1st Edition

Power Vacuums and Global Politics Areas of State and Non-state Competition in Multipolarity

By Hanna Samir Kassab Copyright 2023

    In this book, Hanna Samir Kassab develops a theoretical framework that explains the formulation of power vacuums and examines their impact on the international system.

    A power vacuum is the fundamental absence of legitimate state authority over a geographic territory, and it is a space free of governance. With no state authority governing a geographical region, opportunistic states and organized criminal and terrorist networks may attempt to control that space. Using a variety of historical examples and centering his analysis on ungoverned spaces rather than great powers, Kassab uncovers neglected areas of great power competition. Part 1 discusses state actors: specifically, the strategic space of the Arctic, the Middle East and Africa, and Afghanistan and Central Asia. Part 2 examines non-state actors, such as terrorist networks and organized criminal networks, and the formulation of paramilitaries.

    Power Vacuums and Global Politics is the perfect volume for both undergraduate and graduate courses in international relations, security studies, political science, comparative politics, international political economy, and war and peace.

    1. Introduction

    2. Power Vacuums Conceptualized

    Part 1: State Actors

    3. Power Vacuums: Climate Change and the Scramble for the Arctic

    4. The Middle East and Africa

    5. Afghanistan and Central Asia

    Part 2: Nonstate actors

    6. Violent Non-state Actors: Global Terrorism and Organized Crime

    7. Failed States, Power Vacuums, and Human Security Paramilitary Groups



    Hanna Samir Kassab is an assistant professor of political science and security studies at East Carolina University, USA.

    "This is an important book that makes many key contributions to the academic literature. A must-read for academics, students, and policy analysts"

    Jonathan D. Rosen, New Jersey City University

    "This is an excellent and timely contribution to the field of studies of state competition and the role of non-state actors in the context of great power geopolitical rivalry. The book reveals, from theoretical and empirical perspectives, the logic of complex scenarios in the modern international system when a State fails and a power vacuum emerges. The case studies cover a great variety of situations and geographies, and it is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding better contemporary conflicts for territory and influence."

    Vladimir Rouvinski, Universidad Icesi

    "The book Power Vacuums: Areas of State and Non-state Competition in Multipolarity has a different and new perspective on security studies because it centers on the analysis of ungoverned spaces, rather than great powers or stronger nations. Hanna S. Kassab is an expert on this subject and provides a deep analysis on why power vacuums might generate conflict, which is a core issue for security studies The book could be appealing to readers because it tries to identify variables that determine why states could fail. A compelling argument is that power vacuums are a significant threat to international security because they increase the likelihood of proxy wars among great powers. For readers interested in these topics, the book is a must."

    Rafael Velazquez Flores, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California

    "Kassab explains in his excellent new book why power vacuums often invite great power conflict. This makes it imperative to prevent their future emergence in a less stable multipolar world."

    Armin Krishnan, East Carolina University