The Importance of Maintaining The Balance of Power


[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] N [/yt_dropcap]o one, or country, no matter how novel or inventive they are, has any right, or can be trusted, with absolute power over everyone else. It is absolutely essential for political leaders, all across the world, to ensure that the balance of power exists, in all spheres of power and the body politic, both domestically as well as internationally, because there is no way that any one individual or government can ensure the equal protection of the people, in all of their myriad conflicts and challenges, from the very large, to the very small.

Therefore it is important that care should be taken that each and every individual voice has enough of a power structure to keep in check their polar opposites.

Violence is of course never a good option, whether through warfare or terrorism, but political balance of power always normally results in a standoff of non-violence.

It is only when one side of a conflict is so powerful, so wealthy, and so militarily superior, that violence and injustice becomes an inevitability.

According to Kegley and Wittkopf in World Politics – Trends and Transformation, the balance of power theory in international relations suggests that national security is enhanced when military capability is distributed so that no one state is strong enough to dominate all others.

If one state becomes much stronger than others, the theory predicts that it will take advantage of its strength and attack weaker neighbors, thereby providing an incentive for those threatened to unite in a defensive coalition.

Some realists maintain that this would be more stable as aggression would appear unattractive and would be averted if there was equilibrium of power between the rival coalitions.

The principle involved in preserving the balance of power as a conscious goal of both domestic and foreign policy, as David Hume pointed out in his Essay on the Balance of Power, is as old as history, and was used by Greeks such as Thucydides both as political theories and practical statesmanship.

During the Renaissance, with regard to Italian city-states in the 15th century, Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, and Lorenzo de’ Medici, ruler of Florence, were the first rulers actively to pursue such a policy, within the Italic League.

Many would argue that their political and financial descendants are still in power, so there is little chance of them giving up on this strategy of global governance at this moment of time.

It was not until the beginning of the 17th century when international law became structured under Hugo Grotius and others, that the theory of the “balance of power” was formulated as a fundamental principle of modern diplomacy.

It was held to be the interest, the right, and the duty of every power to interfere, even by force of arms, when any of the conditions of this settlement were infringed upon, or assailed by, any other member of the community.

The principle formed the basis of the coalitions against Louis XIV and Napoleon, and the reason for most of the wars of Europe experienced between the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and the Congress of Vienna (1814), and World War I.

The fact remains that if a nation-state’s culture, economy, way of life, national character, and inherent value systems are attractive, then other nation-states will ether strive to seek out an alliance, diplomacy, friendship, or comity with it by organic methods, rather than by actively seeking out conflict, and that no violence or force is necessary to subjugate, convert, or conquer others, which the now thoroughly exposed Neo-Cons often try to do.

It is argued that the ultimate goal of diplomacy is to stay, or direct, the elemental forces of nationalism let loose by revolution, for which the ostensible object is the preservation of peace.

No one state should ever be strong enough to devour the rest, and the greatest responsibility of the Great Powers is to maintain the small states, which can not adequately protect themselves.

However, former US Secretary of Defense and arch Neo-Con Dick Cheney stated: “It is not in our interest or those of the other democracies to return to earlier periods in which multiple military powers balanced one against another in what passed for security structures, while regional, or even global peace hung in the balance.”

This type of world view outlook has wrought the devastating destruction and near bankrupting of the USA for the better part of the past 15 years.

Sir Esme Howard wrote that England adopted the balance of power as “a corner-stone of English policy, unconsciously during the sixteenth, subconsciously during the seventeenth, and consciously during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, because for England it represented the only plan of preserving her own independence, political and economic.”

In 1941, Winston Churchill was criticized by his rival, Adolf Hitler, for his adherence to the balance of power, stating “Churchill is a man with an out-of-date political idea – that of the balance of power. It no longer belongs to the sphere of realities.”

Many would argue that more than 15,000 of Adolph Hitler’s adherents, loyalists, and followers migrated to the United States after World War 2 in Operation Paperclip, which ultimately led to the creation of the American National Security State, otherwise known as the Military Industrial Complex, mainly responsible for America’s stupid foreign wars of intervention, especially over the past 15 years.

Critics point out that traditional balance of power theory fails to explain state behavior in the post-Cold War era.

These critics state that since the end of the Cold War, the United States has been expanding its economic and political power, and more recently, has begun to engage in increasingly unilateralist military policy, wherein despite these growing material capabilities, major powers such as China, France, Germany, India and Russia have not responded with significant increases in their defense spending.

These critics add that these countries have not formed military coalitions to counteract U.S. power, as traditional balance of power theory would predict.

For example, Council on Foreign Relations (“CFR”) member and CNN host Fareed Zakaria asked “Why is no one ganging up against the United States?”

John Ikenberry and John M. Owen asked the same question.

Two American Neo-Con leaders, Robert Kagan and William Kristol, completely agreed when they said that “today’s international system is built not around a balance of power but around American hegemony.”

However what these critics fail to notice is that these other major great powers are merely waiting for the USA to exhaust itself militarily, financially, and existentially, so that knocking it over would be an easy task – this is why the USA needs to pull out or cease from rampant military adventurism and instead focus on forging alliances and working relationships with the other great powers and to avoid any and all military conflict, completely and finally.

This is the only way it can hope to maintain its power.

Perhaps a fusion should now be the guiding principal – that the United States should become more and more the implementer of the diplomatic balance of power of the whole globe, without resorting to war and conflict.

Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq.
Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq.
Ranked amongst Top Attorneys in the United States by Newsweek Magazine in 2012 and 2013.


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