Brooks &Wohlforth2008Stephen G. & William C. Associate Professors in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. World Out of Balance. International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fMWRJy1MznUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=World+Out+of+Balance&ots=OoUSGjywNP&sig=rjiok0BKhyTk1Mh_1fqIMP4E09g#v=onepage&q&f=false The importance of the balancing proposition cannot be overstated, for it also figures crucially in the arguments of nonrealist scholars. When institutionalists and constructivists assess the costs of unilateralism, expected counterbalancing by other states often figures prominently. 16 Moreover, the balance-of-power metaphor is a staple of punditry, both in the United States and abroad, in which each new effort at coordination among major powers that excludes Washington is routinely hailed as an epoch-making “axis.” Indeed, the leaders of other major powers—notably the presidents of France, Russia, and China—periodically seem to invoke the balancing proposition themselves, arguing that their policies are intended to foster a multipolar world. This confluence of theoretical expectations, journalistic commentary, and political rhetoric lends initial plausibility to the balancing proposition and partly explains its popularity as an argument against unilateralism. The argument hinges on the proposition that the more the United States backs away from multilateralism, the greater the probability of counterbalancing. The problem is that there is no counterbalancing against the United States, nor is there likely to be any time soon. Indeed, the remarkable thing about the current international system is that three key causal factors highlighted by realist balance-of-power theory itself are configured so as to make the reemergence of traditional balancing dynamics among the major powers highly improbable.17 First is geography. The counterbalancing coalitions of the past all emerged against centrally located land powers that constituted existential threats to nearby major states. The United States, by contrast, lies far from the shores of Eurasia, where the other major powers are all clustered. Distance mutes the potential security threat U.S. power poses to others, while proximity magnifies the potential threat their power poses to one another and thus increases the salience of local as opposed to global counterbalancing. The geographical uniqueness of the current international system and its implications for balancing are now widely appreciated.18 This is partly true of the second key factor: the distribution of material capabilities. It is now commonplace to observe that the gap in overall power between the United States and all other states is larger now than any analogous gap in the history of the modern states system.19 Analysts are also sensitive to decisive U.S. advantages in the individual components of national power: military, technological, economic, and even demographic.20 Historically minded observers are aware that all preceding leading states were dominant militarily or economically, but never both simultaneously. Less widely appreciated is the gap in latent power.21 States make choices about balancing depending on their expectations of the capabilities prospective balancers could produce in extremis. The United States is in a better position than past leading states to enhance its capabilities vis-à-vis putative rivals for two reasons:it obtains its currently dominant military capabilities by devoting a historically small proportion of its economy to national defense (less than 4 percent of GDP in 2004 as compared to 5–14 percent during the cold war); and its historically large technological lead is a potential resource that could be further exploited. And these underlying advantages interact with the perennial problem would-be balancers face: they must coordinate policies in complex ways to increase capabilities against a hegemon whose response is coordinated by a single government. The third key factor is that American primacy is an accomplished fact rather than a revisionist aspiration. Many observers now recognize that other key powers derive benefits from the status quo and so may be reluctant to pay costs to overthrow it.22 Less recognized is that for three centuries no balance-of-power theorist ever developed propositions about a system in which hegemony is the status quo. All the historical experience of balancing from the seventeenth century until 1991 concerns efforts to check a rising power from attaining hegemony. While both history and balance-of-power theory clearly suggest that a rising potential hegemon needs to be concerned about the counterbalancing constraint, neither yields this implication for a hegemon that is already firmly established. On the contrary, both theory and historical experience suggest that when hegemony is the status quo, all the familiar obstacles to balancing will be dramatically magnified. Chief among these are the much higher coordination challenges putative counterbalancers would face today, in comparison with their predecessors. Classical balancing coalitions were always vulnerable to the collective action problem, as members would seek to ride free on the efforts of others. Those challenges would be multiplied in any attempt to counterbalance the United States today. These factors characterize an international system that is already primed against traditional power balancing due to nuclear weapons and the declining economic and military value of territory. All the major powers have or can quickly produce nuclear weapons. With a secure secondstrike capability, their territorial integrity is better secured than that of any past great power, and the security threat inherent in concentrated power is diminished.23 Moreover, the economic and military benefits of owning specific bits of land have declined dramatically, reducing the incentives for conquest and diminishing the core security threat posed by concentrated power.24 Taken individually, each of these factors militates against counterbalancing. Together they make it exceedingly unlikely, for there is considerable positive interaction among them. American preponderance in the material scales of world power feeds the collective action and coordination problems, as do geography and the status quo barrier. Other schools of IR research yield additional reasons to doubt the salience of counterbalancing today.25 But the key is that all of the factors highlighted here lie within the realist system of explanation that highlights anarchy and its attendant security problems. Even discounting the importance of factors such as shared democratic norms and institutions, there is no reason to expect the reemergence of traditional balancing dynamics in the current international system. It follows that whatever the costs of unilateralism are, counterbalancing is not among them.
