1st Edition

The Sources of Great Power Competition Rising Powers, Grand Strategy, and System Dynamics

Edited By J. Patrick Rhamey Jr., Spencer D. Bakich Copyright 2025
    368 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores the determinants of state power, the strategic options of rising powers, the drivers of conflict in dynamic international systems, and American grand strategy past and present to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the current era of great power competition.

    Leveraging insights from international relations, history, economics, and political demography, it offers rich perspectives on the competition among newly rising powers and long-dominant leaders in the international system.  The book presents novel theories and innovative empirical investigations into the economic and demographic challenges confronting rising powers, along with new inquiries into these countries’ capacity to mobilize both their citizens and their militaries.  While China’s grand strategy has attracted significant attention in recent years, these authors look beyond US-PRC relations by considering the war proneness and strategic repertoires of rising regional powers, including India and Russia.  Yet, the possibility of great power war remains a justifiable concern.  This book examines the so-called Thucydides’ s Trap by exploring both its explanatory power in the conflict that inspired its name, the Peloponnesian War, and the possible mechanisms for averting war between the two most powerful countries in the current era.  Finally, several challenges confronting the United States are discussed, including climate change, competition over the interpretation of the international Women, Peace, and Security agenda, and the durability of America’s commitment to upholding the liberal international order. 

    Sources of Great Power Competition brings together many of the most influential scholars to engage in lively debates about the current and future international system. It will be of interest to foreign policy practitioners and scholars of grand strategy, the causes of war, alliance politics, norms and narratives in foreign policy, power transitions, and international hierarchy.

    Introduction: System Complexity and Strategic Narratives in the Era of Great Power


    Spencer D. Bakich


    Part I: The Determinants of State Power


    Chapter 1: “Rising Powers” in International Politics: Which Powers are Rising and Are They

    Challengers to the Liberal World Order?

    Thomas J. Volgy and Kelly Marie Gordell


    Chapter 2: India and China: Population Futures

    Tadeusz Kugler and Kristina Khederlarian Fightmaster


    Chapter 3: “Patriots” with Different Characteristics: A Typology of Motives in the Chinese Anti- Japan Protests in 2012

    Ketian Zhang


    Chapter 4: Bvt. Major General Emory Upton's Military Policy of the United States and the

    Origins of U.S. Army Reform in the Late Nineteenth Century

    Barton A. Myers


    Part II: Diplomatic Strategies of Rising Powers


    Chapter 5: Stepping Into and Out of the Hegemon’s Shadow: Exploring the Alignment Decisions

    of Rising Regional Powers

    Evan Braden Montgomery


    Chapter 6: Russia: From Superpower to Second-Tier State

    Jacek Kugler, Ronald L. Tammen, and Yuzhu Zeng


    Chapter 7: Cooperation Between India and the BRICS: A Challenge to the Global Liberal Order

    Aakriti A. Tandon and Michael O. Slobodchikoff


    Part III: Rising Powers and International Conflict


    Chapter 8: Rising Power Fallacies in the Etiology of Interstate War

    William R. Thompson


    Chapter 9: Avoiding Thucydides’s Trap with China as a Rising Power: Causal depth, Critical

    Neoclassical Realism, U.S. Grand Strategy and Global Order

    Haider A. Khan


    Chapter 10: What Thucydides Trap? Power, Threat, and the Great War that Ripped through

    Classical Greece

    Scott A. Silverstone


    Chapter 11: Strategic Narratives and U.S. Grand Strategy Toward Rising Powers

    C. William Walldorf, Jr.


    Part IV: America’s Response to Rising Powers


    Chapter 12: Sustainable Strategic Adjustment: Confronting Climate Change and Rethinking

    Restraint in U.S. Grand Strategy

    Jonathan M. DiCicco and Fahad Rajput


    Chapter 13: Major Power Contestation and the Instrumentalization of Women, Peace, and


    Alexis Henshaw


    Chapter 14: Should I Stay or Should I Go? How China’s Rise Affects America’s Commitment to the Liberal International Order

    Kyle M. Lascurettes


    Chapter 15: Power Shift, Problem Shift, and Policy Shift: Reacting to China’s Rise

    Steve Chan


    Conclusion: A Grand Strategy of Satisfaction

    J. Patrick Rhamey Jr.


    J. Patrick Rhamey Jr. is Professor of International Studies and Political Science at the Virginia Military Institute, USA and Board Member of the TransResearch Consortium.  His research includes the impact of systemic hierarchy on international order, the causes of international conflict, and theorizing in the subfield of comparative regionalism.  He is author of Power, Space, and Time: An Empirical Introduction to International Relations, a textbook intended to introduce undergraduates to data driven international relations approaches with an emphasis on hierarchy as an ordering principle.

    Spencer D. Bakich is Professor of International Studies and Political Science and Director of the National Security Program at the Virginia Military Institute, USA, and is a Senior Fellow at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.  He is the author of The Gulf War: George H. W. Bush and American Grand Strategy in the Post-Cold War Era and Success and Failure in Limited War: Information and Strategy in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Iraq Wars.