RSIS Seminar by Professor T. V. Paul, Ngee Ann Kongsi Professor of International Relations, RSIS; and James McGill Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science, McGill University
Restraining Great Powers Through Institutions
This talk will examine a crucial element of state behavior — the use of international institutions and economic instruments such as sanctions — to constrain the power of dominant actors. Much of International Relations scholarship fails to capture the use of these non-military instruments for constraining superior power. Analysts have coined the concept ‘soft balancing’ to describe this phenomenon (Paul, 2005; Pape, 2005). The soft balancing debate has generated much literature in the past half a decade or so. However, it has been used exclusively in the context of responses by second-tier states toward U.S. power. The main objective of this project is to expand and test soft balancing arguments to historical eras (interwar period) and the emerging power, China. I seek to explore: under what conditions do states resort to soft balancing (relying on economic and institutional instruments) as opposed to hard balancing (relying on formal military alliances and arms buildups)? When do they combine both? What are the differences and similarities between the 20th and 21st century cases of soft balancing–one under multipolarity, the other under near-unipolarity? 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 in the 21st century’s globalized international system?
About the Speaker:
T.V. Paul is James McGill Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal, Canada where he has been teaching since 1991. Paul specializes in International Relations, especially international security and South Asia. He received his undergraduate education from Kerala University, India; M.Phil in International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Paul is the author or editor of 15 books. He has also published over 55 journal articles and book chapters and has lectured at universities and research institutions internationally. His authored books are: The Warrior State: Pakistan in the Contemporary World (Oxford University Press, 2014); Globalization and the National Security State (with Norrin Ripsman), (Oxford University Press, 2010); The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons (Stanford University Press, 2009); India in the World Order: Searching for Major Power Status (Cambridge University Press, 2002, with Baldev Nayar); Power versus Prudence: Why Nations Forgo Nuclear Weapons (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000); and Asymmetric Conflicts: War Initiation by Weaker Powers (Cambridge University Press, 1994).
Paul is the editor or co-editor of the volumes: Status in World Politics (with William Wholforth and Deborah Larson, Cambridge University Press, 2014); International Relations Theory and Regional Transformation (Cambridge University Press, 2012); South Asia’s Weak States: Understanding the Regional Insecurity Predicament (Stanford University Press, 2010); Complex Deterrence: Strategy In the Global Age (with Patrick M. Morgan and James J. Wirtz, University of Chicago Press, 2009); The India-Pakistan Conflict: An Enduring Rivalry (Cambridge University Press, 2005); Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century (with James Wirtz and Michel Fortmann, Stanford University Press, 2004); The Nation-State in Question (with G. John Ikenberry and John A. Hall, Princeton University Press, 2003); International Order and the Future of World Politics (with John A. Hall, Cambridge University Press, 1999, 2000 (twice), 2001, 2002 & 2003); and The Absolute Weapon Revisited: Nuclear Arms and the Emerging International Order (with Richard Harknett and James Wirtz, University of Michigan Press, 1998 & 2000).
In December 2009, Paul’s Book, The Tradition of Non-use of Nuclear Weapons was selected for inclusion in the Peace Prize Laureate Exhibition honoring President Barack Obama by the Nobel Peace Center, Oslo. Another book, Power versus Prudence was selected as an ‘Outstanding Academic Title for 2001’ by the Choice Magazine and as a “Book for Understanding’ by the American Association of University Presses. In March 2005 Maclean Magazine’s Guide to Canadian Universities rated Paul as one of the “most popular professors” at McGill University and in May 2005 Paul became the recipient of High Distinction in Research Award by McGill’s Faculty of Arts. During 2009-12 he served as the Director (Founding) of the McGill University/Université de Montreal Centre for International Peace and Security Studies (CIPSS). He held visiting positions at UC Berekely (2013); East-West Center, Honolulu (2013); the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey (2002-03), Harvard University(1997-98), and the KPS Menon Visiting Chair for Diplomacy at the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, India (2011). During 2009-11, he served as the Chair of the International Security Section (ISSS) of the International Studies Association (ISA) and in 2013-14 Vice-President of ISA. In 2010 he was appointed as the editor of the Georgetown University Press book series: South Asia in World Affairs.