A2: Offshore Balancing Offshore balancing is impossible-cultural pressures make heg or withdrawal the only options
Gray, 2009 Colin S. Gray, professor of International Relations at Reading, 1/2009, “After Iraq: The Search for a Sustainable National Security Strategy,” http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubid=902
When considered over the longer term, as in this monograph, U.S. foreign policy, national security policy, and strategy must reconcile the demands of a domestic culture that can have dysfunctional consequences abroad, with the objective circumstances of the outside world. It is almost entirely useless for American or other scholars to write books and articles urging a U.S. policy that affronts American culture. The beginning of wisdom has to be with Sun-tzu’s dictum on the necessity for knowledge of the enemy and of oneself. To be sustainable, American policy and strategy must be broadly compatible with American values. Perhaps not all American values, and not all of the time. But any policy vision that is plainly un- Page 24 10 American is certain to fail at home eventually. Foreign policy is born at home and has to succeed there if it is to succeed abroad. The current debate to which this monograph relates is replete with arguments about anticipated features of the 21st century that will prove desperately challenging to American national culture. It may well be that this century will see a return of multipolar balance-of- power politics on a global scale. But when one consid- ers this possibility, even probability, one needs to re- member that American culture wants to reject what it regards as the cynical balance-of-power politics of expe- diency. Americans believe it is a mission of their unique country to improve the world. If thwarted in this noble, even (in the opinion of many) divine, mission, they are likely to insist that the country withdraw, adopting a minimalist foreign policy. Controversialist Christopher Layne speaks for many Americans when he writes: “Precisely because of its power and geography, there is very little the United States needs to do in the world in order to be secure.”
A2: Offshore Balancing Solf Balancing is a non-issue- not driven by hegemony.
Brooks and Wohlforth 2005 – professors of government at Dartmouth (Stephen and William, International Security, 30:1, “Hard times for soft balancing”, EBSCO, WEA)
How does one identify soft balancing? The answer matters greatly for both policy and theory, yet it remains elusive because soft-balancing proponents have not supplied the conceptual toolsto distinguish behavior that is an outgrowth of the systemic balancing imperative from what we might call “unipolar politics as usual.” Crucially missing from the literature is sufficient recognition that other explanations besides soft balancing exist for state actions that constrain the United States. As a result, analysts tend to treat nearly any behavior that complicates U.S. foreign policy as soft balancing. We remove this bias by setting out four alternative explanations. economic interest States may undertake actions that hamper the conduct of U.S. foreign policy not principally because they wish to do so, but rather to advance economic gains, either for the state as a whole or for powerful interest groups or business lobbies. A government’s interest in fostering economic growth or obtaining revenue for itself or its constituents may be unrelated to the presence of a hegemon on the horizon or the potential security threat it poses. regional security concerns States routinely pursue policies to enhance local security that are unrelated to constraining U.S. hegemony. For a variety of reasons, there is a greater demand for regional policy coordination than existed in the past: a vast increase in the number of states; a consequent increase in the overall number of weak or failed states; and the rise of transnational security challenges such as organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, and refugee flows. Major powers frequently face incentives to enhance their capabilities—often through collaboration with other regional states—in response to these local or regional concerns. These efforts may result in shifts in relative power—and perhaps in reduced U.S. freedom of action—even if constraining U.S. hegemony is not an important driver of them. policy disputes and bargaining Other states may undertake actions that constrain the United States not in response to the security threat presented by U.S. hegemony, but rather because they sincerely disagree with specific U.S. policies. Governments may resist a given U.S. policy because they are convinced that it is ill suited to the problem at hand or otherwise inappropriate, and not because they think it directly threatens their security or that opposition to it will reduce U.S. power over the long term. If so, then soft balancing is a misnomer, for the behavior concerned is unrelated to maximizing security under anarchy by checking a dangerous systemic concentration of power. In short, other states may push back against specific U.S. policies (pushing back because they disagree) and not against U.S. power in general (pushing back because they fear or wish to challenge U.S. hegemony). Given the reasonable expectation of future policy differences on various issues, and therefore the expectation of future policy bargaining, it follows that states may take actions intended to increase, or at least maintain, bargaining leverage over the long term. This is where policy bargaining takes forms that most closely resemble what analysts mean by soft balancing. As we show below, there are crucial analytical differences between long-term bargaining enhancement strategies and real soft balancing.
