In his farewell address, George Washington warned, “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world.” Thomas Jefferson echoed the same sentiment at his inauguration: “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”
Since then (really, since WWII), the U.S. has done just the opposite, accumulating defense pacts with 64 other countries, representing about 25% of the world’s population. If one of those 64 countries is attacked, the U.S. may be obligated to provide active military support.
America’s defense pacts, along with those of the rest of the world, are shown as lines in the map below. The pacts include bilateral agreements from one country to another, as well as large multilateral agreements between many countries (for example, NATO).
- Bubble size = population.
- Click a bubble to show only that country’s defense pacts.
- Press the orange button to switch between Venn Diagram and World Map views.
The World’s Defense Pacts
The alliance data shown in the map comes from three sources:
- Douglas Gibler, International Military Alliances. (via The Correlates of War Project)
- The Alliance Treaty Obligations and Provisions Project (ATOP)
- Michael Beckley, The Myth of Entangling Alliances
I'm fascinated by data visualization and the ways that data is transforming our understanding of the world. I spend a lot of time with my face buried in Excel, and when I find something interesting I write about it here and as a contributor for the Huffington Post.
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