War and the Power Transition Process

The power transition theory focuses on the nature of war and its relation to power. According to this conception, the likelihood of war increases in the condition of even distribution of capabilities between states. Consequently, peace can be guaranteed in case of a power imbalance.

Organski emphasizes that the power transition process includes three stages: the stage of power potential, the beginning of the development, and the power maturity leading to the end of the state’s growth. Even though the weaker nations are the most dissatisfied in general, the aggressor is usually one of the few disadvantaged strong countries. Therefore, the war is most likely to erupt when the country reached its full development and when the relative balance of powers allows it to start aggressive actions.

Organski’s theory explains why war is unlikely to break out at other points of the power transition process. The idea of power hierarchy implies that there are a dominant nation and great powers that have enough political capacity to maintain international peace. The status quo of weaker nations imposed by the alliance of powerful states prevents them from aggressive actions even if they are dissatisfied.

However, the status of great power is not associated with strict limitations. This state may claim to take the dominant position, stop being a subordinate state, or make changes in the international system. Therefore, the critical moment of the power transition process is the dissatisfaction of one of the few strong countries and the situation of the balanced distribution of countries’ capabilities.

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