Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 June 2011
Many argue that balance of power theory is as applicable to the Third World as it is to other states. Without substantial modification, however, balance of power theory cannot explain Third World alignments, because it ignores key characteristics of Third World states that determine alignment. The author develops a theory, “omnibalancing,” that is relevant to the Third World and that repairs these defects. Rather than balance of power's emphasis on states seeking to resist threats from other states, omnibalancing explains Third World alignments as a consequence of leaders seeking to counter internal and external threats to their rule. The superiority of omnibalancing over balance of power in making Third World alignments understandable is related to the Third World in general and to the alignment decisions of two key Third World states in particular. The author concludes by discussing why an understanding of the Third World, including Third World alignment, is central to the study of international relations.
2 In my use of the term balance of power, I include the efforts of statesmen to counter both power and threats. For more on this point, see Walt, Stephen M., The Origins of Alliances (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1987), 5, 21–26Google Scholar; and Claude, Inis L. Jr, Power and International Relations (New York: Random House, 1962), 64–65.Google Scholar
3 Kenneth Waltz and, to a lesser extent, Hans Morgenthau base their balance of power theory on the capabilities of states. Generally speaking, the greater the capability of a state, the greater the threat it poses to other states; see Waltz, , Theory of international Politics (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1979)Google Scholar, esp. chap. 6; and Morgenthau, Hans and Thompson, Kenneth, Politics among Nations, 6th ed. (New York: Knopf, 1985)Google Scholar, esp. chap. 11. George Liska also emphasizes the role of external threat, calling it the “primary source of alliances”; see Nations in Alliance: The Limits of Interdependence (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1962), 13.
4 Holsti, Ole R., Hopmann, P. Terrence, and Sullivan, John D., Unity and Disintegration in International Alliances: Comparative Studies (New York: John Wiley, 1973), 5.Google Scholar Based on an exhaustive survey of the literature, the authors concluded that most balance of power writings argue this.
5 Waltz, Kenneth, “Theory of International Relations,” in Greenstein, Fred I. and Polsby, Nelson W., eds., Handbooks of Political Science: International Politics (Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1975), 8: 43.Google Scholar
6 The notion is widespread that alliance cohesion weakens when there is no external threat. See, for example, Wolfers, Arnold, Discord and Collaboration (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1962), 29Google Scholar; and Boulding, Kenneth E., Conflict and Defense: A General Theory (New York: Harper and Row, 1962), 162.Google Scholar
7 This is a major argument made by Stephen Walt, who asserts that his theory is supported by the experiences of states in the Middle East. He does, however, modify balance of power theory to focus on threats (instead of power) from other states. See Walt (fn. 2), 13–14.
8 Waltz (fn. 3), 121; and Morgenthau and Thompson (fn. 3), 228.
9 The first mention I have been able to find of “bandwagoning” in the sense used here is in Wolfers, Arnold, Discord and Collaboration: Essays in International Politics (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), 15.Google Scholar See also Walt (fn. 2), 19–21.
10 See Morgenthau and Thompson (fn. 3), chaps. 1, 3, for a concise description of realism.
12 This lesson comes from the two central works of realism, Morgenthau's Politics among Nations (fn. 3) and Thucydides’, History of the Peloponnesian War (New York: Penguin, 1985).Google Scholar See also Keohane, Robert O., “Theory of World Politics: Structural Realism and Beyond,” in Keohane, , ed., Neorealism and Its Critics (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 163Google Scholar, for elaboration of this point.
13 This is in conformity with Graham Allison's Model I; see Allison, , The Essence of Decisions: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Boston: Little Brown, 1971), 5.Google Scholar
14 Morgenthau and Thompson (fn. 3), 5.
15 See, for example, Morgenthau (fn. 3), esp. chaps. 1, 3, as well as Waltz (fn. 3). Although differences exist between the two interpretations, they are treated together in that they both accept the view of realism that envisions a world of international anarchy in which the principal actors are states that seek to expand and survive.
16 Morgenthau and Thompson (fn. 3), 14.
17 This study considers the Third World as including all countries except the United States, the Soviet Union, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the European states, and the People's Republic of China. For an especially good description of the differences between Third World states, see Cohen, Benjamin, The Question of Imperialism: The Political Economy of Dominance and Dependence (New York: Basic Books, 1973), 145–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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29 Even threats such as coups d'état, which are thought of as strictly internal, frequently have a foreign dimension. From 1945 to mid-1985 foreign involvement played a significant role in the support of at least twenty-four successful and unsuccessful coup attempts and in efforts to suppress fourteen coups in the Third World. Foreign involvement was thus involved in slightly over 10% of the total of all coups and coup attempts. See David (fn. 19), 2.
