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Published 1989 | public
Journal Article

The geographical imperatives of the balance of power in 3-country systems


This paper extends a cooperative game-theoretic model of the balance of power in anarchic international systems to include consideration 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 eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries) can play the role of balancer, 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.

Additional Information

© 1989 Pergamon Press plc. Formerly SSWP 660.

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August 19, 2023
October 17, 2023