Force and Statecraft

The most important similarities between the European international order (1815-1914) and the Cold War international system rests on the method of strategy with respect to the distribution and application of power. First, the two international systems or order follow the decree that “no major changes would take place without the general consent of the Great Powers” (Lauren, Craig, and George 28).

In the European international order, this corresponds to the Concert of Europe that was initially composed of 4 (and later on 5 including France) members and dominated by skilled statesmen (29); in the Cold War international system, however, this corresponds to the United Nations that is composed of 191 members but dominated mainly by one prevailing member, which is the United States (111). Second, the two international systems formulate ways wherein “whatever differences existed between the powers were largely subordinated to the high degree of consensus and shared values among them” (31).

In the two international systems, there is shared consensus and values, although a greater portion of the differences lie on ‘who’ and ‘how many’ share these consensus and values. Third and final, the two international systems portrayed a balance of power. With the European international order, there was balance between all few members of the system and their mission; while with the Cold War international system, there was balance between the few dominant powers of the UN, the numerous minority members of the UN, and the basic mission led by the few dominant members of the UN.

There are three similarities between the classical European international order and the Cold War international system: (1) power consent from the dominating members, (2) shared consensus and values, and (3) a balance of power. However, these similarities appear futile because of solely one reason: the more superior differences, from the few united limbs of the classical, to hundreds that are variably scattered and attached to the gigantic limb of America.