through British subsidy to the former nomadic pastoralists in the armed forces, replacing formerly tributary relations. The thesis traces the social bases of the struggles that produced Jordan’s alignments between 1955 and 1957 to the emergence of this combined social formation and presents case studies of: the Jordanian responses to the Baghdad Pact, expulsion of British officers in the Jordanian armed forces, the Suez Crisis, abrogation of the Anglo- Jordanian treaty and acceptance of US aid at the time of the Eisenhower Doctrine. The thesis will be of interest in the fields of IR and Middle East studies: contributing to IR by critiquing existing approaches and demonstrating the utility of a new theoretical framework that can overcome the dichotomy of universality/specificity in the region.