Does the rise of illiberal allies matter for the durability of the NATO alliance? Theory testing liberal and realist perspectives to the cases of Poland and Turkey



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Can illiberalism lead to problems for the durability of NATO? The objective of this thesis is to prove that illiberal states do not disrupt alliances, particularly the NATO alliance. I will compare competing hypotheses of alliance theory: the liberal explanation against the realist explanation. The hypothesis of this paper is that realist theory provides a better explanation to prove that alliances are not affected by illiberal states as long as they contribute to the security of the alliance. In order to investigate, I will conduct research through comparative case-based studies that analyze Polish and Turkish engagement with NATO. By investigating these relationships, I will find that the realist theory is better supported to these case states. In conclusion, alliances will endure because small states cannot secure themselves.