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Patterns of Power In Europe: Off-Shore Balancing and Intra-Alliance Dynamics in the New Millenium

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Power politics in Europe persists into the 21st Century, following similar patterns as it has in the past, although the means and ends of such politics have changed, thanks to the security provided in the region by the US military guarantee. Attempts at regional domination by European powers are still the greatest threat to the region, while off-shore balancing remains the surest safeguard to prevent such. The US, as off-shore balancer, provides for balance not only against the traditional Russian threat but against its own allies as well, particularly Germany, while European states struggle for regional dominance, but through diplomatic and economic channels rather than with their militaries. As such, the recent crisis in trans-atlantic security relations over the Iraq issue can be seen as a continuation of the pattern that has characterized European security relations for centuries: Germany, along with France, attempted to dominate European foreign policy by forging an anti-invasion position; the result was that the rest of Europe rallied around the US to balance this German-French initative. Ultimately, the would-be regional hegemons were effectively balanced. That is to say, contrary to popular opinion, the trans-Atlantic security arrangement is working precisely as it ought to. Furthermore, by understanding how the traditional patterns of power politics in Europe are presently playing themselves out, one not only can appreciate the true nature of current US-European events, but one can also extrapolate to consider a broader theory of how power politics amongst peaceful states is played. Needless to say, in this age of a global American security guarantee, such an understanding is crucial to grasp the nature of international relations in the 21st Century.

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germani (124), europ (115), us (108), european (103), german (85), eu (84), polici (80), state (79), secur (73), balanc (68), nato (61), franc (55), militari (55), power (54), war (52), role (39), french (37), one (37), would (37), cfsp (35), foreign (32),
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Name: International Studies Association
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MLA Citation:

James, Thompson. "Patterns of Power In Europe: Off-Shore Balancing and Intra-Alliance Dynamics in the New Millenium" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Mar 17, 2004 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p73759_index.html>

APA Citation:

James, T. A. , 2004-03-17 "Patterns of Power In Europe: Off-Shore Balancing and Intra-Alliance Dynamics in the New Millenium" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p73759_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Power politics in Europe persists into the 21st Century, following similar patterns as it has in the past, although the means and ends of such politics have changed, thanks to the security provided in the region by the US military guarantee. Attempts at regional domination by European powers are still the greatest threat to the region, while off-shore balancing remains the surest safeguard to prevent such. The US, as off-shore balancer, provides for balance not only against the traditional Russian threat but against its own allies as well, particularly Germany, while European states struggle for regional dominance, but through diplomatic and economic channels rather than with their militaries. As such, the recent crisis in trans-atlantic security relations over the Iraq issue can be seen as a continuation of the pattern that has characterized European security relations for centuries: Germany, along with France, attempted to dominate European foreign policy by forging an anti-invasion position; the result was that the rest of Europe rallied around the US to balance this German-French initative. Ultimately, the would-be regional hegemons were effectively balanced. That is to say, contrary to popular opinion, the trans-Atlantic security arrangement is working precisely as it ought to. Furthermore, by understanding how the traditional patterns of power politics in Europe are presently playing themselves out, one not only can appreciate the true nature of current US-European events, but one can also extrapolate to consider a broader theory of how power politics amongst peaceful states is played. Needless to say, in this age of a global American security guarantee, such an understanding is crucial to grasp the nature of international relations in the 21st Century.

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Document Type: .PDF
Page count: 38
Word count: 12259
Text sample:
Patterns of Power in Europe Offshore Balancing and Intra-alliance Dynamics in the 21st Century James A. Thompson University of Notre Dame thompson.96@nd.edu Abstract The months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 are widely viewed as constituting a particularly low period in the history of transatlantic security cooperation. European states were split amongst themselves as to whether to support the US initiative while those who opposed the effort – primarily Germany and France – reached a level
not be all that far off when Germany is finally conceded its role as the leader of Europe in all areas of policy. For any number of reasons this might in fact be a beneficial state of affairs not only for Europe but from the point of view of US strategic interests as well. But then again it might not. For the present at any rate the attractions of power balancing still appear to be holding sway depriving Germany


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