Poli 260 - Week 4 (Lecture) - Poli 260 Week 4: What is the...

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Poli 260 Week 4: What is the balance of power? What types of balancing behaviour are there? How does the balance of power help us understand war and peace? (analyze WW1, WW2) Recall from last week: - Outer layer of onion: under anarchy, there is always a COMMITMENT problem - Situation states want to avoid: o CD: being conquered o DD: costly war (opportunity costs) - Situation states want to be in: o CC: cooperation o DC: conquering other state To prevent other side from defecting… - States won’t attack if cost of war exceeds benefits o Don’t want to lower benefits of conquest - Have you raise the cost of war o Deterrence A high cost to prevent someone from doing something that they’d otherwise do - How do you do this? o Increase capability and show that you will use it o Signal resolve BALANCE OF POWER - When a group of states (of more or less equal strength) are obliged to deal with one another; only 2 possible outcomes: o Either one state becomes so strong that it dominates all others and creates an empire (unlikely today) o Or no state is ever quite powerful enough to achieve that goal Pretensions of the most aggressive member of the international community are kept in check by a combination of others - States seek to be a hegemon to ensure survival o States behave aggressively for security o If unchecked, outcome is empire - Who prevents this? (Remember anarchy = commitment problem self-help system) o Other states (self-help) - How do you prevent his without costly war? o Join forces with others states: ALLIANCES The Purpose of the Balance of Power - Balance of power prevents rise of hegemon (global and regional) - Balance of power preserves/defends status quo (prevent major changes) o May/may not prevent war - Doesn’t necessarily prevent war, but the RISE OF HEGEMON - States create alliances to raise the costs of war for a potential aggressor (deterrence) o Logic: fighting 3 states is harder than fighting 1 o Alliance raises the cost of conflict - In a balancing coalition, states pool resources for the common defense - In a balancing collation, states must credibly commit to defend each other What the Balance of Power Responds To - Shifts to the distribution of power o Rising power o Declining power
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Poli 260 Week 4: - Mismatch between distribution of power and distribution of benefits (of the system) o The strongest states set up the international system to THEIR benefit (eg UN Security Council) o Cut weaker states/rising powers out of the distribution of benefits o Rising powers challenge to gain benefits (‘my turn’) Called ‘revisionism’ (trying to reverse in the present) o Country has more power but had been marginalized in the past Like how Britain and France are still on the Security Council even though they are weaker/less powerful Two Types of States - Status quo : o Most powerful states in the present/immediate past and have interest in maintaining system as it is o Get benefits >= relative power (get more benefits than their actual power comparatively)
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This note was uploaded on 12/07/2011 for the course POLI 260 taught by Professor Sens,allen during the Winter '09 term at The University of British Columbia.

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Poli 260 - Week 4 (Lecture) - Poli 260 Week 4: What is the...

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