Dominant powers relations to allies through history.

Fantasus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2012
2,381
Northern part of European lowland
I think I remember ancient Athens had some troubles with their allies, that (not without some reason) more and more began to think about athenians as arrogant bullies rather than true allies. And then Rome, that even had a war about their relations to their "partners". Could it be part of a general trend - former "first among equals" getting into some "state of hubris"? And, yes, I don´t only think about the past, though our discussion is about history, such thinking of dominance seems not at all to have got out of fashion. "If our allies don´t do what we want, then it is their problem. Good riddance."
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,575
Dispargum
it would seem to be a particular problem with rising states. Alliances are initially formed because both parties need the other. But if one country is rising faster than its ally, then at a certain point the rising country no longer needs its ally. It's the mutual need that keeps the alliance healthy and based on mutual respect. When one country no longer needs the other it has less respect for the other.
 
Oct 2016
692
On a magic carpet
Crusaders and Byzantines made an alliance against Syria, and then later against Egypt. In the first case, the Crusaders basically betrayed their Byzantine ally because they feared the Byzantines and didn't want them to be too successful. In the second case, the alliance failed again because according to Byzantine sources, Crusader King Amalric, not wanting to share the profits of victory, dragged out the operation until the emperor's men ran short of provisions and had to turn back.
 

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Crusaders and Byzantines made an alliance against Syria, and then later against Egypt. In the first case, the Crusaders basically betrayed their Byzantine ally because they feared the Byzantines and didn't want them to be too successful. In the second case, the alliance failed again because according to Byzantine sources, Crusader King Amalric, not wanting to share the profits of victory, dragged out the operation until the emperor's men ran short of provisions and had to turn back.
The Crusaders betrayed Byzantium because the Venetians were greedy and had the shipping to force the rest of the Crusaders to do their will and attack Constantinople instead of the Muslims.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,558
Las Vegas, NV USA
There are formal alliances like NATO and less formal ones like Russia and Syria. The less formal they are, the less binding they are and the more one dominates the other as a rule. However just because they are "formal" doesn't mean they will last when conditions change. For the US and UK there was also SEATO and CENTO.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2018
4
United States
The Crusaders betrayed Byzantium because the Venetians were greedy and had the shipping to force the rest of the Crusaders to do their will and attack Constantinople instead of the Muslims.
The Greeks also tended to betray the Crusaders in the first couple Crusades, when the Crusaders and Greeks would siege a city. They would wait until the enemy capitulated, then convince the enemy to allow the Greeks in first. They promptly shut the gates and told the Crusaders to be on their way.
 
Jan 2016
1,140
Victoria, Canada
The Greeks also tended to betray the Crusaders in the first couple Crusades, when the Crusaders and Greeks would siege a city. They would wait until the enemy capitulated, then convince the enemy to allow the Greeks in first. They promptly shut the gates and told the Crusaders to be on their way.
The Byzantines stopped mercenaries in their employ from sacking Nicaea, a Roman city, and that somehow makes them the bad guys? What? The only people I can think of who would view this as a "betrayal" are Crusaders who wanted loot... The Byzantines did plenty of legitimately terrible things to the Latins and vice-versa, but not letting them rape and pillage their way through Roman lands wasn't one of them.
 
Sep 2015
1,805
England
Far from ruling through local elites in West & East Africa, the British influence and paramountcy 'if such it was...', was in fact only somewhat surface deep. The British were in effect tolerated, but only in order to suit local elites and their interests. In 1890 Lord Salisbury stated that the British may indeed make contact, establish relations and engage with the people of Africa but "without...the inconvenience of protectorates or anything of that sort"...'
 

notgivenaway

Ad Honorem
Jun 2015
5,767
UK
Allies tolerate anything, even if it' amongst non-equals.

Take the special relationship between Britain and the USA. The USA is a more powerful country, but then both parties know that they need each other to fulfil their mutual goals. France ,Germany, Japan, Australia, or Canada, are potential new chief allies, but France has a different culture, as does Germany. Australia, Japan, and Canada don't have the same soft power or hard power of the UK. So despite the mismatch, the situation fits.

Canada was smaller in many ways than the UK, USA or USSR in WWII, but they were still a valued member of the Allies, and were amongst the most successful units in the invasion of France.
 
Sep 2015
1,805
England
It's a moving fact of the matter to discover just how many Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, and South Africans, and of course Indians! volunteered and fought in both world wars.