Ocean’s Eleven

Not surprisingly, written material on the “balance of power” principle as it pertains to international affairs is scarce in Anglo-America. The most significant and substantial work on the “balance of power” principle I was able to find as it pertains to international affairs in Anglo-America is Hans Morgenthau’s “Politics Among Nations.” In this book, Morgenthau tried as best as possible to make the “balance of power” principle understandable from an empirical and scientific standpoint. But as mentioned before, an explanation of the “balance of power” principle in empirical and scientific terms amounts essentially to a poor translation of the actual essence of the “balance of power” principle which in turn is best understood existentially and phenomenologically.

Although Kissinger and Brzezinski wrote about the balance of power implicitly and thematically, one is hard pressed to find a book or a work of literature in Anglo-America that is as copious and direct about the “balance of power” principle as Morgenthau’s “Politics Among Nations.” Morgenthau predates Kissinger and Brzezinski to a certain degree. Another international affairs writer who wielded the essence of the “balance of power” principle in Anglo-America was the British diplomat and historian E.H. Carr.

Thus, at the core of the Eurasian realpolitik tradition of international affairs is the “balance of power” principle. And in terms of written material regarding the “balance of power” principle in Anglo-America, the forerunners of virtually all other writers from the Eurasian realpolitik tradition of international affairs in the late modern period are Carr and Morgenthau.

And when we assess the “balance of power” principle, what we are assessing above all else is the essence and nature of “power.” In turn, power is the main currency of international affairs. One particular definition of the term “power” is the ability to control or influence the actions and thoughts of others. But at the core of “power” is energy and spirit. As Morgenthau wrote in “Politics Among Nations,” there are essentially six dimensions of power. For one, there is military power. Second, there is economic power. Third, there is territory. Fourth, there is population. Fifth, there is culture. Finally, there is energy and spirit.

Of all the various dimensions of power that Morgenthau listed, energy and spirit outweigh all the other dimensions of power. Thus, power is primarily psychological rather than material. Government in the United States thinks that it can throw money at every problem and that the problem will be solved. Consider how much money was thrown at Afghanistan by the international community and the United States, and yet the Taliban were able to recapture the country. As a result, certain individuals who focus on “economics” or “money” forget that their stinginess in terms of generating and providing energy and spirit are the cause of a dilemma and problem.

Moreover, nothing is guaranteed in terms of economics and money. After a certain period of time, an economy and money can diminish. In high school, I would get a weekly pay working at a gas station owned by a friend, where I learned that people in America smoke a lot of cigarettes. After high school, in addition to trying out an accounting job in college, I was a paralegal at a law firm for almost two years before going to grad school at American University in Washington, DC. And after grad school, life took me into the literary world as a writer after a short stint in law school which confirmed my belief that a career in law was neither my desire nor destiny. The only interruption to what has largely been an enjoyable writing endeavour since finishing graduate school was a brief stint assisting an Afghan ambassador which ended up being more of a life lesson than anything else.

I have not been afraid to try different things and to explore everything before settling into a fixed path. Thus, I have always been a risk taker. Moreover, at the core of entrepreneurship is risk-taking, because risk-taking generates and develops the kind of energy and spirit that cannot be found out of a sense of dependence and “safety.” And with energy and spirit, everything else falls into place.

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