After the West? Toward a New International System?

Michael Cox

in International Relations Since the End of the Cold War

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199666430
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745607 | DOI:
After the West? Toward a New International System?

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Over the past few years the view has become common that the world that is in the midst of an irreversible global transition that can only work to the disadvantage of the more traditional centres of western power. America’s foreign policy setbacks since 9/11, its economic and political woes following the financial crisis, the Euro crisis, and of course the rise of China, Asia and many other emerging countries – collectively known as the ‘rest - have together been seen as sure signs that a power shift is taking place that is rendering the world less western and more multi-polar. This chapter examines this thesis and suggests that whilst there have been significant economic changes over the past decade, these have neither undermined the economic, military or ideological power of the West or led to an irreversible power shift.  The West retains many advantages. Indeed, the rise of the rest – made possible by effectively ‘buying into’ the West - will over time render the West, including the United States, potentially more secure rather than less.  We need a new way therefore of thinking about the changing international system, one that does not assume that change by definition is bound to lead to decline for some and greater collective power for others.

Keywords: power shift; West; China; Asia; BRIC

Chapter.  11035 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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