Balance of Power

Article excerpt

THE coincidence between the passing of George F. Kennan, architect of the US policy of Containment during the Cold War, and the announcement of the first joint military exercises between Russia and China brought to my mind the theory of balance of power that I learned in high school.

The Austrian Metternick, the German Bismarck, and the American Henry Kissinger come to mind as the proponents of the theory.

What the theory boils down to is that a nation or group of nations must be strong enough, often militarily, to "balance" the power of other nations.

Thus, in recent history, there were allied powers against axis powers during World War II. Then there was the US and the "free world" against the USSR emporium.

"Containment" employed diplomacy and covert acts (whatever it took short of war) to halt the spread of communism, its success proven by the collapse of the Soviet Union. The result is that the US is now the most powerful country in the world, and with George W. Bush, it can embark on a democratic crusade without being hindered too much by the United Nations. …