Unformatted text preview: POL 130 Lecture 7 POL 130 Lecture 7 Power Transition Theory February 3, 2011 Balance of Power Theory Balance of Power Theory Tendency for the international system to be balanced As long as the balance of power is maintained, there is peace Balance of Power Theory Balance of Power Theory War only occurs when both sides believe their chance of winning is greater than 50% Therefore, when power evenly distributed, peace likely to prevail Empirical Evidence Empirical Evidence There is no systematic relationship between the likelihood of war and the balance of power (Organski and Kugler 1980) According to balance of power theory, should According to balance of power theory, should expect:
Unequal Equal Peace War 0 100 100 0 Actual results: Actual results:
Unequal Equal Peace War 81 (86%) 13 (14%) 26 (81%) 6 (19%) Empirical Evidence Empirical Evidence No significant association between estimates of the probability of victory for either side in a war and the likelihood that there will be a war Balance of Power Theory Balance of Power Theory Problematic underlying assumptions: States are static units States do not have permanent ties with one another Balance of power not the usual state of international affairs Balance of power is not conducive to peace Erroneous conclusions: Power Transition Theory Power Transition Theory First challenge to realism that was not idealistic or normative (Organski) Like realism, the focus is on power Unlike realism, the international system is not anarchic, rather it is hierarchically organized International System Structure International System Structure International system is hierarchically organized:
Dominant states Great powers Middle powers Small states More powerful states have more resources Only one dominant state at any given time Satisfied States Satisfied States There are two types of states: Satisfied states content with the international order Dissatisfied states dissatisfied with the international order Goals of States Goals of States States want to maximize their control over the rules and norms that govern international relations
Want to be able to define the status quo Want to impose their policy objectives Power is the instrument to do this Summary of Assumptions Summary of Assumptions States are the central actors Hierarchical structure States are either satisfied or dissatisfied States have policy objectives that they would like to impose on other states Conflict Conflict More powerful, dissatisfied states pose the biggest threat to international peace System transforming conflicts occur when a dissatisfied state gains sufficient power to challenge the hegemon When do Power Transition Wars Occur? When do Power Transition Wars Occur? The threat of war is at its highest when the two rivals are just about equal in power (when the challenger is roughly equal with and ready to surpass the hegemon) Hypothesis Hypothesis Major, system transforming wars will only occur when the challenger state and the dominant state are about equal in power, and the power of the challenger is increasing faster than that of the dominant state Empirical Evidence Empirical Evidence Examples: 1870 FrancoPrussian War PreWorld War II period Extension Extension There is a critical time at which the risk of war is at a maximum (Kim and Morrow): When the challenger believes the costs of deferring an effort to defeat the status quo are equal to the benefits that would be obtained from proceeding with the effort When the dominant state believes that the costs of fighting are less than the costs of granting concessions to the challenger Critical Interval for War Critical Interval for War The critical interval does not depend on an equal distribution of power The distribution of power at which war occurs depends on each side’s willingness to take the risks of waiting Summary Summary Core argument is logically consistent Central hypothesis supported empirically Other hypotheses not empirically supported: for example, differences is growth rates turn out not to be crucial empirically ...
View Full Document