Theory and Practice of International Relations


The world is changing due to the political, social, economic, and cultural forces involved. The global community has established unique relationships and ideologies that dictate the growth and success of some nations. Over the centuries, concepts of nationalism, militarism, and imperialism appeared to dictate international relations. However, new trends have emerged whereby countries identify new strategic partners and change them depending on the forces experienced at the time. Such developments have compelled researchers and analysts to present additional insights to describe some of these emerging issues. One of the outstanding concepts of world affairs is that of power transition. This research paper seeks to explore such an aspect and how it dictates modern global relationships, goals, and expectations.

Important Components

Scholars have been keen to observe international affairs and how they influence most of the emerging national relations. These approaches are informed by the analyses and findings made regarding the association, goals, and resources of various nations. In 1968, a scholar by the name of Organski presented a model that would lead to the development of the power transition theory (Jahn, 2017). He later collaborated with Kugler in 1980 to test the validity and applicability of such a model (Kugler & Organski, 1989). Within the past three decades, additional scholars have presented positive arguments and ideas that support it and explain how it can become the best model for describing international relations and affairs.

This concept has become an outstanding approach to analyzing and studying world affairs. Some scholars believe that the trend would be studied from the lens of realism or power relationships. However, the good thing is that its proponents do not consider the issue of anarchy (Jahn, 2017). Instead, they describe how political trends have become the leading models through which countries focus on the best approaches to cooperate and achieve their aims. During the same time, some of the states would engage in competition to pursue and achieve their aims. These developments are essential since they dictate the manner in which most of the countries would identify and follow their objectives.

The past four decades have presented a unique trend that resonates with this theory. For instance, Kugler and Organski (1989) indicate that politics in the international arena have become vertically and horizontally integrated. The message is that some nations would be competing to become hegemonies in their respective regions while others at the international would be cooperating to achieve their goals. However, some of these linkages would be temporary and change depending on the shifting national positions and goals. This theory explains how and why most of the nations would be focusing on the need to formulate new entities that are capable of supporting both economic and political growth.

This theory explains how this kind of process increases the probability of conflict. As Kugler and Organski (1989) observe, there will always be a dominant nation that is keen to maintain the status quo. Currently, the United States could be identified as such a country that dictates the goals and missions of many other countries. However, challengers will always be on the rise and would be willing to engage in rivalries and engage in actions that have the potential to address the existing positions. Consequently, differences and unrests usually occur as one or more nations start to focus on the best approaches to achieve their potential.

The structural forces and conditions will change from time to time. This process is attributable to the level of commitment and goals of different governments. These transformations would take place continuously depending on the actions, goals, and expectations of the involved stakeholders. The involvement of all key nations reduces chances of success while compelling them to either cooperate or disagree over critical international issues (Kugler & Organski, 1989). Consequently, such attributes have created a scenario whereby relative peace is possible. These attributes or analyses try to describe the current relations and developments recorded at the international level.

Proper knowledge of the dynamic and structural attributes of the process of power transition could become a powerful tool for analyzing and forecasting international changes and events. This tool has gained recognition since it has accurately captured the way global issues unfold. Data analyses and investigations have relied on the model to provide accurate observations and conclusions (Jahn, 2017). Experts believe that those who use this theory will be able to describe some of the past events and those that might occur in the future. This presentation means that the model will remain practical and capable of analyzing some of the issues and trends recorded in different parts of the world.

The successful emergence and rise of India and China within the past three decades is a development that has reshaped global relationships. A new form of competition has emerged whereby the United States is keen to monitor the behaviors and goals of these possible competitors. Leaders are also keen to examine and identify some of the issues arising from these new political developments. A wave of power transition has emerged over the years with some countries gaining hegemonic powers (Jahn, 2017). They establish new relationships and consider the best approaches to achieve their maximum potential. These issues explain why power transition has become an undeniable aspect of international affairs and relations.

Most of the past scholars have successfully applied this model and process to describe world politics. The perspective is capable of guiding leaders to think critically and anticipate civil wars that might emerge in the future. The theory provides a detailed model for studying the process of nation-building. This attribute is critical and outlines the stages different states go through when trying to pursue their social and economic goals. When wars emerge, like-minded nations will join hands in an effort to preserve their interests. The same process is possible in a world whereby nuclear weapons have become the norm (Allan, 2018). Many nations have been collaborating with the current dominant power to monitor emerging states that might have hidden intentions or manufacturing nuclear weapons. They apply their resources to prevent such actions and promote relative peace at the international level.

The political performance of many nations within the past four decades has fallen within this framework. Some of the states have collaborated with developed countries in an effort to achieve their potential. This international trend is worth studying since it describes how and why political order has become a reality. Additionally, it provides reliable insights for describing some of the possible issues and challenges that might have negative impacts on global security (Allan, 2018). These aspects explain why more scholars and analysts continue to be interested and willing to apply this theoretical framework.

Theoretical Advancements

Different scholars and theorists have presented powerful arguments that support power transition as an international phenomenon. According to Mendelski (2018), the model explains how the international system is a scenario characterized by reduced laws. This trend indicates that partial anarchy is a continuous trend. All the actors in such a system accept their unique positions and consider new ways to achieve their aims. A process or wave of power transition develops as the partners try to engage one another and identify initiatives that can deliver the intended aims. A recognizable influence from different sources defines the recorded processes and partnerships.