A2: Offshore Balancing
No soft balancing will happen.
Brooks and Wohlforth 2005 – professors of government at Dartmouth (Stephen and William, International Security, 30:1, “Hard times for soft balancing”, EBSCO, WEA)
To the degree that these other four explanations account for actions that constrain U.S. foreign policy, the soft-balancing argument is weakened. It would be surprising to find no evidence consistent with the soft-balancing explanation. Just as unlikely would be evidence that soft balancing is the only explanation in play—even though the concept’s proponents essentially imply just such an expectation by failing to consider alternatives. The real issue is relative salience. Determining the strength of the various explanations, however, is no easy task. The key cases of soft balancing are quite recent, so reliable inside information can be scarce. The chief putative soft-balancing powers—France, Russia, and China—are also not known for the transparency of their executive decisionmaking. And public rhetoric presents difficult analytical challenges. A government with a sincere interest in soft balancing may not want to advertise it. At the same time, all four other dynamics may generate balancing rhetoric from policymakers, creating prima facie evidence for a soft-balancing explanation. Leaders motivated chiefly by domestic political considerations are hardly likely to say so; they may detect domestic political advantage in touting the balancing element even if countering the threat from U.S. power is not the real issue. In turn, leaders who have sincere policy differences with the United States may talk up balancing to help build a coalitionto increase their bargaining leverage. Being seen by Washington as a potential soft-balancer has risks, to be sure, but it also holds out the promise of magnifying one’s bargaining influence and the significance of any concessions one might make. Governments that pursue relative economic advantages for themselves or their constituents may find it convenient to cloak the policy in high-minded talk about checking U.S. power. And the United States is so prominent on the global stage that it can potentially serve as a convenient focal point for other states that seek to cooperate on regional security issues. States will likely have strong disagreements on the specifics of how to cooperate at the regional level; a public stance against U.S. policies may be one issue they can agree on. Balancing rhetoric can thus be a useful rallying point for stimulating regional cooperation. Balancing talk, moreover, is often as cheap as it is useful. A state can rationally be expected to address an issue only to the degree that it has the capability to do so. Actors and observers expect France to play a far more substantial role in resolving an issue in the Balkans than in North Korea, and vice versa for China. Yet because of the United States’ globe-girdling capabilities, critical U.S. involvement is likely to be expected in both cases. This illustrates the immense gap between the set of issues the United States might rationally be expected to address seriously and the corresponding issue sets of the other great powers. As a result, there is a range of issues over which they can take positions without expecting to be compelled to bear the costs of their resolution. Ultimately, rhetoric is a poor indicator of the salience of soft balancing. Perhaps recognizing these challenges, proponents of the soft-balancing concept frequently place more emphasis on its portents for the future than on its contemporary significance. For the argument to be taken seriously, however, there must be evidence for its current explanatory value.17 Otherwise, soft balancing is not an explanation but an expectation: a mere reassertion of the well-known, neorealist prediction of the return of multipolarity that has been advanced since 1990, which is also typically formulated in an unfalsifiable manner.18
A2: Offshore Balancing Balancing theory’s wrong – assumes a rising hegemon
Brooks &Wohlforth2008Stephen G. & William C. Associate Professors in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. World Out of Balance. International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=fMWRJy1MznUC&oi=fnd&pg=PR11&dq=World+Out+of+Balance&ots=OoUSGjywNP&sig=rjiok0BKhyTk1Mh_1fqIMP4E09g#v=onepage&q&f=false Attempts to check the leading state’s power, in sum, are theoretically possible in any international system. But behavior that is possible may be patiently self-defeating and hence highly improbable. Even if we examine only causal factors that are featured in balance-of-power theory itself, it is clear that counterbalancing is highly improbable today. The plain fact is that balance-of-power theorists never contemplated a unipolar system. Applying the theory to such a system essentially reverses its implications for constraints on the leading state. The balancing constraint may well work on the leading state up to a threshold of hegemony or unipolarity. Once a state passes this threshold however, the causal arrows reverse: the stronger a leading state is and the more entrenched its dominance, the more improbable and thus less constraining counterbalancing dynamics are.
