I agree with the quote that “Wars between states can be explained by the distribution of power and capabilities in the international system.” Power distribution among all the great powers plays an important role for the stability and economy of the state. I believe that war determines who will govern the international system, and whose interests will be primarily served by the new international order. Mearsheimer’s short article “The cause of great power war” explains the occurrence of major power wars. According to Mearsheimer, power gives rise to three kinds of systems which are known as Bipolarity, Unbalanced Multipolarity, and Balanced Multipolarity. I believe these systems are determining factors of the outbreak of war, and the distinction between balanced and unbalanced multipolar systems is important in comprehending the history of great power war.
Balanced Bipolarity (Cold War)
Bipolarity is when two potential super powers have equal capability of powers. A good example for balanced bipolarity is the Cold War. Distribution of power after the Second World War was nearly equal between the United States and the Soviet Union. The fear of nuclear weapons resulted in conflict between the two nations; the search for security by Russia triggered insecurity in the US and vice versa. The Cuban Missile Crisis was not only the closest the United States and Soviet Union came to an armed conflict during The Cold War, but, the closest the world has come to a nuclear war as well. The Cuban president Fidel Castro agreed with Khrushchev's (president of Russia) plan to place missiles on the island, as a springboard to attack USA. The crisis started when photographs disclosed soviet missiles under construction in Cuba. Kennedy decided to set a naval quarantine around Cuba as he wanted to avert the arrival of more Soviet adversary weapons on the island. On October 22 1962, Kennedy declared the discovery of the missile installations to the community, and his decision to isolate the island. Subsequently tensions began to build up between Russia and USA. Russia’s president suggested removing Soviet missiles and his employees, if the U.S. would promise not to attack Cuba. Ultimately, tensions started to ease on October 28 1962 when Khrushchev declared that he would take apart the installations and return the missiles to the Soviet Union, expressing his trust that the United States would not invade Cuba. The main problem between USA and Russia was one of ideology, the complete antagonism between capitalism and socialism. Despite the fact that this two countries could not agree on any matter due to their ideologies, the cold war did not end up destroying the world. This is because, as Mearsheimer Stated in his article, if there are only two great powers in the world, they usually end up finding a solution to their enmity through compromise since there are not other great powers to also compromise with. The cold war is a major example of bipolarity, and due to their equal status both countries realized the importance of compromise rather than initiating a war in which the outcome would be a world crisis.
Balanced Multipolarity (First World War)
Balanced Multipolarity occurs when there are 3 or more superpowers exists and the power between them is unbalanced. However, it is less aggressive than unbalanced multi polarity. A good example for balanced mutipolarity could be the First World War. Some scholars agree that the First World War began with the assassination of the archduke of Austria-Hungary Franz Ferdinand and his wife by Gavrilo Princip. Even though the assassination of Ferdinand might have started the war, I believe that the division of nations and the formation of alliances furthermore fuelled the war. When Germany started making alliances with Italy and Austria-Hungary, the other nations in the...