As a theory, balance of power predicts that rapid changes in international power and status—especially attempts by one state to conquer a region—will provoke counterbalancing actions. For this reason, the balancing process helps to maintain the stability of relations between states. A balance of power system functions most effectively when alliances are fluid, when they are easily formed or broken on the basis of expediency, regardless of values, religion, history, or form of government. Occasionally a single state plays a balancer role, shifting its support to oppose whatever state or alliance is strongest. A weakness of the balance of power concept is the difficulty of measuring power. (Extract from 'Balance of Power,' Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2000 http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.) Balance of Threat Theory
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An approach to the study of politics or other social phenomena that focuses on the actions and interactions among units by using scientific methods of observation to include quantification of variables whenever possible. A practitioner of behavioralism is often referred to as a behavioralist. Behaviorism refers to the ideas held by those behavioral scientists who consider only observed behavior as relevant to the scientific enterprise and who reject what they consider to be metaphysical notions of "mind" or "consciousness" (Viotti, P. and M. Kauppi, (eds.). 1987. International Relations Theory. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York). Chaos Theory
In mathematics and physics, chaos theory describes the behavior of certain nonlinear dynamical systems that may exhibit dynamics that are highly sensitive to initial conditions (popularly referred to as the butterfly effect). As a result of this sensitivity, which manifests itself as an exponential growth of perturbations in the initial conditions, the behavior of chaotic systems appears to be random. This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future dynamics are fully defined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved. This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos. Since the International System can be considered a nonlinear dynamic system, it is reasonable to take this theory into account for the study of the International Order. (Mostly from Wikipedia.) Classical Realism
Also called human realism and associated with Morgenthau's exposition of realism in which the power pursuit propensity of states is derived from the basic nature of human beings as power maximisers. This perspective holds that ideological, as well as material, factors may constitute 'power' (e.g. power over public opinion) and hence has some social underpinning. Collective Defence
Though the term existed before 1949, a common understanding of collective defence with regards to NATO can be found in Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty: 'The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them... shall be considered an attack against them all; and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area' (NATO Handbook: 232). In the context of NATO, then, collective defence is based on countering traditional challenges as understood by the realist/neorealist paradigm, specifically to territory, and finds its focus on an identifiable external threat or adversary. Collective Security
Employed during the construction of the League of Nations, the concept of collective...