Synopses & Reviews
This edited volume explores in depth each of the individual relationships between the putative 'poles' of a prospective new multipolar system in the 21st century.
The passing of the Soviet Union in December 1991 brought the final curtain down on a near half century of bipolar rivalry and, in doing so, ushered in a period of speculation - what some described as an interregnum - about the prospects for multipolarity. Within a few short years, however, the reality of US dominance and the as yet unrealised might of its assumed rivals seemed to confirm the existence of a unipolar world. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, American supremacy - whether in the guise or trappings of a superpower, hyperpower, hegemon, or indeed, empire - once again generated intense debate surrounding both the nature and quality of this power, as well as the execution and thrust of US foreign policy. At the same time, significant developments in four rising powers - China, Russia, India and the European Union - provoked analysts to ask whether multipolarity was a realistic prospect.
This book offers a detailed case-study approach to the subject of multipolarity, with individual chapters examining the essential nature and characteristics of each individual relationship of the key 'poles'- for example, US-Indian relations, Sino-Russian relations - identifying the most salient aspects, the efficacy of the relationship in the longer term and the strengths and weaknesses of each individual case. The editors then draw on each case study to identify what this tells us about the actual empirical prospects for multipolarity. The volume aims to deepen understanding of power trends and critically assess the individual inter-dynamics at play. In doing so, it critiques the various models offered, such as the hub and spoke model (with the US remaining as the primary actor) and Zakaria's 'networked' model, as part of a purported 'post-American world'.
Written by a combination of emerging scholars and recognised subject matter experts, this work provides a timely and authoritative analysis of one of the most controversial and compelling security debates of the twenty-first century. It will be of much interest to students of international security, foreign policy, and IR in general.