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Fatima Jinnah Women University

Submitted to: Mam Saima Keyani

Submitted by: Fatima Tariq
Assignment Topic: Balance of Power
Date of submission: 24 APRIL,2020
Department: BS Environmental sci (2ndsmester)

Abstract…………………………… ……….3
Introduction…………………………….. 3
Main argument………………………..4,5



Abstract :
The balance of power is historically one in all the foremost important concepts of international
politics and the academic discipline of international relations. Therefore, the diplomacy and
politician throughout history have used the balance of power in many different circumstances
and many purposes, the concept is also a theory s international politics used in the world around
as today. As the traditional balance of power assumes that states always put their interest first .

The meaning of balance of power one may take the analogy of a balancer with a pair of scales. If
the weights in the two sides are equal, this is balance. Same is the case with international
relations. The two states or two coalitions of states are in balance if they are equally strong. For
instance castlereagh defined balance of power as ‘’the maintenance of such a just equilibrium
between the member of family of nation as should prevent any of them becoming sufficiently
powerful to impose its will upon the rest.’’

The balance of power is one on every of the oldest and most enduring concepts in the theory
and practice of international relations for the past five hundred years. It's played a number of key
role in some of the most important attempts to develop a theory of international politics in the
contemporary study of international relations.

Different Theorists Believe:

The balance of power theory maintains that when one state and alliance increases its power of
applies it more aggressively, threaded states will increase their own power in response, often by
forming a counter-balancing coalition. Balance of power is a central concept in neorealist theory.
When threatened, states may seek safety either by balancing, allying with others against the
prevailing threats; or bandwagoning, aligning themselves with the threatening power. However,
its is generally agreed that in bipolar system, each superpower has no choice but to directly
confront the others. Together with the debates between realists about the prevalence of balancing
in alliance patterns, other scholar of international relations, like constructivists, are also critical
of the balance of power theory, disputing core realist assumption regarding the international
relation system and the behavior of states.

Types Of The Balance Of Power:

The balance of power has the following forms;

1. Simple Balance:

If power is concentrated in two countries or in two opposing camps, the balance of power is
alleged to be simple. In simple balance the power distribution between two opposing states is
sort of equal to each other. The America and the Russia individually, and the Eastern and the
Western block collectively, were the sample of the simple balance it the past.

2.Multiple Balance:
When there is a scatter of power among countries and a number of countries or groups of
countries balance each other, the balance is called multiple or complex. In the multiple system
there require not be a single system, instead there are many sub systems or local balances of
power within a system. A simple balance can turn into multiple or complex balance.

3.Local Regional and Global Balance:

In the local level, balance is local, like balance of power between India and Pakistan. It is
regional. The balance of power which involve continents like Europe or Asia. It is global or
world wide, if all the countries are participating in it through a network of alliances and counter

4.Flexible and Rigid Balance:

In the monarchical days when princes made sudden and radical shifts in their alliance, the
balance was generally flexible. When the ideologies and greater economic started depending on
each other, pattern of balance of power have tended to become rigid.

Since the 17th century, there have many example of power balance tussles. However, in this
Russia and America cold war as the main example of power balance conflicts. This will be used
as example to understand the concept of balance of power.

Cold War:
There were a cold war between Russia and America. Russia was a communist state and the
America was a capitalist state. This difference often saw the two countries disagree on many
issues, including the Cuban missile crisis that almost sent the two countries to war. The conflict
between the US and Russia started when the US was displeased by Russia’s resolve to withdraw
from World War I .Moreover, the US did not condone Russia’s political, social and economic
systems, which were based on communism. The US saw the communist system as a threat to its
national security. As the US worried about Russia’s growing influence in Europe. The tense
relations between Russia and America sparked the cold war, which was waged through military
dominance. This balance of power tussle saw Russia detonate its first atomic weapon. This event
marked the end of US’s autonomy of possessing nuclear weapons. Start of the cold war, where
the US and Russia embarked on developing military army. This military supremacy battle went
on until the fall of the largest communist state Russia in 1991. The fall of communism marked
the end of the cold war.We see that, the US and Russia were engaged in a balance of power

tussle that saw the two states striving. Both states felt threatened by one other with the fall of
communism and USSR, the US warmed up to Russia, and the cold war ended. This period was
the equilibrium of power between the two countries.

What happens if one state become stronger:

A state declining in power relative to other states may purse compromise to maintaining
influence and arrest its decline. A state rising relative to other may offer concession to prevent
the formation of a balancing coalition by powerful countries. A state whose power position is
steady or static, however, has few incentives to compromise. That state will take advantage of its
strength and attack weaker neighbors. This provide an incentive for those threatened to join other
in defensive coalition.

How Might States Counter An External Threat:

When faced with external threats from a more powerful states, these states have several options
such as ; balancing, bandwagoning, buck-passing, blood-letting. In recent years, soft-balancing
has emerged as a new concept of illustrating how state balance powerful actor, which advocates
the use of economic and diplomatic tools to constrain the powerful state and inhibit their exertion
of power. Bandwagoning, is a strategy employed by states that find themselves in a weak
position. Weaker sates should align itself with a stronger adversary because the latter can take
what it wants by force anyway, bandwogoning is important because ‘’if we cannot defend
ourselves, we cannot expect to prevail else ware". Our credibility would collapse, our alliance
would crumble and the safety of our homeland would be put at jeopardy.

Instead of balancing against an aggressor, some states instead choose to pass the buck whereby
instead of taking action to prevent a potential hegemony’s rise it will pass the responsibility on to
another state. It is often used to refer to a strategy in power politic whereby a state tries to get
another state to deter or fight an aggressor state while it remains on the sidelines If a state is an
enemy with both the aggressor and the intended buck-catcher, (buckpasser)can implement the
state causes two rivals to engaged in a protracted war. When a states rivals have already gone to
war independently, the aim is to courage the conflict to continue as long as possible to let the
rival states weaken or ‘’bleed’’ each other’s military strength while the bloodletting party stays
out of the fighting. While the baiter remains on the sideline.

Balance of power in international relations is very important. By power , we mean not only
military power weapons power, but financial prowess and political clout as well. An imbalance
of power causes one nation or a group of nation s to impose themselves on their countries. An
example is carbon dioxide emissions cut approved by the United States (going back on their
commitment of Kyoto Protocol). Unless a balance of power is established, poor and military
weaker countries will have no say in financial and military affairs and will be forced to toe the
lines of powerful countries.

The balance of power is cons subject to constant changes from equilibrium to disequilibrium. If
war take place it means real power is not there. The balance of power may undergo drastic
changes that for practical purpose, it may destroy power structure of states. It is not a primary
device of peace, because it admits war as a mean for manufacturing balance and low power
countries are often victim in power.

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