The Changing Balance of Power
“The Changing Balance of Power” is an article which traces the history of the balance of power in the world from the beginning of the modern nation-state system in 1648 to the present and then makes some predictions about the balance of power in the future. The article begins by discussing the concept of the balance of power and how it ensures not only stability in a system composed of a number of sovereign states but also the independence of most states as well. The bulk of the article is devoted to the period since the end of World War II.
The balance of power was multi-polar and therefore flexible between 1648-1939. Starting in 1945, the balance of power underwent several fundamental changes which impaired the manner in which it traditionally operated, becoming inflexible due to bipolarity and the two-bloc system, then Uni-polar at the end of the Cold War. Finally, it is apparent that the balance of power is becoming multi-polar again with the rise of the European Union, China, Russia, India, Indonesia and Brazil. With a return to the multi-polar system, the balance of power will again become flexible within the next 20-25 years.