Mr abc Essay

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Polarity in international relations is any of the various ways in which power is distributed within the international system. It describes the nature of the international system at any given period of time. One generally distinguishes four types of systems: unipolarity, bipolarity, tripolarity, and multipolarity for four or more centers of power. The type of system is completely dependent on the distribution of power and influence of states in a region or globally.

It is widely believed amongst theorists in international relations that the post-Cold War international system is unipolar: The United States’ defense spending is “close to half of global military expenditures; a blue-water navy superior to all others combined; a chance at a splendid nuclear first strike over its erstwhile foe, Russia; a defense research and development budget that is 80 percent of the total defense expenditures of its most obvious future competitor, China; and unmatched global power-projection capabilities.”[1]

UnipolarityEdit

NATO and countries with which it is supposed to be at peace account for over 70% of global military expenditure,[2] with the United States alone accounting for 43% of global military expenditure[3] in 2009 and more than the next 17 combined in 2010[4] with NATO then taking about half of the global $1.6 trillion.[5]
Unipolarity in international politics is a distribution of power in which one state exercises most of the cultural, economic, and military influence.

Nuno P. Monteiro, assistant professor of political science at Yale University, argues that three features are endemic to unipolar systems:[1]

Unipolarity is an interstate system and not an empire. Monteiro cites Robert Jervis of Columbia University to support his claim, who argues that “unipolarity implies the existence of many juridically equal non-states, something that an empire denies.”[6] Monteiro illustrates this point further through Daniel Nexon and Thomas Wright, who state that “in empires, inter-societal divide-and-rule practices replace interstate balance-of-power dynamics.”[7]
Unipolarity is anarchical. Anarchy results from the incomplete power preponderance of the unipole. Columbia University's Kenneth Waltz, whom Monteiro cites, argues that a great power cannot “exert a positive control everywhere in the world.”[8] Therefore, relatively weaker countries have the freedom to pursue policy preferences independent of the unipole. The power projection limitations of the unipole is a distinguishing characteristic between unipolar and hegemonic systems.
Unipolar systems possess only one great power and face no competition. If a competitor emerges, the international system is no longer unipolar. Kenneth Waltz maintains that the United States is the only “pole” to possess global interests.[8]
The post-Cold War international system is unipolar: The United States’ defense spending is “close to half of global military expenditures; a blue-water navy superior to all others combined; a chance at a splendid nuclear first strike over its erstwhile foe, Russia; a defense research and development budget that is 80 percent of the total defense expenditures of its most obvious future competitor, China; and unmatched global power-projection capabilities.”[1]

William Wohlforth, the Daniel Webster professor of government at Dartmouth College, believes unipolarity is peaceful because it “favors the absence of war among great powers and comparatively low levels of competition for prestige or security for two reasons: the leading state’s power advantage removes the problem of hegemonic rivalry from world politics, and it reduces the salience and stakes of balance of power politics among the major states."[9] This idea is based on hegemonic stability theory and balance of power theory. Hegemonic stability theory stipulates that “powerful states foster international orders that are stable until differential growth in power produces a dissatisfied state with…