Miller Center

Sarah Kreps

Government, Georgetown University

Power, Arms, and Allies: U.S. Multilateralism in an Age of Unipolarity

Kreps photo

Sarah Kreps is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University and the co-director of the Cornell Law School International Law-International Relations Colloquium.

Kreps' research focuses on issues of international security, particularly questions of conflict and cooperation, alliance politics, political economy, and nuclear proliferation. Current projects examine the effect of war on domestic institutions; the ethics of conflict; and the relationship between financial costs of war and democratic accountability.

Her dissertation asked: Why does the unipolar power often intervene multilaterally when it has the capacity to act alone? What explains the variation between the broad multilateralism associated with interventions such as the first Gulf War and, conversely, cases in which the U.S. is more willing to exercise its freedom of action and intervene more unilaterally, as in the 2003 Iraq war? Kreps's dissertation addressed these questions through a combination of theoretical and empirical work on U.S.-led interventions since 1945. Kreps discussed the role of domestic politics, normative constraints, international structure, and the "shadow of the future" on U.S. decisions to intervene multilaterally when a unilateral option is available. Ultimately, her research explained why and under what conditions the hegemony intervenes multilaterally against a weaker adversary and when the U.S. privileges unilateral approaches to intervention.

Fellowship year: 2007

Mentor: Jeffrey Legro, University of Virginia

Selected Recent Publications

Coalitions of Convenience: United States Military Interventions after the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 2011).

"The Next Drone Wars: Preparing for Profileration.Foreign Affairs, March/April 2014.

"Ground the Drones? The Real Problem with Unmanned Aircraft.Foreign Affairs, 4 December 2013.

"Political Parties at War: A Study of American War Finance, 1789-2010." with Gustavos Flores-Macias, American Political Science Review 107, No. 4 (November 2013): 833-848.

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