Balance of power theory
Balance of power theory has a complicated relationship with the realist tradition. On the one hand (and hence this chapter), it is sometimes considered a separate stand-alone body of scholarship. On the other hand, with the exception of some versions of rise and fall realism, almost all realist theories include some elements of balancing behavior and/or an expectation that the system will tend toward balance. Because of this very substantial overlap, it is worth grappling with some of the complexities of balance of power theory, and appreciating some of the conceptual and theoretical diffi culties.