The relationship between established powers and emerging powers is one of the most important topics in world politics. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated how the leading state in the international system responds to rising powers in peripheral regions—actors that are not yet and might never become great powers but that are still increasing their strength, extending their influence, and trying to reorder their corner of the world.
In the Hegemon’s Shadow fills this gap. I draw on different strands of realist theory to develop a novel framework that explains why leading states have accommodated some rising regional powers but opposed others.
Specifically, I examine the interaction between two factors: the type of local order that a leading state prefers and the type of local power shift that appears to be taking place. The first captures a leading state’s main interest in a peripheral region and serves as the baseline for its evaluation of any changes in the status quo. Would the leading state like to see a balance of power rather than a preponderance of power, does it favor primacy over parity instead, or is it impartial between these alternatives? The second indicates how a local power shift is likely to unfold. In particular, which regional order is an emerging power trying to create and does a leading state expect it to succeed?
I test these arguments by analyzing Great Britain’s efforts to manage the rise of Egypt, the Confederacy, and Japan during the nineteenth century and the United States’ efforts to manage the emergence of India and Iraq during the twentieth century.