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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Alliances

Louise Fawcett

Subject(s):
Act of state — Collective security — Regional organizations

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 An alliance is a formal union or league between States designed to achieve a common objective through combined action. An alliance can be offensive or defensive in nature, though offensive military alliances are today considered contrary to international law. Alliances act to preserve and enhance the individual and collective power of States and to deter outsiders from aggressive or hostile acts. They may have economic, political, or security functions. These functions are defined in treaties setting out rules by which their members have agreed to be bound....
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