Balance of Power: Koko’s Peace, and International Politics in a Nutshell

Some people may laugh at Koko’s claim that she’s selling weapons for world peace as just a ridiculous quirk from our favorite psychotic arms dealer, and it does seem counter intuitive.

While Koko’s methods and true intentions are debatable, the reasoning behind the idea isn’t that ridiculous. In international politics there are a variety of paradigms for looking at the world, and each has its own method of bringing peace and stability to the international system. Here’s a brief explanation of Liberalism and Realism, the latter of which Jormungand seems to follow.

Liberalism (EXTREMELY SIMPLIFIED)

Collective security is advocated by Liberals (the liberal paradigm in international relations isn’t the same as what is commonly used with domestic politics), where if country A invades country B, every other country C D E etc will all attack A. This is how the League of Nations and its successor the United Nations is supposed to function, but oftentimes there isn’t approval to invade a country when Russia or China choose to veto it in the Security Council. In some historical UN-backed deployments like the Korean War, usually the bulk of the forces come from the United States – which raises the question of what would be done if the U.S. decides it doesn’t want anything to do with a conflict.

Realism (EXTREMELY SIMPLIFIED)

The other major paradigm is Realism, which advocates balances of power as a way to keep the international system stable.It won’t remain stable forever and there will be conflicts, but it will keep the stability for long periods of time. Realists say that it is in the state’s best interest to obtain more power, as stronger states will boss you around and you never know when another state will turn hostile. In the words of my professor, “There’s no 911 to call” in the international system. You can’t always rely on other countries to help you out of goodwill if you’re attacked or threatened into disadvantageous treaties. When there’s a balance of power, the states will be reluctant to go to war but will be likelier to cooperate and negotiate because they know that in a conflict neither will come out in good shape.

Jormungand

In the first episode of Jormungand, Koko helped create a part of the balance of power by upgrading the unknown country’s MiG-29 Fulcrum squadrons. The people who tried to stop her were likely the country’s intelligence agency or interior ministry, who probably thought that the neighboring states would become more aggressive when they see a buildup of forces. This just shows how there’s no clear cut line on these matters. Since there is no way for states to know the true intentions of another state, a buildup of power could be interpreted as a sign of aggression.

I’m merely explaining (in VERY brief terms) a few of the paradigms (there are others), and I’m not claiming that Jormungand is enitrely accurate either. The second episode had a balance of power between the Russians and the rebels, but for the Red Bear to be deterred by such a small force it would probably have to already be occupied and have their forces tied up by fighting with both the Chinese and Japanese. However, in the show’s canon and ignoring real military levels, the principle of Realism is there in how the region stabilized after a build up of forces to a comparable level. 

Personal Thoughts

What am I? I’m a realist. Liberalism sounds cute and pretty, but it’s not how humans and the world work.

(Warning: Tangential ramblings coming up.)

My ideal system is one ruled by a single Earth Federation. One where there’s a single federal government for the world, and countries are semi-autonomous sub-states that have different governments for people to choose. Ideally the federation would have a set of core universal inviolable human rights, that all the countries have to respect. There would only be one military, and disputes would be settled by the federal government. Existing states would lose their sovereignty, but as individuals we would be more free. There would be no oppression, discrimination, and we won’t be as confined by borders and problems of citizenship. Of course, that all hinges on how liberal (ideology, not paradigm) the federation government becomes. If an oppressive regime takes control then things will be even worse since there’s no place to run to.

I think we’ve seen a steady concentration of power throughout history, from the many powers of Europe, to a few strong states (U.S., U.K., U.S.S.R.) between WW1 and WW2, to the bipolar system of the Cold War. Now that the Soviet Union dissolved, the U.S. is easily the strongest state in the system. Maybe the U.S. will take over the world, or maybe some other state will rise up. It’ll take decades, maybe centuries, but I think we’re headed down this path. 

I’ll also say it’s necessary for the world to be united under one government. Issues that individual states can’t solve by themselves – or that other states won’t let them solve – could be handled better. Global warming. Space. The human population would overrun the earth, and we’ll have to expand to other planets at some point down the line. The universe is constantly trying to kill us too – at some point an asteroid will come our way, and if the current world system is in place everyone will probably be bickering about other states launching something to stop the asteroid as a pretense to put weapons in space. Or something.

Well that’s my two cents. What are your thoughts?