Ad Hoc Coalitions and Treaties

Countries can choose to act in concert with each other spontaneously, outside the framework of international law, for collaborative self-protection against a specific threat – as in these examples:

●  They can sign treaties, for example to resolve a border dispute, without choosing an external arbitration authority.  Renegotiation, withdrawal, or the threat of force are the only means of rectifying breaches of such treaties.

●  They can form ad hoc alliances or coalitions to combat perceived military threats.  Again, there is no formal mechanism for rectifying breaches – countries must renegotiate to resolve them.

In a recent example, reported by Reuters among others: China, Russia partner up against West at Olympics summit.  The two leaders made an ad hoc alliance against NATO at the opening of the Beijing Olympics in February 2022:

“Beijing supported Russia’s demand that Ukraine should not be admitted into NATO, as the Kremlin amasses 100,000 troops near its neighbour, while Moscow opposed any form of independence for Taiwan, as global powers jostle over their spheres of influence.

“…Moscow and Beijing also voiced their opposition to the AUKUS alliance between Australia, Britain and the United States, saying it increased the danger of an arms race in the region.

“China joined Russia in calling for an end to NATO enlargement and supported its demand for security guarantees from the West.”

The AUKUS alliance referred to above, which “will let Australia build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, using technology provided by the US”, was announced in September 2021 – as described by the BBC: Aukus: UK, US and Australia launch pact to counter China.  The same article also refers to the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, which includes New Zealand and Canada who are not in AUKUS – further illustrating the tactical nature of such groupings.

Another example of an ad hoc alliance is the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) which revived in March 2021, after a long pause, with the Quad Leaders’ Joint Statement: “The Spirit of the Quad”.  It opened with this statement:

“We have convened to reaffirm our commitment to quadrilateral cooperation between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States. We bring diverse perspectives and are united in a shared vision for the free and open Indo-Pacific. We strive for a region that is free, open, inclusive, healthy, anchored by democratic values, and unconstrained by coercion.”



This is a current page, updated since publication of Patterns of Power Edition 3a.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/7272a.htm.