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The balance of power is a policy of matching other states’ military and economic capabilities. In this scenario, foreign policy makers seek to expand their own state’s hard power and form security alliances. Their goal is to constrain threats posed by another state or alliance and prevent any other state from dominating the international system. Proponents of this approach argue that the balance of power is the most effective means of avoiding war in a world lacking any overarching political authority. As an ancient Roman maxim held, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” Classic examples of the balance of power range from the ancient Greek city-state system to the 20th century Cold War. This concept is particularly associated with the realist school of thought, ...

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