The identified power transition trend emerges from the fact that nations implement political systems that are more or less the same. The absence of a single or enforceable law means that countries will borrow ideas and actions that have the potential to deliver positive outcomes. Additionally, Allan (2018) indicates that such states will be keen to compete for some of the available resources to remain successful. This process will occur in a world whereby such opportunities are scarce and worth fighting for. Countries and their leaders should be aware of the emerging forces and make the most appropriate decisions.

The process of cooperation or conflict is inevitable as most of the actors consider the best ways to compete for power. The net gains would allow like-minded nations to focus on initiatives and actions that can deliver desirable outcomes. A new wave of power balance emerges whereby some of the countries would join hands and ensure that an upcoming power does not achieve its hegemonic goals. The dominant state will also be on the lookout for emerging developments while making the most appropriate or sustainable foreign policies (Kugler & Organski, 1989). The changes experienced at the international level will influence new ideas and collaborative efforts.

Some analysts and theorists have presented powerful arguments to describe the issues and facts surrounding power transition. For instance, Allan (2018) observes that a unique connection is evident whereby power remains the only variable through which global order operates and functions. The level of satisfaction will dictate how countries pursue their goals. Most of the successful and prominent countries will be keen to collaborate with the dominant power since such a decision will present numerous benefits. The model will result in a unique form of cooperation that makes it impossible for countries disinterested in the international order to behave in an acceptable manner.

Through this framework, it is agreeable that stable alliances are a unique feature of the power transition process. These networks of countries will become powerful instruments for supporting international coexistence and order (Mendelski, 2018). Such arrangements would be hard to alter or change within a short period. However, new forces emerge when some nations become dissatisfied with this order. Their leaders could implement unique mechanisms with the aim of pursuing their goals and challenging the established nations. Additionally, their collaborative efforts and use of resources will always be inadequate and incapable of possibly a notable threat to the dominant nation and its allies. It is because of this reality that conflicts at the international level would always be present.

Conflicts and wars only emerge when some of these nations intended to pursue and achieve a new place within the international system or order. The move to maximize their power is what could trigger wars of unprecedented proportions (Allan, 2018). However, such countries understand that any attempt to engage in similar conflicts would result in significant losses and affect the resources and lives of many people. This kind of knowledge explains why a unique form of arrangement continues to exist and support the demands of the key partners.

From this analysis, it is evident that power transition is a unique model that focuses on the process and rates of growth for some nations. Such a concept will describe how positions will tend to change among nations depending on their willingness to collaborate with their respective partners. The result is that new relationships and arrangements will tend to emerge, thereby supporting the development or emergence of additional economic and political entities. These attributes are worth analyzing because they provide the best description of some of the trends recorded in the world today (Allan, 2018). Countries and leaders focusing on these issues will be in a position to identify the right partners, pursue their respective interests, and eventually emerge successfully. They will also have increased chances of overcoming most of the challenges that might arise.

Analytical Puzzle

Future scholars might be required to consider a possible reality of events that might be in tandem with the power transition aspect. Within the past century, a unique order has existed with the United States being the dominant power. Throughout the Cold War, the Soviet Union tried its efforts and engaged in numerous researches and innovations to challenge this dominancy and become the new source of global authority. However, the process was fruitless since the status quo remained. The end of this upheaval led to numerous changes in power whereby China, India, and Russia found new opportunities to establish their hegemonic positions (Allan, 2018). The communistic bloc has succeeded in challenging the United States over the years. However, no specific changes in the international order have been observed.

While relying on the power of the studied model, a possible puzzle is anticipated whereby more countries in the developed world might join hands and take the struggle to the next level. This outcome is possible since the Internet has become a new resource that is available to both established and emerging nations. A possible reality is possible whereby cybercrime could become the most powerful tool or resource for pursuing power positions. This hypothetical and possible outcome is worth analyzing in the future (Mendelski, 2018). Future theorists and analysts can examine what some countries have managed to achieve through the use of modern technologies and how such gains could maximize their bargaining powers.

The analysis of this puzzle would shed some light and guide more people to learn how they can apply the power transition ideology to global issues and order. The emerging insights can support the delivery of another theory or apply this concept in international affairs. The knowledge would also prepare more countries for some of the emerging challenges and be prepared to achieve their potential (Jahn, 2017). Others will rely on the emerging ideas to maintain their statuses and eventually meet the demands of their respective citizens.


The above discussion has identified power transition as a common trend experienced and recorded in the world within the past six decades. This attribute has compelled researchers and scholars to present theoretical frameworks that support the idea. This knowledge could explain some of the challenges, scenarios, and positions that different nations identify with. Future analysts can rely on the power transition theory and examine how modern innovations could influence international order, such as the Internet.


Allan, B. B. (2018). From subjects to objects: Knowledge in international relations theory. European Journal of International Relations, 24(4), 841-864. Web.

Jahn, B. (2017). Theorizing the political relevance of international relations theory. International Studies Quarterly, 61(1), 64-77. Web.

Kugler, J., & Organski, A. F. K. (1989). The power transition: A retrospective and perspective evaluation. In M. Midlarsky (Ed.), The handbook of war studies (pp. 171-194). Unwin Hyman.

Mendelski, B. (2018). The historiography of international relations: Martin Wight in fresh conversation with Duroselle and Morgenthau. Contexto Internacional, 40(2), 249-267. Web.

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