How is international politics flowing from bi­polarity different from that based on multi centrism?


Advantages of Multi polarity/Multi centrism. Multi polarity/ multi centrism, on the other hand, has the following advantages.

1. Reduction in intensity of hostility

Since the number of powers in a multi polar system is very great, there is a greatly reduced danger of mutual enmity between two powers. Antagonism will be divided. USSR will find not only U.S.A. but also China as its enemies.

Individual States will have associations with a great variety of others. So, cross- cutting loyalties will tend to reduce intensity of hostility expressed towards one particular State.


Multi polarity thus diffuses hostility and provides the basis for a stable social system.

2. Reduction in the chances of conflict

Multi polarity/multi- centrism diminishes conflict since increase in the number of important states reduces the share of attention that any nation can devote to any particular State.

Since a nation can only actively attend to a certain maximum number of other states at any given time, a large multi polar international system will mean that a number of national actions will not reach the point of international importance. Conflicts will thus be limited in his manner:

3. Reduction in Arms Race

Multi polarity/multi centrism has a dampening effect on arms race.


If a State A is allocating half of its military strength against B, and half against C and D together, B’s effort will be to match the strength opposed to them.

This will mean less efforts as compared to the position if there were only A and B in position. Multipolarity thus limits arms competition.

Disadvantages of Multi polarity/Multi centrism

Still, multi­ polarity has disadvantages of its own. These are:

1. Increase in chances of conflict. Multi polar/multi centric world will increase the number of international conflicts although of reduced significance.


Since in a multi polar world a great number of States will be significant actors, a variety of claims and interests will flow against one another. There will thus be more chances of conflict.

2. Contradictory theory. If a multi polar international order is as harmonious as its supporters claim, even widespread distribution of nuclear weapons should not destabilize the system. This means multi polarity advocates arms race which is so illogical.

3. Multi centrism makes it impossible to calculate actual relationship. A multi polar international system, while reducing the importance of any significant change of alignment or military posture, in­evitably adds to uncertainty.

In a bipolar world changes are relatively simple to predict. But in a multi polar world, a single change in alliance will produce consequences difficult to calculate. It is because such a system is very complex.


Multi polarity thus rises the difficulty of policy­making. It makes difficult to achieve stable results.


In this way, we find that both bipolarity and multi­ polarity have advantages and disadvantages of its own. But we should be content to note that we are at present passing through an age which is neither bipolar nor multi polar but bipolar in the presence of multi­ centrism.

It means bipolarity has not cased to operate but is limited by multi centrism. And it would be no exaggeration to say that the present system includes advantages of both the systems.

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