30 According to Stephen Krasner, Third World states behave alike in global negotiations, not out of a common desire for economic development, but rather out of a common need for regime security. This view supports the contentions that one can generalize about the Third World and that concerns over survival assume central importance in Third World decision making. Krasner, See, “Third World Vulnerabilities and Global Negotiations,” Review of International Studies 9 (October 1983), 235–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
31 Morgenthau and Thompson (fn. 3), 190.
32 See ibid., 189–92, for a concise description on why internal balancing is supposedly fundamentally different from balancing between states.
33 For an intriguing argument that order is more common between Third World (in this case, African) states than within them, see Jackson and Rosberg (fn. 21).
34 For an argument of why states should be considered the main actors in international politics, see Waltz (fn. 3), 93–95; and see also Keohane (fn. 12), 160.
35 Waltz (fn. 3), 81.
36 Morgenthau and Thompson (fn. 3), 227–28.
38 Ayoob (fn. 20), 43. On the background of the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War (including Indian support of the East Bengalis), see Jackson, Robert, South Asian Crisis: India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh: A Political and Historical Analysis of the 1971 War (New York: Praeger, 1975);Google Scholar and Chopra, Pran, India's Second Liberation (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1974).Google Scholar On the need of the Pakistani leadership to prevent the secession of East Pakistan in order to survive in power, see Jackson, 26–27.
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42 Some useful works on Eritrea include Erlich, Hagai, The Struggle over Eritrea, 1962–1978 (Stanford, Calif.: Hoover Institution, 1983)Google Scholar; Trevaskis, G. H. K., Eritrea: A Colony in Transition (London: Oxford University Press, 1960)Google Scholar; and Sherman, Richard, Eritrea: The Unfinished Revolution (New York: Praeger, 1980).Google Scholar See also Markakis, John, National and Class Conflict in the Horn of Africa (London: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 104–45.Google Scholar
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44 Some good background treatments of Anwar Sadat's Egypt, including his decision to reject his alignment with the Soviet Union and turn to the United States, include el-Sadat, Anwar, In Search of Identity: An Autobiography (New York: Harper and Row, 1978)Google Scholar; Baker, Raymond William, Egypt's Uncertain Revolution under Nasser and Sadat (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978);CrossRefGoogle ScholarHinnebusch, Raymond A. Jr, Egyptian Politics under Sadat (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985)Google Scholar; Dawaisha, A. I., Egypt in the Arab World: The Elements of Foreign Policy (New York: Macmillan, 1976)Google Scholar; Heikal, Mohammed, The Sphinx and the Commissar: The Rise and Fall of Soviet Influence in the Arab World (London: Collins, 1978)Google Scholar; Shamir, Shimon, “Egypt's Reorientation towards the U.S.: Factors and Conditions of Decision Making,” in Shaked, Haim and Rabinovich, Itamar, eds., The Middle East and the United States: Perceptions and Policies (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1980)Google Scholar; Cooper, Mark, The Transformation of Egypt (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982)Google Scholar; Rubinstein, Alvin Z., Red Star on the Nile: The Soviet-Egyptian Influence Relationship since the June War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977)Google Scholar; and Freedman, Robert O., Soviet Policy toward the Middle East since 1970 (New York: Praeger, 1975).Google Scholar
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46 Jervis, , “Systems Theories and Diplomatic History,” in Lauren, Paul Gordon, ed., Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory and Policy (New York: Free Press, 1979), 218.Google Scholar
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49 Waltz (fn. 5), 37–38.
50 Waltz (fn. 3), 94.
51 Walt makes this point in connection with bandwagoning; see Walt (fn. 2), 179.
52 On the possible reasons for the absence of war among states outside the Third World, see Doyle, Michael W., “Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs,” Philosophy and Public Affairs 12 (Summer-Fall 1983), 205–35, 323–53Google Scholar; idem, “Liberalism and World Politics,” American Political Science Review 80 (December 1986), 1151–69; Russett, Bruce, “The Politics of an Alternative Security System: Toward a More Democratic and Therefore More Peaceful World,” in Weston, Burns, ed., Alternatives to Nuclear Deterrence (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1989)Google Scholar; Gaddis (fn. 18), esp. chap. 8; Mueller, John, “The Essential Irrelevance of Nuclear Weapons: Stability in the Postwar World,” International Security 13 (Fall 1988), 55–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Fukuyama, Francis, “The End of History,” National Interest 16 (Summer 1989), 3–18.Google Scholar
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56 For example, Richard Ned Lebow cites the political vulnerability of a leader as one of the key factors that can induce a policy of brinkmanship; Lebow, , Between Peace and War. The Nature of International Crisis (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), 69–79.Google Scholar