According to the world most renowned political scientist, Henry Kissinger. “In the end peace can be achieved only by hegemony or balance of power system”. Treaty of Westphalia resulted in the emergence of the nation-state and balance of power system. In the start, balance of power politics was only confined to the continent of Europe but after the period of decolonization and the emergence of new nation-states in the Asia, Middle East, and Eastern Europe it was expanded across the globe. Many Asian nations have successfully established their own cultural and nationalistic identities and have fully adopted the European made state system.
Currently, world is in the midst of transformation from uni-polar to multi-polar world. It can be evident from Russian resurgence and Chinese economic rise. In addition to that, regional players like Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are also pursuing their regional interests unilaterally. In the era of bipolarity, Western power was balanced by communist Soviet Union. The dissolution of USSR resulted in the transformation of world from bi-polar to Uni-polar. The balance of power was altered in the favor of the United States of America. The disturbed balance of power contributed to the American invasion of Afghanistan and eventually Iraq.
Russia rose to the prominence in the international arena after its military incursion in northern Georgia.
Furthermore, Russian annexation of Crimea and its military intervention in Syria restored its dominant position on the world map. Russian intervention in Syria bolstered the embattled Assad’s regime and paved the way for Putin government to become an important player in the Syrian crisis.
Russian aggression in Eastern Europe and China’s assertive behavior in South China Sea has forced United States and its allies to turn their focus towards Pacific and Easter Europe. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in its new strategy has declared Russia a greater threat than terrorism.
In the Middle East, Iran and Saudi Arabia are engage in brutal proxy war. Despite repeated sanctions Iran has been able to increase its influence significantly in Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria. American support to Saudi Arabia has been balanced by Russian diplomatic and strategic assistance to Iran. Riyadh’s strongman Muhammad Bin Salman has initiated robust reforms in every sector of the government in order to minimize kingdoms reliance on oil. In addition to that, Muhammad Bin Salman is the chief architect behind Saudi Arabia’s aggressive posture in the region. Many political scientists believes that Trump’s withdrawal from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will inflict a significant damage to Iran’s economy and eventually its regional ambitions.
In Syria, the situation is complicated. Russia has achieved its objectives of saving Assad regime and its vital military installations in Latakia and Tartus. Turkey is in a difficult situation. American support to Kurds has once against raised fears in Ankara about the possible uprising of Turkish Kurds. In reaction Turkey has launched operation Olive branch in Northern Syria so Kurdish forces can be removed from its borders.
Russia and Iran are allies against anti-Assad militias but Moscow is not in favor of Iran’s assertive behavior against Israel. Furthermore, Israel is home to one million Russian Jews. Moscow does not reacted to the recent Israeli strikes against Iranian positions in Syria. Turkey vehemently opposes Washington policy of supporting Kurdish forces. Saudi Arabia has lost the proxy war in Syria and is diplomatically convincing Israel and United States to strike Assad and Iran in Syria. Iran is providing arms and ammunition to Hezbollah and Hamas to balance Israel’s far more superior armed forces.
In South Asia, Chinese strategic ties with Pakistan has tackled the Washington’s tremendous military and strategic support to India. United States needs India to contain China. While Beijing needs Pakistan so it can contain India militarily. Balance of power in South Asia is tilted towards Pakistan and China as United States is struggling to win in Afghanistan.
The power balance between adversaries in different regions is vital for the peace and stability in the world. But analysts believes that multi-polar system is more fragile than uni-polar and bi-polar systems. Russia resurgence and Chinese rise will halt American unilateralism but analysts are unsure a bout its implications for a stable and peaceful world.