For a state the balance of power is directly related to the states security. The balance of power occurs when no one state is in a position to exert its will on another. One way the balance of power is achieved is through a state's personal security or arms. States acquire and stockpile weapons to achieve a sense of personal security as well as to let other states know they are not to be messed with. However there are limits that are set to keep international order for the benefit of all nations involved. Something that can threaten a states security is simply a threat from another state.
Many of the conflicts we see today come from ethnic differences. Other conflicts come from states trying to acquire land from other states. Whenever a conflict arises the Great Powers in the world usually play a role. "The U.
S. , China, Russia, Japan, and the European Union are for now, the only states or association of states that might be labeled Great Powers" (KCT, pp. 37). These states have enough military or economic clout to persuade conflicting states toward peace or dominance depending on the side they choose. These are also the states that have the most influence on international law that governs the level of military action that can be taken and the weapons that can be used. Another aspect of inters-state conflict and global security is the global arms industry.
"Arms traffic has been significantly affected by the global transformations of the late 1980 s and early 1990 s, particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the U. S. victory in the Persian Gulf" (KCT, pp. 169). The results of these events have turned the arms industry into a "buyers' market." Industrialized nations have stepped up their arms production and a surplus of Cold War weapons have lead to the increase in weapons buying. Now any country or group with enough cash has the ability to purchase weapons on the open or black market as they see fit.
Nuclear weapons are also an important subject in global security. "Nuclear weapons, like other weapons, are more than tools of national security; they are political objects of considerable importance in domestic debates and internal bureaucratic struggles and can also serve as international normative symbols of modernity and identity" (Sagan, pp. 55). As states such as the U. S. and Russia retire their nuclear arsenals others like India, Pakistan, and North Korea try to become Nuclear Powers.
Many countries see nuclear weapons as a way of enhancing their countries security. Groups such as NATO use collective security as a way to control nuclear proliferation, halting the spread of nuclear weapons. It seems increasingly difficult however to persuade countries that having nuclear capabilities doesn't make their nation any more secure and may just be the opposite. Another weapon of mass destruction that has been used throughout history are chemical weapons. "Chemical weapons are super toxic liquid and gaseous substances that can be dispersed in bombs, rockets, missiles, artillery, mines, grenades, or spray tanks" (Amy Smithson, FAQ).
"The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibited the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer, and use of chemical weapons" (Amy Smithson, FAQ). Despite this fact chemical weapons are still a threat to a nations security not only from other nations but also terrorist. These weapons are less obvious than nuclear weapons and even though they might as devastating they can be very deadly. Biological weapons have a longer and greater history in warfare than chemical weapons. "Biological weapons, are 'living organisms, whatever their nature, or infectious material derived from them, which are intended to cause disease or death in man, animal, and plants, and which depend for their effects on their ability to multiply in the person, the animal, or plant attacked" (Gert G.
Ha rigel). Like chemical weapons, biological weapons have the threat of being used not only by one nation against another but terrorist as well. The danger of biological weapons is that they can be concealed under the guise of scientific work that can be beneficial to a nation.