Balance of Power: History and Theory by Michael Sheehan

By Michael Sheehan

The stability of strength is among the so much primary innovations at the back of overseas politics and offers a constitution for explaining many of the crucial ideas in the back of diplomacy. but regardless of its frequent significance it is still an enigma and is surrounded through controversy. "The stability of Power" strains the evolution of the speculation from the eighteenth century to the current day. It comprises classical anlysis and up to date examine to provide a close account of the idea that in perform and the operation of the foreign approach whereas difficult conventional perspectives of the stability of strength. Its exploration of ways the stability of energy operated in key historic classes exhibits how the widely approved improvement of the idea that relies on a false impression of the historic truth.

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The rapid spread of printing throughout Europe accelerated both the diffusion of images and the spread of ideas. It meant that the particular interpretation of Italian history put forward by Guicciardini, Rucellai and Gentili could rapidly be received and absorbed by literate Italians and that this conception of the Italian state system would spread through Europe as their works were translated, to offer a model for later ages when circumstances propitious for its general adoption emerged in northern Europe.

The Scottish philosopher and historian David Hume argued that interstate politics in the classical age of ancient Greece was governed by balance of power thinking. To Hume the policy of preserving a balance was such an obvious one that ‘it is INTELLECTUAL ORIGINS AND EARLY DEVELOPMENT 25 impossible it could altogether have escaped antiquity, where we find, in other particulars, so many marks of deep penetration and discernment’ (Wright, 1975:63). However, Hume was writing in the mid-eighteenth century at a time when Britain’s policy of maintaining a European balance of power was domestically controversial and Hume was seeking the support of antiquity for the policy he himself favoured.

Modern reflections, such as that of Waltz (1979:127), which identify balance of power policies in ancient Greece in order to establish a historical continuum of balance practice, are imposing a framework on a pattern of events whose explanation should instead be sought in the Greek world-view of the era. Yet the absence of theorising about international relations and about balances of power in ancient Greece is striking. The Greek culture of this time demonstrated many of the elements which combined to produce balance of power theory in Europe 2,000 years later.

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