Book Launch-Restraining Great Powers: Soft Balancing from Empires to the Global Era, by T.V. Paul

Thursday  27 September  2018  5:00 PM    Thursday  27 September  2018 7:00 PM
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Last update 28/09/2018

This book examines the use of international institutions, informal alignments and economic instruments to constrain the power and threatening behavior of dominant powers. Much of International Relations scholarship fails to capture the use of these non-military instruments for constraining superior power. The book expands and tests soft balancing arguments to historical eras (such as the Concert of Europe, and the League of Nations during the interwar period) and the emerging/resurging powers, China and Russia while responding to criticisms aired against the concept and strategy. It seeks to explore: under what conditions do states resort to soft balancing (relying on institutional and economic instruments) as opposed to hard balancing (relying on formal military alliances and intense arms buildups)? When do they combine both? What are the differences and similarities between the 20thand 21stcentury cases of soft balancing? When do soft balancing efforts elicit hostile reactions and when do they produce positive results? Finally, what are the implications of soft balancing for the rise of new great powers and the international order, especially conflict and cooperation among them in the 21stcentury’s globalized world?


“Both critics and proponents of the role of the balance of power in international politics treat it as depending on military instruments. The signal accomplishment of T. V. Paul’s book is to show that there is a much larger set of tools that states can employ to restrain troublemakers.” — Robert Jervis, author of How Statesmen Think 


"In this sophisticated and sweeping historical survey, T.V. Paul shows how modern states have pursued various types of balancing behavior—short of war—to constrain potential hegemonic powers. Restraining Great Powers is a tour de force that should be carefully read and reflected on by scholars and practitioners alike.“ — David Shambaugh, George Washington University

“This is a magnificent contribution to our understanding of strategic balancing in its empirical diversity.” —  Ashley J. Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


"T.V Paul is on the leading edge of research on the global power shift. This book is a significant advance on our understanding of how great power dynamics can be tamed in the 21st century.“ — AmitavAcharya, author of Constructing Global Order


Antonia Maioni, Dean, Faculty of Arts, McGill University

Juliet Johnson, Chair, Department of Political Science, McGill University

Jennifer Welsh, Canada 150 Chair, Department of Political Science, McGill University

John A. Hall, James McGill Professor of Sociology, McGill University

Philip Oxhorn, Associate Provost (Academic),  McGill University

MarieLamensh, Chair, CIC Montreal Branch

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