On the types of balancing behavior
Bendel, Thomas Richard.
Stockton, Paul N.
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The structure of the international system underwent a fundamental change with the end of the Cold War. The shift from bipolarity to multipolarity has loosened many of the constraints on the balancing behavior of the states that make up that system. Using neorealist theory, this paper examines the balancing choices of states in a multipolar world. Neorealism is clear in suggesting that under bipolarity, the great powers' balancing choice was inclined toward internal balancing-the development of one's own economic or military power. In a multipolar system, however, great powers will have greater opportunities for external balancing--allying with other powers. Additionally, the presence of nuclear weapons provides small states with the ability to balance against great powers. This may lead them to abandon their traditional reliance on alliances with great powers as the primary means for providing for their security. The European states system during the period 1856-1878 is presented as a case study. Findings suggest that those states with the capability to balance internally will do so. Using that knowledge, it is predicted that, in the current era, internal balancing will also be apparent with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction as a consequence
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