Balance of power is a realist view that currently maintains international order. Balance of power is becoming questionable because of the advancements in weaponry and the growing presence of nuclear warheads. Realists and neorealist believe that collective security will not work as a foreign policy because there are too many factors that must be in order for it to be successful. In the past, collective security has failed in the League of Nations and the United Nations. The League of Nations gave veto power to all countries while the United Nations gives veto power to only five powerful countries; Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and China. This causes a problem because if any state has the power to prevent a decision then it is a weaker collective security.
Current international politics run on a balance of power approach. Many liberals believe that eventually the United Nations will use collective security as a means for controlling states. Collective security would only be successful if all the major powerful countries are involved. Also, no country can have veto power because it will weaken the goal of collective security. The countries involved will make any necessary sanctions, but if these sanctions hurt their economies collective security will fail as it has in the past.
The collective security approach was first introduced for the League of Nations but had originally been planned as a force to achieve peace with aggressors. The original goal was changed before it was presented, to create perpetual peace between countries without the use of force. When it was introduced, collective security was largely backed by the United States and Great Britain. However, revolution was the main rule in the world and without firm boundaries, collective security was not the right international policy. Collective security could not unite its members and they would not do so themselves. The major states involved were not willing to bind themselves and commit to the plan of collective security and peace without force. This is the biggest reason why collective security cannot work and will not work.
The world’s most powerful and dominant countries are characterized by their economies and militaries. Collective security can make a country seem less threatening. Unless all major states agree to abide by the rules of collective security then not one will truly bind itself to its goal. For collective security to work it must provide certainty for the major states. All change would have to be by peaceful means. However with the advancement of nuclear weaponry and biological weapons, society is very far from achieving collective security as an international policy.
In contrast to collective security, balance of power can be successful even with biological and nuclear weaponry. Balance of power and its acceptance of war create a much greater problem due to the weapon advancements of the 21st century. However, balance of power has recently been in question. In international relations, states have two options they can perform with the balance of power policy. The first is that a weaker state can join a stronger rival state, making the more powerful state that they have joined with stronger. This is also called bandwagoning. The second more common method, balancing, is when a stronger state joins a weaker state to prevent or slow an opposing aggressor. An example of this would be the United States and their position of siding with Israel in their war against the Palestinians.
Balance of power has been a main international policy for many decades. Hans Morgenthau says, “a foreign policy based on the balance of power is one among several possible foreign policies and that only stupid and evil men will choose the former and reject the latter”. Morgenthau believes that countries that oppose one another must not strive to find a balance but attempt to be the superior and thus create equality, balance of power. Nuclear war is very feasible and with its high possibility, balance of power can become less appropriate. One guideline of balance of power is that states must stop fighting if it will eliminate an essential state. This rule or regulation should and would make nuclear weapons work with balance of power. All the weapon advancements in history have not yet caused balance of power to fail.
Chemical and biological weapons have been in existent for decades. During this time, collective security has failed and balance of power has prevailed. Balance of power still holds as the best policy for international order. Balance of power could fail if a major state disagrees upon the importance of the preservation of state independence. If this would occur, it would cause large-scale wars that would be far from controllable by the major states because of weapons advancements.
I believe states should use balance of power because a country should have the ability to look out for themselves foremost rather then getting permission from the United Nations. Collective security would force countries to get international approval from the various powerful countries in order to wage war and it would only be allowed in order to repel other aggression. Since collective security is a liberal vision, the liberals believe in a different method of international order in comparison to a realist view. Constant peace is very difficult to imagine in the current state of the world, but this is what collective security asks of all the states involved.
Balance of power has been in effect since the 16th century but the actual goal of the policy has since disappeared. The United States have become dominant along with a few other states and they have not formed coalitions to counterbalance. Many liberals believe that globalization has caused balance of power to become inapplicable and they believe collective security would be a better choice for international policy. However, collective security is very uncertain because if states choose not to believe it will not work, and these chances are very high.
Balance of power is not evident within the greatest of powers, United States, China, and Russia. If Russia and China were to create a coalition against the United States to create a balance of power it would disrupt their economic situations and only hurt them selves. Collective security will falter with the lack of agreement from major states, but balance of power is struggling for the same reason. Countries seek to expand their own power rather then create equality. With the current state of the world economy, and the current military actions, a foreign policy based on balance of power is what the world must strive for because collective security is currently not an option. Until nuclear sanctions are set and most importantly met by states, and states fully comply and agree to collective security; collective security will not be able to control international order.
Balance of power has been in place since the 16th century when Henry VIII tried to create equality between France, Spain, and England. Balance of power has kept international order since then as the main foreign policy. Collective security, the weaker policy that liberals wish was in place, has tried to become the international policy for states but has failed. With weapon advancements: nuclear, biological, and chemical, balance of power has become difficult to achieve. Great powers such as the United States have grown while other countries have not created coalitions to balance. Realists believe that collective security cannot work and the only policy that will work is balance of power. Liberals feel that peace without force can be successful if the greatest powers in the world agree by all rules and believe in collective security in its entirety. The decision comes down to the states who have the power and control, if they choose to believe in the liberal’s method collective security can survive in a violent world, otherwise it will falter like it has in the past League of Nations and United Nations.