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BALANCE OF POWER
MD SHARIF HUSSAIN
POLS C-7 SEM-3
ROLL NO.– 8 UG – 2
MEANING OF BALANCE OF POWER
• One of the oldest and most discussed concept of the international
relations
• The term indicates the relative distribution of power among states
into equal or unequal shares.
• It means such a ‘just equilibrium’ in power among the members of
the family of the nations as will prevent any one of them from
becoming sufficiently strong to enforce its will upon the others.
• Concept of mutual deterrence is important in BOP.
Several scholars have approached the balance of power
concept from various angles
• According to David Hume, balance of power is a scientific law of
IR due to its increased relevance and significance
• For Hans J Morgenthau, the Balance of power is the iron law of
world politics
• Henry Kissinger However, described the balance of power as
more of an art than a science
• Richard Cobden stated “the balance of power is a chimera!
HOW BOP SYSTEM WORKS?
If state A increases its
power, state B must try
to equalize it by
increasing its own
power. If B alone cannot
match A’s might, it can
join other states and
together they can
reduce the power of A,
i.e. formation of
alliances.
• A multiplicity of sovereign states unconstrained by any
legitimate authority.
• Absence of a centralized and common government above the
sovereign states.
• Continuous but controlled competition over scarce resources
or conflicting values.
• Relatively unequal distribution of status, wealth and power
potential among the political actors that make up the system.
PREREQUISITES OF BALANCE OF
POWER
CHARACTERISTICS OF BALANCE OF POWER
• See-saw model of BOP.
• BOP is not god given, states must actively engage themselves into
alliances to secure equilibrium.
• This system is the game for the big powers and the small states are
the mere spectators.
• Neither suitable for democracy nor for dictatorship. Democracy
means consensus of people and dictators always see their states
over and above others
METHODS RELEVANCE EXAMPLES
Alliances and
Counter-alliances
Forming coalitions; both offensive and defensive; not
permanent
NATO, SEATO, CENTO, Warsaw Pact
Compensations Partition and division of territories by large powers at the
expense of smaller ones.
Partition of Germany by the treaty of
Versailles , division of Korea and
Vietnam after 2nd world war
Buffer states States may be placed between powerful states to keep rival
powers out of direct contact with each other.
Nepal and Bhutan serve as a buffer
states between India and China.
Armaments and
disarmaments
Armament= increased military power and weaponry;
Disarmament= proportionate reduction in arms to end
arms race.
USA and USSR stockpiling arms during
cold war in the name of security;
Disarmament treaties NPT, CTBT etc.
Divide and rule Age old policy of weakening competitors by diving them
territorially or politically.
Europe was divided in to western and
eastern Europe by US and USSR based
on ideological differences.
METHODS OF BALANCE OF POWER
CRITICISM OF BALANCE OF POWER
• BOP cannot ensure peace. In spite of alliances and counter alliances, the two
devastating world wars happened.
• Based on a narrow view of international relations by only looking at power
relations. Ignores social, economic culture and moral factors.
• BOP is uncertain because it is difficult to have a quantitative measurement of
power. National power of a state is made of many elements and they are
subjected to constant change.
• It is unreal because states rather than aiming to create a balance, they aspire
for power and superiority in international relations.
• It is inadequate as it accepts war as a means of preserving peace.
 Through the concept of ‘soft power’ given by Joseph Nye
“ soft power is a kind of ability which can realize the goal through
attraction instead of the violence or the temptation.”
The attractiveness arises from a countries culture, political ideals
and foreign policies. When the policy is seen as legitimate in the
eyes of others, then the soft power is established, thus creates the
soft balancing of it.
 Balance of power is still relevant. How?
EXAMPLES OF SOFT POWER.
• American culture exports,
such as movies, soft drinks,
and fast food chains, as an
element of soft power;
• India's yoga as a soft power.
• GI (geographical indication)
tags;
• Diaspora – dispersion of
people from their homeland
and community.
• India's counter to china's
string of pearls strategy.
MORE EXAMPLES IN THE CONTEMPORARY
TIMES
 Growth of the regional agreements, Example: US, Japan and
Australia signed infrastructure agreements to counter China’s BRI
initiative.
 ASEAN- China FTA, signed in 2010 to provide a strong counter to
US.
 US investing in India to counter China.
 US imposing heavy tariffs on Chinese imports.
• BOP is responsible for power struggle and power politics
• Power is dynamic and thus the states are forcefully driven into power game
for their security
• Creates hatred, suspicion and arms race
• However, it also contributed to promoting international peace and collective
security and leads to disarmament.
• Thus, the concept of BOP has utility as well and can not be abandoned
• Palmer and Perkins: ‘as long as the nation state system is the prevailing
pattern of international society, balance of power policies will be followed in
practice’
CONCLUSION
REFERENCES
 Balance of power article by Morten Skumsrud Andersen.
 International relations today concepts and applications by Aneek Chatterjee,
copyright 2010, page no. 63-66.
 International relations: the key concepts by Martin Griffiths, terry o’ Callaghan. Page
no. 17-19.
 Thucydides (2004), “Melian Dialogue” in Mingst, Karen and Snyder, Jack (eds.)
