Preview: Balance of Power

A natural sequel to CNN: Trump’s biggest nightmare? China and Russia’s new friendship Part 1 and CNN: Trump’s biggest nightmare? China and Russia’s new friendship Part 2, would be a piece about balance of power.

Peace between nations has sometimes been associated with a world order of a time. Between 1815 and 1914, there was no general war in Europe, even though the foreign policies of the time were at best, self-serving and amoral.

Balance of power was displaced as a foreign policy option by the idealism of Woodrow Wilson. It has continued in disrepute to this day. It was central to Pax Americana that we would bring the world to a better place, devoid of such machinations.

As a world order, Pax Americana is in its twilight years. The replacement will be disorder, or another system. It might be time to take a fresh look at balance of power. But it cannot be a simple replication of the 19th century European system. The conditions  under which an adaptation might work would be very different,  specific to our time.

We do not want to abandon our values for the pure self-interest of the 19th century.  We may choose  to champion our values more by example than by transplantation. We  have to set a good example.

Against current events, this may seem a little dull. It’s a good subject when time permits quiet contemplation. It  has been the subject of many authors. The approach of Henry Kissinger’s Diplomacy is distinctively  functional, emphasizing the mechanisms over excruciating historical detail.

In a future article, I’ll attempt to  reduce it further, to something much less than a good history, to essential features, deliberately non-representative of the post-Napoleonic era itself. The result may something we can reconstruct in the present.

We are in a state of Koyaanisqatsi, the Hopi word for life out of balance. We must find a new balance, without abandoning the values of the old.

Let’s wait for a quiet moment.

Until then, have a look at the trailer for Koyaanisqatsi.

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