Balance of power thesis

It has affected and constituted international politics and foreign policies across time, as well as our own discipline of IR. Show full item record Abstract The key questions addressed by this study are; which of the two structural theories in international relations explains small state policies better and under what international system structure is the significance of small states enhanced so that they have greater freedom of maneuver.

None of this means that Balance of Power as state practice fell into disuse in the context of relationships between regional powers. Most importantly, none of the three is conditional upon a certain type of polarity to be effectual. Balance of power theory, therefore, cannot provide guidance for the world we are in.

importance of balance of power in international relations

Three Explanatory Variables for Predicting Balancing: Intention, Preference, Contingency The intention, or the perceived intention of a major power, determines whether balancing will be preferred by secondary states over other options such as bandwagoning. With this in mind, the essay will now discuss why polarity is neither sufficient nor necessary to explain the balance of power.

Because of this, the supposed unipolarity as of present has little bearing on the validity of the BOP theory in explaining state behavior.

Balance of power realism

With this in mind, the essay will now discuss why polarity is neither sufficient nor necessary to explain the balance of power. From an offensive realist point of view, John Mearsheimer contends that states concerned with balance of power must think in terms of relative rather than absolute gain — that is, their military advantage over others regardless of how much capability they each have. In general, though, a prevalent preference for relative gains and, more specifically, military positionality among states increases the likelihood of balancing relative to collective security. Hence states are also considered to be unitary actors in the international system. From the perspectives of small states, in the hegemonic system they are often constrained in the pursuit of their foreign policies, while in the balance of power system they often can play a role as a balancer. Login A genealogy of the balance of power Andersen, Morten Skumsrud A genealogy of the balance of power. Thus, the position, and policy, of a small state is determined more by its international context rather than by its own efforts to consolidate internal strength. Posted on February 11, Topics:. The question of sufficiency can be answered with respect to why balance of power does not always occur even in a multipolar or bipolar world, and that of necessity with respect to why balance of power can still occur even with unipolarity. The concern for relative gain predicts that states will prefer balance of power over collective security because the latter requires that states trust one another enough to completely forgo relative gain through unilateral disarmament, which is inherently at odds with the idea of having a positional advantage for self-defense Mearsheimer ,

I ask, how, why, and with what effects has the balance of power concept been deployed across different contexts? The basic idea of this effort was that small states are affected largely by both global and regional international systems.

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Balance of Power Theory in Today’s International System