Event Date: September 25, 2018 - 12:00 to - 13:30 Location: FSS 4004, 120 University Private
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 balanceofpower theory—the bedrock of realism in international relations—other states should have joined together militarily to counterbalance the U.S.’s 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.
This does not mean balance of power politics is dead, argues renowned international relations scholar T.V. Paul, but that it has taken a different form. Rather than employ 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. This book 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.
T.V. Paul is a James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He served as the President of International Studies Association (ISA) for 2016-17. Paul is the author or editor of 18 books and over 65 scholarly articles/book chapters in the fields of International Relations, International Security, and South Asia. He is the author of the books: Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing from Empires to the Global Era (Yale University Press, 2018); The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World (Oxford University Press, 2013); Globalization and the National Security State (with N. Ripsman, Oxford University Press, 2010); The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons (Stanford University Press, 2009); India in the World Order: Searching for Major Power Status (with B.R. Nayar Cambridge University Press, 2002); Power versus Prudence: Why Nations Forgo Nuclear Weapons (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000); and Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers (Cambridge University Press, 1994). Paul currently serves as the editor of the Georgetown University Press book series: South Asia in World Affairs. In 2018, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. More can be found at: www.tvpaul.com
The book will be available for purchase and a signature from the author at the end of the talk.