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Balance of power in international relations

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Balance of power in international relations

Post by Guest on Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:32 pm

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In international relations, a balance of power exists when there is parity or stability between competing forces. The concept "describes a state of affairs in the international system and explains the behaviour of states in that system" (Fry, Goldstein & Langhorn, 2004).[1] As a term in international law for a 'just equilibrium' between the members of the family of nations, it expresses the doctrine intended to prevent any one nation from becoming sufficiently strong so as to enable it to enforce its will upon the rest.

"BoP" is a central concept in neorealist theory. Within a balance of power system, a state may choose to engage in either balancing or bandwagoning behavior. In a time of war, the decision to balance or to bandwagon may well determine the survival of the state.

Kenneth Waltz, a major contributor to neorealism, expressed in his book, "Theory of International Politics" that "if there is any distinctively political theory of international politics, balance-of-power theory is it."[2]. However, this assertion has come under criticism from other schools of thought within the international relations field, such as the constructivists and the political economists[3] [4]

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