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The Balance Of Power Essay

3309 words - 13 pages

Many political scientists symbolically consider the Balance-of-Power concept central to a firm understanding of classical realism. As T. V. Paul (2004) explains, the Balance of Power’s common form appears as a system of alliances in which the stronger nations deter their weaker counter-parts from acting belligerently (Paul, 2004). This symbiotic concept of balancing power, nevertheless, is not an inherent thought and specifically appeared in the modern era. Its entrance into the world of international politics represented a fundamental paradigm shift in which it became necessary to reevaluate our systematic understanding of the social and political world Wendt (2006). Questions centered on the underlying concepts that drove the system ever forward such as: by whom was the system made, how does such a system function, what brought about such political organizations, and how could a state theoretically enter into the system. Hume, an ancient and respected theorist, largely analyzed the relationship between states and the idea of the Balance-of-Power theory. Similar to Hume, International-Relations thinkers, such as Spykman, Wolfers, and Morgenthau, became paramount to the concept’s realization. For brevity’s sake, thinkers spent a vast amount of time pondering the theory’s many forms insofar as they produced a semi-coherent discourse upon which its modern form operates.
The establishment of the discipline’s discourse did not firmly cement its foundational concepts. As such, various forms, such as the balance between great powers and super power, appeared and further fractured its theoretical base. Jack S. Levy (2004) writes that “some say a balance of power helps maintain the peace; others say it contributes to the onset of war; still others claim that the theory makes no determinant predictions of war and peace at all” (pp. 29, 30) This quote serves, if nothing else, as a representation of its verity of interpretations that is best represented as a mythical “[…] chimera—an undescribed, indescribable, incomprehensible nothing” (Levy, 30). To clarify and solidify the base, thinkers use two common approaches – a balance between two states, or a complex balance between multiple actors. Hans Morgenthau (1967) understands the balance as a preservation of the status-quo in which no nation is able to impose its hegemonic power (Morgenthau, 1967). Hobbes (1642) determined that the balance of power is only a theory and its purpose is to convince feuding countries that it is futile to take advantage of an expected win. The former theories center on one key concept: the disadvantage of a country’s military action. Moreover, the theory largely demonstrates a system of interdependency in which all actions taken affect, either negatively or positively, the system’s future security. Despite the thorium’s murky nature, the core value of peace, achieved through the fear of possible intervention, retains a practical application particularly in the Nuclear age....

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