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Charles P.

Kindleberger is one of the scholars most closely associated with HST, and is regarded by some as the theory's father. Kindleberger's reasoning touched upon more than economics, however: the central idea behind HST is that the stability of the global system, in terms of politics, international law , and so on, relies on the hegemon to develop and enforce the rules of the system. In order for a nation-state to rise to the level of hegemon, there are some attributes it must or is more advantageous to have.

First of all, it must have political strength, military force, and superior national power that is necessary for its ability to forge new international laws and organizations. In terms of military force, a standing defensive army is not enough. A superior navy, or air force is. This explains why many hegemons have been geographically situated on peninsulas or islands. Peninsularity and insularity provide added security, and, where naval power is necessary, the ability to project military forces.

In some cases, hegemons have not been insular or peninsular. The United States of America, for instance, has become a virtual island. It has two massive seaboards, and its neighbors are strong allies, and relatively reliable. Also, the modern invention of nuclear weapons, and the presence of a superior air force provide highly reliable security for the country, setting it apart from the rest of the world.

Secondly, a hegemon must have a large and growing economy. Usually, unrivaled supremacy in at least one leading economic or technological sector is necessary. The first and second refers to a state having the attribute of the capability to enforce the rules of the system. Thirdly, a hegemon must have will to lead, and the will to establish a hegemonic regime, as well as the capability to lead and enforce the rules of the system.

After World War I, Great Britain possessed the will to lead, but lacked the necessary abilities to do so. Without the ability to force stability on the international system, Great Britain was able to do little to prevent the onset of the Great Depression or World War II. Finally, a hegemon must commit to the system, which needs to be perceived as mutually beneficial for other great powers and important state-actors. Hegemony is an important aspect of international relations.

Various schools of thought and theories have emerged in an attempt to better understand hegemonic actors and their influence. According to Thomas J. McCormick , scholars and other experts on the systemic school define hegemony "as a single power's possession of 'simultaneous superior economic efficiency in production, trade and finance.

George Modelski , who presented his ideas in the book, Long Cycles in World Politics , is the chief architect of long cycle theory. In a nutshell, long cycle theory describes the connection between war cycles, economic supremacy, and the political aspects of world leadership. Long cycles, or long waves, offer interesting perspectives on global politics by permitting "the careful exploration of the ways in which world wars have recurred, and lead states such as Britain and the United States have succeeded each other in an orderly manner.

The long cycle, according to Dr. Dan Cox, is a period of time lasting approximately 70 to years. At the end of that period, "the title of most powerful nation in the world switches hands. When periods of global war, which could last as much as one-fourth of the total long cycle, are factored in, the cycle can last from 87 to years. Many traditional theories of international relations, including the other approaches to hegemony, believe that the baseline nature of the international system is anarchy.

They are part of the living processes of the global polity and social order. Wars are "systemic decisions" that "punctuate the movement of the system at regular intervals. After all, long cycles have provided, for the last five centuries, a means for the successive selection and operation of numerous world leaders. Modeslki used to believe that long cycles were a product of the modern period.

2 The American system

He suggests that the five long cycles, which have taken place since about , are each a part of a larger global system cycle, or the modern world system. Under the terms of long cycle theory, five hegemonic long cycles have taken place, each strongly correlating to economic Kondratieff Waves or K-Waves. The first hegemon would have been Portugal during the 16th century, then the Netherlands during the 17th century.

Next, Great Britain served twice, first during the 18th century, then during the 19th century. The traditional view of long cycle theory has evolved somewhat, as Modelski now suggests that Northern and Southern Sung China, Venice and Genoa were each the dominant economic powers during medieval long cycles.

However, he does not classify any of these states as world powers. Only when Portugal gained hegemony after is that distinction made. Neorealists have been focusing on this theory recently, the main proponent of it being John J.

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Mearsheimer who is trying to incorporate it into 'offensive realism'. The hegemon would begin to undermine the institution when it is not in their interests. With the decline of a hegemon, the system descends into instability. Other realists argue that the anarchic system does not actually give causal motivation to aid the creation of hegemons. Neoliberals argue that the hegemon wishes to maintain its dominant position without paying enforcement costs, so it creates a system in which it can credibly limit the returns to power loser doesn't lose all and credibly commit to neither dominate nor abandon them.

