A Step Toward Providing a New Theory of Regional Balance of Power

Document Type : Original Article


- Assistant Professor of International Relations, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


The balance of power is one of the oldest international relations theories. This theory has been regarded as most efficient theory in realist approach of international relations. Developments in international system and communication have changed some aspects of power. These developments have changed conceptual and theoretical foundations of balance of power that proved inefficiency of classic form. This theory has past difficult periods. Therefore we must define it in new framework. Considering the theory of balance of power in new international system suggests departure from some of its common definition. Defining balance of power theory by network theory raises some interesting issues that the article deals with.
The article pursues to respond the question that what changes have occurred in epistemological and ontological foundations of balance of power theory? In this respect the main changes are as follows:
1. Development in principal of balance of power;
2. Type and pattern of power;
3. Changes in linear system and formation of non linear system according to new framework of this theory; 
4. Changes in physical area of balance of power:
5. Changes in relationship between capacities and consequences of war;
6. Balance of threats by use of communications and its importance in nonlinear system. 
   These developments have caused inefficiency of traditional balance of power theory. To address the existing inefficiencies and its solutions, this article beyond traditional principles and especially hard power and soft power insists on smart power, defined as the capacity of an actor to combine elements of hard power and soft power in ways that are mutually reinforcing. This study integrates elements of neorealist theories with a model of network balancing and article surveys network theory and it's simulation in international relations and regional studies.
Discussion and Results
In this article to respond the main question, in the first instance, network theory as a framework of smart balance will be explained. Network emphasizes on the patterns of communications and designs new realities that balance of power theory can use them. In this section article will explain types of networks especially free scale network. In second discussion, foundation of smart balance of power in regional free scale network will be explained. At last, article refers to patterns of smart balance of power.
Using the free scale networks, smart balance of power theory in regional free scale network as a new theory to international politics has been discussed and in this respect fundamental principle of designing smart balance and its three patterns has been explained. The study contributes to the relevant literatures in two important ways. First, most other studies defines balance of power in static situation but this study defines it in dynamic situation. Second we assume that the non linear system and networks especially free scale network is the best framework for new theory of balance of power and in other word theory of smart balance of power.