Power Management in International Relations: Balance of Power

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Balance of Power

  • International politics is struggle for power , but not an all-out struggle for maximum power.
  • States seeks power but peace too.
  • Use of persuasive and several other devices of power management.
  • BOP i.e.. Balance of power has traditionally been the most popular device of power management.
  • Single most dominated doctrine.

Meaning and Definition

Innis Claude – “a system in which some nations regulate their power relation without any interference by any big power . As such it is a decentralized system in which power and policies remains in the hands of constituting units” .

Morgenthau conceptualizes it as a policy and use it in four different senses-

  • as a policy aimed at certain state of affairs.
  • as an actual state of affair.
  • as an approximately equal distribution of power
  • any distribution of power.


  • It shows some sort of equilibrium in power relations, but it also involves international disequilibrium.
  • Temporary and unstable.
  • It tends to favor status quo.
  • It is not an effective device of peace.
  • Influence of big powers dominates.
  • National interest is one of the basis.


  • Couloumbis – the period between 1648 and 1789 may be considered as the first golden age of classical Balance of Power .
  • During the period of 1643 - 1715, Louis XIV of France threatened to destroy the balance, so he faced oppositions from coalition power of England and Netherland.
  • In the treaty of Utrecht, it was stated that provisions for division of Spanish inheritance between Bourbons and Hapsburg were made for preserving equilibrium in Europe. This was indeed the first formal incorporation of BOP in IR.
  • The 19th century (1815 - 1914) can be called the second golden age for balance of power.
  • The two world wars faded the scope and utility of the BOP, world started looking for another strategies to prevent wars and secure peace.


  • Compensation – Usually entails the annexation or divisions of the territory of the state whose power is considered dangerous for the balance.
  • Alliances – Morgenthau – ″ alliances are the necessary functions of balance of power operating within multi-state system.
  • Intervention And Non-Intervention – intervention is a dictatorial interference in state of affairs of a nation with a view to change a desired situation, nonintervention involves deliberate non-action in a particular situation which is considered to be harmful to other competing opponents.
  • Divide And Rule – it has been resorted to by all such nations who try to make or keep their competitors weak by keeping them divided or dividing them.
  • Buffer Zones – setting up a buffer state between two opponents,
  • Armaments And Disarmament – for maintain world peace and security nations are involved in various disarmament treaties.


1. ‘Politics among Nations’ is written by –

  1. Frederich
  2. Thompson
  3. Morgenthau
  4. Was by

Ans. C. Morgenthau

Explanation: Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace is a political science book by Hans Morgenthau published in 1948.

The book introduces the concept of political realism, presenting a realist view of power politics.

2. Who said – “the problem with balance of power is not that it has no meaning, but it has too many meanings” ?

  1. Spykman
  2. Wright
  3. Innis Claude Jr.
  4. Morgenthau

Ans . C. Innis Claude Jr.

Explanation: because there has been multiplicity of views of BOP, there couldn՚t be one single definition for it and the immense popularity of the term has brought in difficulty of defining the term.

3. The first golden period of BOP ________?

  1. 1513 - 1613
  2. 1590 - 1690
  3. 1620 - 1640
  4. 1648 - 1789

Ans . D. 1648 - 1789

Explanation: the period between 1648 and 1789 may be considered as the first golden age of classical Balance of Power .

4. League of nations came into existence in the year________?

a. 1819

b. 1919

c. 1925

d. 1930

Ans. B. 1919

Explanation: The League of Nations was an international organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 – 1920. The League՚s goals included disarmament, preventing war through collective security, settling disputes between countries through negotiation, diplomacy and improving global welfare.

5. UNO

The United Nations

was established in?

a. 1945

b. 1930

c. 1919

d. 1948

Ans. A. 1945

Explanation: The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security.

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