The rise of China is changing the strategic landscape globally and regionally. How states respond to potential threats posed by this new power arrangement will be crucial to international relations for the coming decades. This book builds on existing realist and rationalist concepts of balancing, bandwagoning, commitment problems, and asymmetric information to craft explanations about how states respond when faced with potential threats. Specifically, the book explores the role different types of uncertainty play in potential balancing situations. Particular focus is given to the nature of the rising state’s actions, the balance of forces, and the value of delay. These concepts are analysed and illustrated through a series of case studies on Europe in the 1930s as well as the present-day Southeast Asia, looking at great powers such as Britain and France, but also a wide range of smaller powers including Poland, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
"Ivan Savic and Zachary Shirkey have written a masterful book. By combining rigorous, game theoretic reasoning with nuanced case studies they have created a new and superior understanding of different facets of uncertainty. And then, in clear prose they tease out fundamental policy implications for global politics and US foreign policy. Every international relations student should read this book." - Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Julius Silver Professor of Politics, NYU and co-author of The Dictator's Handbook and Spoils of War.
Introduction—Threats and the Challenges of Uncertainty
Chapter 1—Balancing as a Commitment Problem
Chapter 2—Balancing and Buck-Passing: A Dynamic Model with Uncertainty
Chapter 3—Balancing and Buck-Passing: Western Europe in the 1930s
Chapter 4—To Bandwagon or Hide: A Theoretical Examination of the Alternatives to Balancing
Chapter 5—To Bandwagon or Hide: East Central Europe before World War Two
Chapter 6—Balancing and Bandwagoning by Other Means: How the Outbreak of War Affects States’ Responses to Threats
Chapter 7—The Rise of China: Will States Balance, Bandwagon, or Hedge in the South China Sea Today?