A New Concert of Powers

Courtesy Reuters

The world does not need to be reminded that it exists in a formal state of anarchy. There is no international government. Nor is there sufficient interdependence or division of labor among states to transform international relations into a social system akin to domestic affairs. Under prevailing circumstances there are only three methods by which that anarchic system can be regulated or prevented from lapsing into chaos: the traditional balance of power; nuclear deterrence; and rule by a central coalition. Each system has been employed at different times during the last two hundred years.

The balance of power held sway during most of the nineteenth and the first part of the twentieth century. It was an inefficient mechanism at best, providing no automatic equilibration of power relationships. It also gave rise to both world wars this century. Under this system nations found it difficult to respond credibly to an aggressor

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