The bolstering of alliances is one of various tasks upon which foreign policymakers rely. In today's globalized and interconnected world, standing alone is far from a virtue. However, the distinction between alliances, namely collective defense organizations and other cooperative arrangements that states establish should be spelled out clearly.
There exist variants of multilateral cooperative initiatives among states, yet alliances are in a category of their own. What makes an alliance unique is that it constitutes a mutual commitment by each party to guarantee the others' security, survival and territorial integrity and forms a promise to come to the others' aid in the event of an external attack.
What distinguishes an alliance from any other cooperative agreement is how much it signifies a deeper sense of cohesion between members. This cohesion and feeling of unity could be founded on the basis of a common identity and values or common strategic security interests. Indeed, the sense of cohesion and harmony is at its highest if alliance members unite around a common identity, common security interests or common threat perceptions.
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