Soft Balancing In International Politics

1205 Words 5 Pages
Furthermore, such combative action makes America appear more threatening to other countries. According to “balance of threat” realism, countries that view a great power as a threat have a much greater likelihood of engaging in balancing against that threat (Lecture/Waltz 2000). And even though no country currently occupies a position with which it could engage in hard balancing against the United States, other nations have already begun to use soft balancing techniques against the US. Soft balancing in this case occurs when countries remain too weak to balance against a nation through direct military or economic means, so instead decide to delay or raise the costs of a strong state exercising its power. For example, when countries like France …show more content…
Since the end of World War II Western liberal democracies have heavily pushed their ideas on how nations should interact in creating a stable, orderly world. Under this concept of a liberal order a majority of countries would follow international rules furthering cooperative economic gains, the upholding of human rights, and security guarantees (Barma et al. 57). If such an order could inspire most major countries to buy into its system, international politics could become much more democratic and multilateral action could become more legitimate in the eyes of the world. Having most states follow one set of international rules and norms would therefore further global stability and present a strong deterrent to conflict by ensuring that those nations seeking to break international norms face opposition from a relatively united global community. While not global in scale, the Congress of Vienna System in Europe exemplified the potential power inherent in an international order supported by many of the most powerful states. During this time period all major European nations stood in agreement to preserve their system predicated on state sovereignty, balance of power, and legitimacy (Kissinger 2014). As a result, Europeans understood that peaceful evolution within the Congress of …show more content…
As Soviet weakness became apparent, many intellectuals began to tout the triumph of the Western international order due to a lack of viable alternatives (Fukuyama 1989). These individuals grew increasingly optimistic that networking effects would accelerate the rate at which states willingly adapted to the international liberal order (Barma et al. 58). Such networking would occur as new states joined international institutions. Their membership would increase the benefits and incentives for other states to join by promising access to all the major nations already part of this order (in addition to limiting potentially viable partners outside). But, this optimism ultimately proved ill-founded. While Western institutions like NATO have seen some increased membership since the Cold War ended, many key international powers like China and Russia remain opposed to fully joining their nations’ interests with those of the West. The liberal order championed by the West has thus never truly engrained itself in all areas of international politics and therefore finds itself more vulnerable to attack than a pervasive and universally accepted order

Related Documents