This paper will consider the suitability of three theoretical perspectives on the international order (balance of power, hegemonic stability, and international society) to the “new world order” emerging in the aftermath of the Cold War and the Gulf War. This will be done by deriving five conflict-management mechanisms from the logic of the three perspectives and then examining their application to the postwar and the post-Cold War eras. My argument will be that recent changes in world politics have affected the relative utility of these conflict-management devices. Balancing and nuclear deterrence, closely related to the logic of the balance of power school, were the major instruments for maintaining the international order during the postwar era. They might be still relevant for certain purposes but three other mechanisms could become increasingly effective in the post-postwar era. Each of these three arrangements, however, suits a somewhat different setting. U.S. leadership, closely associated with the hegemonic stability perspective, could play a major role in managing major military crises. Although collective security has become more relevant in the post-Cold War era, its most effective application could take place in an increasingly liberal-democratic Europe. Yet, for reducing the intensity of Third World conflicts, a concert of like-minded great powers could be especially helpful.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations