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Communist Empire in Eastern Europe in 1989 and 1990

War or the threat of the use of force is the traditional approach to conflict resolution in the conduct of international relations. Robert Gilpin stated that control "over or governance of the international system is a function of three factors" (Gilpin, 1981, p. 28). These three factors are the distribution of power among political coalitions, the hierarchy of prestige among states, and the set of rights and rules that govern or at least influence interactions among international states.

Control through the distribution of power has, throughout history, been characterized by: (1) hegemony or imperialism, in which a single powerful state "dominates the lesser states in the system;" (2) bipolarity, in which "two powerful states control . . . interactions within and between their respective spheres of influence;" and "a balance of power in which three or more states control one another's actions through diplomatic maneuver, shifting alliances, and open conflict" (Gilpin, 1981, p. 29). Robert Keohane, however, contended that claims "for the general validity of the theory of hegemonic stability are often exaggerated. The dominance of a single great power may contribute to order in world politics, in particular circumstances, but it is not a sufficient condition . . . ." (Keohane, 1984, p. 46). Keohane added that hegemony "and cooperation are not alternatives; on the contrary, they are often found in symbiotic relationships with one another" ((p. 46).

With respect to the hierarchy of prestige among states, Gilpin stated that, ultimately, it "rests on economic and military power. Prestige is the reputation for power, and military power in particular . . . prestige refers primarily to the perceptions of other states with respect to a state's capacities and its ability and willingness to exercise its power . . Prestige, rather than power, is the everyday currency of international relations . . ." (gilpin, 1981, pp. 30-31). By c...

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