Essential Readings in World Politics, 2nd Edition, New York: Norton, pp. 18-20.

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Balance of power by md sharif hussain

  • 1. BALANCE OF POWER MD SHARIF HUSSAIN POLS C-7 SEM-3 ROLL NO.– 8 UG – 2
  • 2. MEANING OF BALANCE OF POWER • One of the oldest and most discussed concept of the international relations • The term indicates the relative distribution of power among states into equal or unequal shares. • It means such a ‘just equilibrium’ in power among the members of the family of the nations as will prevent any one of them from becoming sufficiently strong to enforce its will upon the others. • Concept of mutual deterrence is important in BOP.
  • 3. Several scholars have approached the balance of power concept from various angles • According to David Hume, balance of power is a scientific law of IR due to its increased relevance and significance • For Hans J Morgenthau, the Balance of power is the iron law of world politics • Henry Kissinger However, described the balance of power as more of an art than a science • Richard Cobden stated “the balance of power is a chimera!
  • 4. HOW BOP SYSTEM WORKS? If state A increases its power, state B must try to equalize it by increasing its own power. If B alone cannot match A’s might, it can join other states and together they can reduce the power of A, i.e. formation of alliances.
  • 5. • A multiplicity of sovereign states unconstrained by any legitimate authority. • Absence of a centralized and common government above the sovereign states. • Continuous but controlled competition over scarce resources or conflicting values. • Relatively unequal distribution of status, wealth and power potential among the political actors that make up the system. PREREQUISITES OF BALANCE OF POWER
  • 6. CHARACTERISTICS OF BALANCE OF POWER • See-saw model of BOP. • BOP is not god given, states must actively engage themselves into alliances to secure equilibrium. • This system is the game for the big powers and the small states are the mere spectators. • Neither suitable for democracy nor for dictatorship. Democracy means consensus of people and dictators always see their states over and above others
  • 7. METHODS RELEVANCE EXAMPLES Alliances and Counter-alliances Forming coalitions; both offensive and defensive; not permanent NATO, SEATO, CENTO, Warsaw Pact Compensations Partition and division of territories by large powers at the expense of smaller ones. Partition of Germany by the treaty of Versailles , division of Korea and Vietnam after 2nd world war Buffer states States may be placed between powerful states to keep rival powers out of direct contact with each other. Nepal and Bhutan serve as a buffer states between India and China. Armaments and disarmaments Armament= increased military power and weaponry; Disarmament= proportionate reduction in arms to end arms race. USA and USSR stockpiling arms during cold war in the name of security; Disarmament treaties NPT, CTBT etc. Divide and rule Age old policy of weakening competitors by diving them territorially or politically. Europe was divided in to western and eastern Europe by US and USSR based on ideological differences. METHODS OF BALANCE OF POWER
  • 8. CRITICISM OF BALANCE OF POWER • BOP cannot ensure peace. In spite of alliances and counter alliances, the two devastating world wars happened. • Based on a narrow view of international relations by only looking at power relations. Ignores social, economic culture and moral factors. • BOP is uncertain because it is difficult to have a quantitative measurement of power. National power of a state is made of many elements and they are subjected to constant change. • It is unreal because states rather than aiming to create a balance, they aspire for power and superiority in international relations. • It is inadequate as it accepts war as a means of preserving peace.
  • 9.  Through the concept of ‘soft power’ given by Joseph Nye “ soft power is a kind of ability which can realize the goal through attraction instead of the violence or the temptation.” The attractiveness arises from a countries culture, political ideals and foreign policies. When the policy is seen as legitimate in the eyes of others, then the soft power is established, thus creates the soft balancing of it.  Balance of power is still relevant. How?
  • 10. EXAMPLES OF SOFT POWER. • American culture exports, such as movies, soft drinks, and fast food chains, as an element of soft power; • India's yoga as a soft power. • GI (geographical indication) tags; • Diaspora – dispersion of people from their homeland and community. • India's counter to china's string of pearls strategy.
  • 11. MORE EXAMPLES IN THE CONTEMPORARY TIMES  Growth of the regional agreements, Example: US, Japan and Australia signed infrastructure agreements to counter China’s BRI initiative.  ASEAN- China FTA, signed in 2010 to provide a strong counter to US.  US investing in India to counter China.  US imposing heavy tariffs on Chinese imports.
  • 12. • BOP is responsible for power struggle and power politics • Power is dynamic and thus the states are forcefully driven into power game for their security • Creates hatred, suspicion and arms race • However, it also contributed to promoting international peace and collective security and leads to disarmament. • Thus, the concept of BOP has utility as well and can not be abandoned • Palmer and Perkins: ‘as long as the nation state system is the prevailing pattern of international society, balance of power policies will be followed in practice’ CONCLUSION
  • 13. REFERENCES  Balance of power article by Morten Skumsrud Andersen.  International relations today concepts and applications by Aneek Chatterjee, copyright 2010, page no. 63-66.  International relations: the key concepts by Martin Griffiths, terry o’ Callaghan. Page no. 17-19.  Thucydides (2004), “Melian Dialogue” in Mingst, Karen and Snyder, Jack (eds.) Essential Readings in World Politics, 2nd Edition, New York: Norton, pp. 18-20.