pol 130 - 2.98 P ART T WO: International Relations W e must...

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2.9 8 PART TWO: International Relations We must reject the theory of the balance of power. Its concepts are fuzzy, it is logically unsound and contradicts itself, it is not consistent with the events that have occurred, and it does not explain them. One is reminded of the words of Richard Cobden: The balance of power is a chimera! It is not a fallacy, a mistake, an imposture-it is an undescribed, indescribable, incompre- hensible nothing; mere words, conveying to the mind not ideas, but sounds. 21 21 Richard Cobden, Political Writings (Appleton, 1867), Vol. 1, p. 258. Chapter 12 The Power Transition SIN C E World War II, tremendous emphasis has been placed upon military preparations. Aware that the balance of power does not seem to be working and afraid to trust in full the new international or- ganizations that we have created, nation after nation has turned to mili- tary might in hopes of thereby guaranteeing the kind of world it wants. True, men have always liked to discuss wars and to refight old battles, but rarely before in times of peace have so many been preoccupied with military strategy. The media of mass communication are full of such discussion-little maps showing the shortest bombing routes between world capitals, estimates of the relative size of armies and navies, ap- praisals of the quality of manpower and equipment, comparisons of the number and quality of missiles available to the major nations. The military outlook seems to have permeated the attitude of modern na- toward international affairs. This militarization of our international thinking is the natural out- Come of the fact that twice within one lifetime force has proved to be the supreme arbiter of the type of international order that is to prevail in the world. It is the result of the fear of highly destructive attacks; it is an expression of the hope that the nation, or coalition, with the strongest armed forces and the most destructive weapons will ultimately have the
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3 01 PART TWO: International Relations 3 00 decisive word. Coupled with the current arms race, we have also seen a scramble for allies-the creation of blocs and counterblocs, the wooing of neutrals, and endless conferences and agreements. Yet the significant facts of international politics are not determined by military strength and alliances. To explain the major trends of in- ternational politics, one must turn away from such exciting and color- ful problems as how many jet planes and guided missiles the Russians have or what one head of state said to another at a summit meeting. The distribution of power among nations does not balance itself, as we have seen. Nor can a nation assure the distribution of power it wishes and by holding conferences. We have learned that the leterminants of national power are population ~hf' nnlitical effiClenc and degree of industrialization. It is shifts in lead to changes in the distribution of power. The present instability of the international order is based on the
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2011 for the course POL 130 taught by Professor Simonelli during the Spring '08 term at Purdue.

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pol 130 - 2.98 P ART T WO: International Relations W e must...

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