THE HISTORICAL CHARACTER OF THE BALANCE OF POWER AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION IN THE CRIMEAN WAR OF 1853-56

STRUCTURED ABSTRACT

Dating since the Utrecht Treaty of 1713, the balance of power issues have been central to the understanding of international relations. Decision makers have puzzled over how the states could avoid being predominated by their rivals and brace for any war that would destablise or stabilize the formation of the balance of power in terms of sustaining the creation of small scale states that could be protected against any hegemonic power. Particular attention has been paid to the important role of the balance of power in pursuing varying security strategies and linkages between major and small powers, alliances and war. This article seeks to argue the historical background of the balance of power in foreign policies of states while excluding the critisizm of modern interpretation of the balance of power for the sake of avoiding any kind of perplexing ideas since there are certainly difference among balance of power theorists. The study purports to be sheding light on how the balance of power stood for throughout centuries as well as on its timeline developments including its purpose and consequences up to the middle of the XIX century. The balance of power is spelled out as a concept for the reaffirmation of a new international system that had legitimated and institutionilized a variety of partnership and cooperation among major powers. The balance of power, as it had originated in European continent, had been seen as the re-establishment of an European international system, based on standing up against the tradition of the universal monarchy of Christianity, commencing right from the Utrecht Treaty of 1713 onwards. The loss of belief in the power of christendom among the European state system over the relationships among themselves had left each state powerless amid the naked physical calculation of the balance of power strategies. The participants in the formation of the Utrecht Treaty of 1713 put forward attempts at specifying what the balance of power should have been, which by principle had been based on law, the then current political values, regime types and restrained measurements. Hence, the widespread argument among the negotiators and arbitors affirmed that old concepts regarding universal hegemony by a single power justified on the basis of the past tradition, could have been revealed as deceitful. History had been used by the victors for their long term strategic purposes to tilt the balance of power in their favour.

The international environment forced the major powers to link the concept of interest with the balance of power. Because, the balance of power risked becoming embodied into a mechanistic calculus that was prophoundly misleading states. The situation was rather more complex; it was felt by prominent powers that the balance of power must have been chosen in full consciousness of its tactical and ethical dimensions. Incorporating the national interest into the framework of the balance of power had been to purport to help stabilize self reflection of each major power in connection to each other. Taking into account the role of national interest seemed a resorcefull provision for a new dimension of the balance of power. For the external behaviours of major powers, the requirement for the balance of power coupled with interest had been recognized as a key combination of any events on international level. A failure to admit the outcome seemed to be resulting in the balance of power hightening an ideology of a hegemonic power. The major powers throughout XVIII. century fruquently risked distinguishing the reality of the system from their ideological fiction whenever the disputes arose within the European powers that formed the core of the balance of power.

The balance of power was not only the expression of political practice and its transmission, but also the restablishment and reassessment of the international system with respect to provide a legitimacy for the emergence of the partnerships and cooperation among the major powers. The foreign policy tradition implementing a variety of policy by major powers within the framework of the balance of power had been incured to historically constant changing processes, corresponding to the increasing complexity of political relations ranging from the 17the up to the 20th century. In this article, one may assume a differentiated continuation from the 1713 Utrecht Treaty to the Crimean War of 1853-56. It seeks to explain How the past of the balance of power became particularly enriched in shaping and forming the beginning and the end of the Crimean War, questioning the perceptual transitions from past to the Crimean War.  The balance of power had been accepted as a universal principle by the then major powers including France, Britain, Austuria, Prussia and Russia. When the offensive policy of almost major powers was focused upon the repartitioning of the Ottoman territory, the public interest of Europe now came to be emboldened by invoking the balance of power as a means to help create the independence of small states by harsh intervention.

From the 1830s onwards, in parallel to the perception of the public about the foreign policy in terms of their own private interest, a national interest driven by the idea of national greatness and universal values yielded a foreign policy framework for the major powers for the post Viennia System. The combination of national interest and universal values had been providing the foundation for an aggressively international foreign policy. Without a conception of universal values and national greatness, the public had been expected to call for cuts in defence and foreign affairs budget, thus diminishing the ability of intervention into affairs of other states. By drawing on a vision of national interest coupled with universal values, this tendency of public had been considered successfully being countered and interventionist policy put to the sword.

