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The Geographical Imperatives of the Balance of Power in 3-Country Systems

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Niou, Emerson M. S.; Ordeshook, Peter C.
Date: 1987
Agency: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA
Series: Social Science Working Papers, no. 660
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5787
Sector: Social Organization
Subject(s): power
international relations
game theory
Abstract: "This essay extends a cooperative game-theoretic model of balance of power in anarchic international systems to include considerations of the asymmetry which geography occasions in the offensive and defensive capabilities of countries. The two substantive ideas which concern us are a formalization of the notion of a 'balancer' and that of a 'central power.' What we show is that in stable systems, only specific countries (such as Britain in the 18th and the 19th centuries) can play the role of balances, and that the strategic imperatives of a central country (e.g., Germany in the period 1871-1945) differ in important ways from those of 'peripheral' countries."

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