International Relations Notes pdf

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International Relations Notes pdf

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International Relations Notes pdf
International Relations Notes pdf


Q. 3. Point out the Patterns of Balance of Power. Analyze its techniques.

Ans.             Patterns of The Balance of Power

In his book, Political Among Nations Professor Morgenthau mentions two main patterns of the balance of power-the pattern of direct opposition and the pattern of competition.

(i) Pattern of Direct opposition. When there are two nations confronted with each other the pattern is one of direct opposition. One nation wants to establish its power over another while the other refuses to yield. In the pattern of direct opposition, the balance of power results directly from the desire of either nation to see its policies prevail over the policies of the other. Both the nations try to increase their respective powers to control the decisions of the other or to resist the pressure of the other. This balancing of opposing forces goes on until the concerned nations change their objectives of imperialistic policies or until one nation gains a decisive advantage over the other.

(ii) The pattern of competition. This exists when one or the other nation tries to establish its domination over a third power and neither of the two powers allows each other to disturb the status quo. Thus the United States and China competed for control of the countries of South-East Asia. This offers an example of his pattern.

Assumptions of Balance of Power.
Assumptions of Balance of Power.

Assumptions of Balance of Power. The balance of power rests on the following assumptions according to Dyke :

1. All possible means. Each state protects its vital interests, rights, and privileges through all possible means-both peaceful and violent. Some of the vital interests which states generally try to protect include territorial integrity, independence, security, preservation of domestic, economic and political, and social systems, protection of certain rights, etc.

2. Protection of Vital Interests. Each state keeps itself concerned with power relationships to protect its vital interests.

3. Deterrence. The balance of power deters the threatening state from launching an attack. Alternatively, it permits the victim to avoid defeat if an attack takes place. The states do not attack unless they have a preponderance of power, They resort to war only in the hope that the distribution of power will turn out to be in their favor.

4. Measurement. Even though the task of calculation of power is quite complex, the states cannot decide about the proportion of their resources to be allocated to military preparations without such calculations.

5. Foreign Policy Decisions. The statesmen make foreign policy decisions on the basis of power considerations. If it is not done, the deliberate balancing of power cannot occur.

Techniques of The Balance of Power

Following are the techniques and devices of a balance of power that contribute to its operation.

1. Alliances. Alliances are the most commonly used devices of the balance of power system. The alliance is the traditional instrument to strengthen one’s position vis-a-vis the opponent. When a state cannot defend itself against another big state, it enters into an alliance with another Weak or powerful state for achieving its goal. The alliances are of two types-offensive and defensive.

(i) Offensive. The offensive alliance seeks to upset the balance of power in favor of its members.

(ii) Defensive. The defensive alliance aims at restoring the balance.

The alliances are built up out of the necessity of common interests and’ are directed against a common enemy. The essentials of a stable alliance are-enough power to achieve the purpose may be through aggression or defense; common interest between the allying states, strategy, geography, common ideologies, cultural similarities, complementary economics, etc.

2. Counter Alliances. Alliances generally lead to counter alliances, such as Triple Alliance (1882) vs. Triple Entente (1907) but they do play a major role in the preservation of the balance of power. The alliances give rise to suspicion and may even result in war. The alliance between the Axis powers was a counter alliance against the alliance between France and European nations which ultimately culminated in the Second World War. In the post Second World War period also the two superpowers entered into several counter alliances to balance the growing power of the opponent.

3.Territorial Compensations. Compensations of a territorial nature were a common method for maintaining a balance of power in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Territorial compensations have frequently been made by strong powers at the expense of weaker ones, and almost invariably by victor nations at the end of a war.

4. The Mandate System. President Wilson repudiated the diplomacy of the balance of power and substituted it with his famous Fourteen Points program. ls method of compensation was in an indirect manner. This was the Mandate system, whereby a territory could be given to power in the form of trust. This technique was altogether given up after the Second World War.

5. Partition. Partition has been used as an instrument for the maintenance of the balance of power. Usually, the major powers divide the territory in such a way that there is no danger of any one of them acquiring a predominant position. In 1712 Poland was partitioned between Russia, Prussia, and Austria-Hungary so that the relative power of each of the three major states of the time could be maintained.

6. Armament. Military preparedness is the best means of national defence. This leads to the armaments race.

7. Disarmament. The advancement in science and technology, as well as the methods of warfare, has increased the lear of destruction. Hence consistent, efforts at disarmament are essential to attain the balance of power. The first step in this direction was taken by the Treaty of Versailles in the twentieth century. The next serious effort was made

at the Washington Naval Conference in 1922. About disarmament, it has been rightly said that “The technique of stabilizing the balance of power by means of proportionate reduction of armament is somewhat similar to the technique of territorial compensation”

8. Intervention and War. Intervention is a dictatorial interference in the internal affairs of another country by a powerful nation in order to extract some specific concessions. For example, Italy and Germany intervened in the Spanish Civil War in favor of General Franco. Britain intervened in Greece, the United States in Cuba, Lebanon, and Laos, the Soviet Union in North Korea, Hungary, and Eastern Europe. The ultimate form of interver2on is war.

9. Non-intervention. This is a political term meaning virtually the same thing as the intervention. This policy is usually followed by small states. It is followed by those great powers which are satisfied with the political order and can very well follow peaceful method to preserve the balance. France and Britain followed the policy of non-intervention in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.

10. Divide and Rule. Nations who want to keep their competitors weak by keeping them divided used this device. This is a time honored policy. It was employed by the Romans to màintain their control over scattered people. ‘Britain often used it to keep its large empire intact. From the seventeenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century, France adopted such a policy towards Germany. Similarly, from the twenties to the present the Soviet Union has consistently opposed all proposals for the unification of Europe. Even Germany took advantage of the differences between France and England during the inter-war period and flouted the terms of the treaty of Versailles. išritain also made use of the policy of divide and rule in the international sphere and played Jews and Muslims in Palestine against each other. The superpowers continued to follow this policy of divide and rule, though in a different way in the post World War l period also this was with a view to bring the maximum number of non-aligned states under their influence.

11. Buffer States. Buffer states are of great importance because of their cushioning effect between great powers. Because of their interest in the preservation of equilibrium of power, the two adjoining states may agree to follow a policy of non-interference towards the in-between small state. An example of a buffer state was Afghanistan in the 19th and early twentieth century when it acted as a buffer between Russia and

British India. In recent years the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan destroyed its buffer state’ character. It posed a threat to the balance of power in the region. Similarly, France tried to maintain Rhineland as a buffer state between her and Germany.

12. Neutralisation. Sometimes a country is neutralized to create a sort of buffer between two powerful nations. They pledged not to attack it or unnecessarily interfere in its affairs. Thus Belgium was neutralized in Europe by England and France and when Germany violated its neutrality in 1914, it was strongly resented by these nations.


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