This is done through institutions, which are sticky, hard to change, more convenient to continue using than to revamp. These institutions favor the hegemon, but provide protection and a stable world order for the rest of the world. The more open this world-order, the less likely that there will be a challenger. It is motivated by ' enlightened self-interest '; the hegemon takes on the costs because it is good for all actors, thereby creating stability in the system, which is also in the interests of all actors.

Duncan Snidal argues that 'the range of the theory is very limited to very special conditions,' and suggests that the decline of a hegemonic power may demonstrate the possibility of a collective power.


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Abstract Realism is the dominant school in the study of international relations and covers a broad range of positions which share certain family resemblances but also contain significant differences. Related Information. Close Figure Viewer. Browse All Figures Return to Figure. The first was the re-emergence of Russia as a regional power when it intervened against Georgia in , and then as a global player with its renewed interest in the Middle East especially Syria, Egypt, Persian Gulf , in the Arctic, in the post-Soviet space Ukraine crisis, among others , in Africa and in Latin America.

Concerts are known to involve deep international cooperation among major powers, but they are distinct from alliances and do not reduce competitive power politics. They are intended to operate parallel to the US-led order established in Bretton Woods in , by creating — or supporting — other alternative institutions to the Western-led ones. All the abovementioned elements clearly show the evidence of slow but progressive redistribution of power. Regionalism contrasts with regionalization, which is, according to the New Regionalism Approach, the expression of increased commercial and human transactions in a defined geographical region.

Regionalism refers to an intentional political process, typically led by governments with similar goals and values in pursuit of the overall development within a region. Regionalization, however, is simply the natural tendency to form regions, or the process of forming regions due to similarities between states in a given geographical space. The major powers in the system may take the opportunity to exploit regional cooperation and conflicts to their own advantage and to engage in offshore balancing in precisely the way in which neo-realist theory would predict.

The recent events allow a theoretical connection between the process of regionalization especially with economic purpose and classical geopolitics. Such a system would reify the neo-realist assumption according to which the supposed declining hegemon US need to avoid 2 that the rise of a rival China , or a block of antagonistic powers China and Russia , could oust the hegemon itself US from the world-island Eurasia.

  • Randall L. Schweller.
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  • Words Defined Prophetically.
  • Hegemonic stability theory.
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  • This idea has common roots in classical geopolitics worked out by Halford J. Mackinder and by the realist thinker Nicholas J.

    Structural Realism Has No Clothes

    Spykman , The main financial institution created to support these infrastructural projects is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank AIIB , which is also aimed at challenging the West-centric financial institutions. The Chinese economic activism, which underlies a sort of strategic assertiveness through the means of economic expansionism, has led the US to adopt a more protectionist agenda. These events triggered a vigorous debate on the looming trade war between US and China.

    Not for the first time, classical geopolitics has found a new appreciation as a device for interpreting contemporary events in world politics. The return of realpolitik and the emergence of the global economy as a platform for competition pose risks that threaten to change global trade dynamics, integration and development, the international rules-based system and business climate. The interplay of the described factors allows a comprehensive explanation of the current international system in the light of the realist paradigm, although most of the states are relying less on military power and more on economic means Cini, to advance their interests and increase their relative power.

    Realism does not reject economic power as a major factor to qualify a state, as well as to understand how power is distributed. Despite its limitations, there is much more in the system than is contained in neo realist theory, as foreign policy analysis of the major countries clearly demonstrates Hurrell, , p. A general theory of international relations requires a theory of state action.

    Realism remains effective in substance even if the state was replaced by other sub-national NGOs, corporations or supranational entities, considering that the validity of the four central realist propositions would not be substantially affected. From a structuralist point of view, every actor — even non-state actors — on the international stage acts according to the four realist propositions, and tends to pursue its own interests in terms of a utilitarian interpretation , to increase its relative power, and to ensure its survival in terms of security.

    A realist approach should also emphasize the multidimensional perspective of state action, as well as its possibility of using both soft power and hard power or smart power Nossel, ; Nye, , that is a clever combination of them. According to Chester Crocker , p. Agnew J Globalization and Sovereignty. Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield. Arun S , January The Return of Realpolitik.

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