In light of historical experience, the balance of power with the introduction of national interest had been a complex and vital at the international level as it was also being referred to as domestic. Consequently, in the middle of the 18th century, the strategy accorded by the needs of the intertwined interest by major powers uncovered an important fact that the balance of power apparently contained a paradox. The paradox was that the processes of social differentiation happened to be unable to be balanced against meeting the requirements of the major powers in accomodating potentially newly emerging states on both regional and global level. Being unable to resolve the actual requirements by the major powers through the engine of the balance of power was evident, then the capacity of combining the balance of power with private and general interests was no longer operative. The breakdown of the balance of power along with both private and general interest, both of which implicitly remained undifferentiated till the acceptance of positive law on global level, had been powerful enough to ruin the former internal balance of dynamics among the major powers.

The particular general interests of states had been taken more seriously, when the balance of power did not permit the Ottoman State to harness the divisions among the great powers, halting the advantageous development of the state to overcome the process of interference at international level. The focus on the internal organisation and administration of states came from concerns relating to the devolopmental level of the balance of power.  The problem that constantly recured whenever major powers were attempting to partner with each other in expanding the space of their interest that would frequently infiltrate the territory of the Ottoman Empire. It was evident that the differentiation of interest was in the process of splintering the national interest into private and general interest. The convergence of major powers in the process of diverging their external and internal interest from one another was unraveled as a new phase of the development in the balance of power strategies. That kind of the development could be possibly identified as the emergence of two unequel orders in a single state system.

The advocacy of self-interest and individual rights of states had been linked to the balance of power for laying the foundation for the consolidation of the positive law across the system. The developments explicitly legitimised the balance of power, while excluding and denouncing the past tradition of a Universal Monarchy as a false fiction.  The idea of the balance of power and interest was closely linked that advocated limits to political autonomy of the existing state system. Therefore, a limited foreign policy not only for minor powers but also for major powers had turned out to be an imperative option that was expected to be providing a concrete foundation for the operation of the balance of power. That is, the politics was linked to a strategy that was aimed at balancing the social sphere of the international system while seeking to limit the influence of domestic affairs on the foreign political preferences of the major powers. The powers being freed from their domestic impositions upon their foreign objectives to some degree had been able to consider a variety of options in interfering with the affairs of other states being considered fit for the interest of major powers.

Such contributions to the tradition of the balance of power could be seen as engulfing the whole aspects of the Crimean war. It is debated that the concept of the past in terms of the balance of power had been applicable to the circumstances of the Crimean War. The argumented reality that seeks to spell out the balance of power that was considered during the Crimean War was both similar to and different from the properties of the balance of power surrounding the Utrecht Treaty. While the existence of the balance of power was accepted since the 17th century, new rhetorical resources were being deployed, challenging the past applicability when it came to the intervention of the then major powers in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire in 1820s, 30s and 50s. Some examples are noted over how the concept of the balance of power was questioned by calling into doubt the concept of equilibruim created by Viennea Congres System in 1815 during the differentiation process between general and private interests that was happening to experience its development when the major powers strategically placed their focus upon the partition of the Ottoman State.

The balance of power has never served the weak powers such as the Ottoman State. It has only served major powers to hide their particular interests. For instance, as entering 1854, the loss of of equilibruim by a hostile action of Russia against the Ottoman State was to risk prompting the loss of the balance among the great powers the result of which had endangered the international system itself as a whole, dragging almost all major powers into the theatre of a world war. With Russia failing to properly rationalize her private and general interests, major powers following rather general interests than focusing on their particular private interests had successfully cooperated among each other against their rival. And as an outcome of the war, they succeeded in turning 1774 accord into a practical foundation by 30 March 1856 Paris Treaty in their favour and interests. France and Britain were reckoned as the winners, the Ottoman and Russia the losers. Still, the Ottoman State and its status were to become the centre of attention in international politics in the years ahead conforming to the principle of the Paris Treaty of 30 March 1856. Thus the Crimean War uncovered that the international system contains both the balance of power and the equilibruim; the functioning principle of each differs from each other depending upon the historical background and experience of each major power.

Systematising the principles of positive law made it possible to compare different power relations as different from the XVII.century backward. The development of the balance of power as an international structure made it possible to distinguish general balance of power more clearly from the balance of power established at regional level. The links between positive law, differentiation and variation in sociological structures of a targeted state and the concept of the balance of power allowed for major powers to formulate their general interests as the possible formation of small scale states. The links with positive law, types of regimes and re-establishment of both general and positive interests had ensured a variety of enriched conceptual possibilities for widening the vicinity of the balance of power, but also enabled a re-assessment of the concept itself.

Keywords: Balance of Power, Utrecht Treaty, Ottoman, Major Powers, Crimean War