Not So Obsolete Military Power in World Politics


The end of the Cold War greatly contributed to the spread of thesis that the military power as a means of achieving states' goals within the rules and institutions based global liberal order had become completely obsolete. Indeed, the number of direct military engagements among nations (interstate wars) has been on its historically lowest level for the post-Cold War period, though militarized conflicts within stated in the problem-ridden areas have not lost their severity. However, this same period has seen over 45% worldwide military expenditures rise, and quite a few  states  have  acquired  more  sophisticated  military  hardware. These facts support the assertion that today military power is still being taken into account, it is used as a means of achieving goals and influences the behavior of states even without being applied to adversary, or if conflict has not escalated enough to call it a full-scale war. Two hypotheses are proposed and tested in the article. They may help to explain why states continue to invest scarce resources into maintaining their military potentials and procurements of weapon systems, which may never be used in combat. Firstly, we hypothesize that the available military potentials of states allow to determine to what extent and which states rely or do not rely on this component of the national potential of influence in the world (i.e. for whom the military power has not become obsolete). Secondly, countries for which military power has not become obsolete demonstrate generally similar configurations of components of military power (i.e. evolution of the militaries of these states may show strong similarities). To test the proposed hypotheses, quantitative methods have been used to analyze data on 98 countries of the world at two points in time (2005 and 2015/2016). The cluster analysis in general confirms our hypotheses.  The  comparison  of clusters as of 2005 and 2015/2016 indicates that the states under similar external conditions (for example, constant external pressure, rivalry with neighbors, etc.) build up (or lose)  similar  components  of  the military power.


state; war; military power; status; cluster analysis; USA; Russia.

Authors: Mikhail Mironyuk, Kirill Toloknev, Artem Maltsev

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