Balance of power theory meets Al Qaeda : dynamics of non-state actor balancing in postinternational politics
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The bulk of studies on the balance of power, which constitutes balance of power theory, suggest that only states are involved in balance of power dynamics. This thesis maintains that exclusion of non-state actors (NSAs) from balance of power dynamics constitutes a significant gap in balance of power theory. This gap originates from a failure to notice fundamental changes in the structure of, and actorness in, world politics. As a result of these macro level and micro level changes, NSAs became both motivated and capable of balancing against states. This thesis evaluates Al Qaeda’s challenge against the United States as a case study of balancing behavior. A close examination of its discourse reveals that Al Qaeda is motivated to balance against America while mechanisms that it uses demonstrate that the organization is capable of engaging in such balancing. This balancing behavior has not only undermined American power but also appears to be playing a role in global power distribution dynamics in world politics. This thesis is, in short, an attempt to fill the theoretical and empirical gap that exists in balance of power theory. It concludes that the full potential of balance of power theory can be realized only by extending its boundaries to cover the postinternational world structure and thus opening it up to NSAs.
KeywordsThe Balance of Power