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null Global Connections Speaker Series Event: Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing from Empires to the Global Era

Date: November 29, 2018 to November 29, 2018
Time: 1200-1330
Location: Glasgow Hall, Room 322

Please join NSA on 29 November 2018 at 1200 in Glasgow Hall for Professor T.V. Paul's talk “Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing from Empires to the Global Era.” At the end of the Cold War, the United States emerged as the world’s most powerful state and then used that power to initiate wars against smaller countries in the Middle East and South Asia. According to balance-of-power theory—the bedrock of realism in international relations—other states should have joined together militarily to counterbalance the United States’ rising power. Yet they did not, nor have they united to oppose Chinese aggression in the South China Sea or Russian offensives along its Western border. 

Professor T.V. Paul argues that this does not mean balance-of-power politics is dead, but that it has taken a different form. Rather than employing familiar strategies, such as active military alliances and arms buildups, leading powers have engaged in “soft balancing,” which seeks to restrain threatening powers through the use of international institutions, informal alignments, and economic sanctions. Paul places the evolution of balancing behavior in historical perspective from the post?Napoleonic era to today’s globalized world. His book, Restraining Great Powers, is an illuminating explanation of how subtler forms of balance-of-power politics can help states achieve their goals against aggressive powers without wars or arms races.

To read Professor Paul's short bio, click here