1st Edition

Weak States and Spheres of Great Power Competition

By Hanna Samir Kassab Copyright 2020
    194 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    194 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explains the development of the international system’s present-day balance of power by exploring three central questions: (1) Under what conditions has the international system order evolved from a unipolar system to the current multipolar system? (2) What are its major states? (3) How do weak powers affect great power competition?

    It puts forward the following hypotheses: (1) if China and Russia are expanding their military, political, and economic influence into weaker states globally, then the unipolar American order is unraveling; and (2) if the international system is multipolar, then great power balancing may enhance international security. However, balancing may be made difficult because of weak state aid-seeking behavior. When weak states engage competing great powers, they become spheres of competition. This book delves into these states. Whether in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Central Asia, East Asia, or Eastern Europe, great powers hope to establish some control over weaker units for security, economic, and at times, prestige purposes.

    This book will be of interest to students and scholars of political science and IR, security studies, and IPE, as well as members of the think tank community and policy analysts.

    1. Introduction

    Part I: Great Powers and the Balance of Power

    2. The United States and its Unipolar Moment

    3. Eastern European

    4. East Asia

    5. Middle East

    Part II: Weaker states and Non-state Actors: Spheres of Great Power Competition

    6. Latin America

    7. Africa

    8. Other Spheres of Competition and Global non-state issues

    9. Conclusions


    Hanna Samir Kassab is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at East Carolina University, USA.

    "An important work, global in reach and well-rooted in international relations theory, for understanding the dynamics of the contemporary state system as the PRC expands its global engagement and challenges the US strategic position."Dr. R. Evan Ellis, the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, USA

    "Hanna Kassab is a prolific young scholar whose already long list of past publications deals with some of the most important challenges facing the world community: corruption, organized crime, drugs, energy, weak states in the international system, and other issues. All of these works provide important insights into extremely important concerns. Weak States and Spheres of Great Power Competition, which builds on much of Kassab’s past research, presents an important, comprehensive and region-by-region, examination of a major issue of the international system – great power competition for influence in weak states."Roger E. Kanet, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at both The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Miami, USA

    "The book exposes the tensions of great power politics in the context of weak states, which lack significant influence but emerge an important factor in the 21st-century global politics. It compellingly draws our attention to events at small places, and their potential to shape great power politics."Debidatta Aurobinda Mahapatra, University of Central Florida, USA

    "Hanna Kassab's book takes into consideration not only the current geopolitical situation that shifted from bipolarity to unipolarity, and then to the current multipolarity, but it also offers its own solution of how to maintain the international system’s balance of power. The author argues that International Relations scholars and analysts should focus on state and non-state actors, since the latter have already become key players in world politics. For this line of reasoning to be taken as an innovative approach, we should remember that structural realists would always focus on major powers to explain the international system’s balance of power. However, with globalization, small states and non-state actors, including terrorist organizations, there have proven to be game changers. And by relating the politics of weak states and violent non-state actors to major powers’ behaviour, this monograph offers a fresh approach to how to explain the current situation with violent conflicts around the globe and how to change the trajectory of war by analysing the significance of small states as well as non-state actors’ foreign policy choices."Lilia Arakelyan, Florida International University, USA and Consultant for the United Nations Development Programme