Automation Theory of Balance of Power

Automation Theory of Balance of Power:

The balance of power is still an important concept in international politics. As a matter of fact, the impact of new policies and new forces that shaped our contemporary world has prevented the balance from operating correctly. Thus industrialism, the idea of total war, the growing importance of public opinion, the numerical reduction of great powers, the bi-polarity of power, the colonial revolution, the tendency toward a two-bloc system, the continuation of the cold war, peaceful co-existence, the growing importance of ideologies- all these and many other forces are the most unfavorable conditions to the operation of the balance of power. According to Prof. Hans Morgenthau, the principles of the theory of the balance of power are correct. But the new condition in contemporary world politics has made it difficult for the balance to operate smoothly. Prof. Morgenthau writes “the instability of the international balance of power is not due to the faintness of the principle but to the particular conditions under which the principles must operate in a society of sovereign states.”

There are many other writers who do not go into the merits or demerits of the balance of power. They defend the balance of power on the basis of automation. According to these authors, the balance of power is not a matter of choice but the same is brought about automatically or naturally in the process of struggle for power among nations. Accordingly, the process of international politics is automatic. According to the suppliers of this theory, the balance is natural and inevitable and it is in the interest of all nations. This automatic process in the balance of power is called automation, the automation theory of balance of power.

Arnold Toynbee, Herbert Butterfield, Adam Smith, and many others supported this theory. Toynbee writes of the balance of power as “a system of political dynamics that comes into play whenever a society articulates itself into a number of mutually independent local states. Herbert Butterfield says that the balance of power is mechanistically self-adjusting and self-rectifying. In the same manner Morton Kaplan in his book ‘Balance of Power’, Bipolarity and other models of International Politics says that it is in the interest of every nation to prevent other nation from becoming more powerful than itself. Lasswell also holds similar views.

The supporters of the theory of automation regard the balance of power as a natural law working automatically. As such the theory shifts the moral responsibility of the individual statesman to the impersonal forces of nature.

This automation theory is not widely accepted. There are many instances when this theory does not hold well. The policy of the U.S.A. after World War II is an illustration to prove the same. In spite of its long policy of isolation, the U.S.A. joined the process of power-balancing.

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