A2: Middle East balancing
Middle East Balancing Fails - U.S. Presence is key
Ted Carpenter, and Malou Innocent, (vice president for defense and policy studies at the Cato Institute, is the
author of eight books on international affairs) “ The Iraq War and Iranian Power” Survival vol. 49 no. 4 winter 2008 Online @ http://www.cato.org/pubs/articles/carpenter_innocent_the_iraq_war_and_iranian_power.pdf ghs ls
A marginally better option would be to exploit the sectarian divide in the region by using Sunni Arab states to balance Iran. By shifting the burden of containment to these nations, many of which already abhor Tehran’s clerical regime, America could protect its interests without putting itself into direct confrontation with Iran. Such a coalition would involve increased intelligence sharing, expanded arms sales, joint military operations and heightened maritime security. Saudi Arabia’s location, advanced weaponry and status as the world’s largest producer of crude oil give it important strategic advantages in the Persian Gulf. Egypt is the only nation with manpower resources to match Iran, with 15.5m men fit for military service compared to 15.6 in Iran. The Egyptian armed forces number 468,500. 41 Jordan and the remaining Gulf Cooperation Council states could augment the larger Sunni powers in a containment strategy, but are too small in population and territory to balance Iran militarily. One benefit of such a coalition is that the United States could sustain or even draw down its forward-deployed forces in the Gulf. This is outweighed by some disadvantages. Internal weaknesses in the two biggest potential balancers, Saudi Arabia and Egypt – the decadence of the Saudi royal family and the lack of accountability under Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – feed resentment among volatile jihadist forces, and may constrict these countries’ abilities to promote regional stabilityand counter the Iranian threat. 42 Moreover, Saudi Arabia, the potential leader of the alliance, presents the United States with a double-edged sword: like Iran, it has flirted with terrorism, a fact Washington has grudgingly tolerated. 43 Moreover, Egypt may be geographically too far from the Gulf to balance effectively against Iran, while Saudi Arabia’s forces are too small to take full advantage of their advanced weaponry. Finally, the balance of power in the Gulf would be wholly sectarian. US complicity in a division within Islam would inevitably incite more terrorism against America. Moreover, such a coalition would increase the likelihood of a regional war, with the United States again in the middle of the fray.
A2: Asia Balancing Multilateralism in East Asia Fails – Current US-Japanese Alliance should be preferred
WILLIAM E. RAPP, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. Council on Foreign Relations- Hitachi International Affairs Fellow at the Institute for International Policy Studies in Tokyo. Ph.D. in Political Science (International Relations) from Stanford University. January 2004. Strategic Studies Institute for the Military. http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/pub367.pdf.
There are four primary reasons why the United States should not be enthusiastic about multilateral, collective security as the primary policy option in Northeast Asia. First, the region has no history of such practices. On the contrary, its history, for most of the past two millennia, has been one of subordination to cultural, economic, and political (though rarely military) influence of the Middle Kingdom in China.157 In more modern times, Amitav Acharya notes that the extreme diversity of the region, combined with the geopolitical situation following World War II, has prevented the establishment of effective multilateral regimes in Asia as compared to Europe.158 Second, a collective security arrangement requires a baseline of consensus and the shelving of standing disputes among its members as entry into the forum. Michael Armacost notes that “the prerequisites for collective security―a common perception of threats, general agreement about the territorial status quo, and a sense of community underpinned by widely accepted political and philosophical principles―have not taken root in Asia.”159 For both domestic and future energy policy reasons, it is not likely forterritorial disputes such as those in the Senkakus, Northern Islands (Southern Kuriles), Takeshima, the Paracels, and the Spratlys to be put aside so readily.160 Third, a cooperative security regime requires a sanction capability that is widely perceived as legitimate to punish transgressions. Since a multilateral regime that did not include China would likely create a security dilemma for Beijing and thus lead to an arms spiral that would be highly counterproductive, the inclusion of China would exacerbate the problems of sanctioning behavior seen by the United States and Japan as illegal. This same tendency is seen on a lesser scale in the current security forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF). The ARF is hamstrung by the “ASEAN way,” which involves pervasive norms of nonconfrontation, consensus, and respect for each other’s sovereignty.161 Finally, the United States, especially under the George W. Bush administration, is wary of multilateral security arrangements that could become institutionalized in coming years and reduce American policy options in Asia.162 In summary, reducing the salience of the U.S.-Japan alliance in favor of a multilateral cooperative security arrangement is not a viable nearterm option for the United States.