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Revising order or challenging the balance of military power? An alternative typology of revisionist and status-quo states

  • Alexander Cooley (a1), Daniel Nexon (a2) and Steven Ward (a3)


Unimensional accounts of revisionism – those that align states along a single continuum from supporting the status quo to seeking a complete overhaul of the international system – miss important variation between a desire to alter the balance of military power and a desire to alter other elements of international order. We propose a two-dimensional property space that generates four ideal types: status-quo actors, who are satisfied with both order and the distribution of power; reformist actors, who are fine with the current distribution of power but seek to change elements of order; positionalist actors, who see no reason to alter the international order but do aim to shift the distribution of power; and revolutionary actors, who want to overturn both international order and the distribution of capabilities. This framework helps make sense of a number of important debates about hegemony and international order, such as the possibility of revisionist hegemonic powers, controversies over the concept of ‘soft balancing’, and broader dynamics of international goods substitution during power transitions.


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1 See Hurd, Ian, ‘Breaking and making norms: American revisionism and crises of legitimacy’, International Politics, 44:2 (2007), pp. 194213; Izumikawa, Yasuhiro, ‘Strategic innovation or strategic nonsense? Assessing the Bush administration's national security strategy’, Japanese Journal of American Studies, 15 (2004), pp. 257–72; McKeown, Ryder, ‘Norm regress: US revisionism and the slow death of the torture norm’, International Relations, 23:1 (2009), pp. 525; Yordán, Carlos L., ‘America's quest for global hegemony: Offensive realism, the Bush doctrine, and the 2003 Iraq War’, Theoria, 53:110 (2006), pp. 125–57.

2 Ikenberry, G. John, ‘America's imperial ambition’, Foreign Affairs, 81:5 (2002), p. 60.

3 Ikenberry, G. John, ‘The plot against American foreign policy’, Foreign Affairs, 96:3 (2017), pp. 29; Stokes, Doug, ‘Trump, American hegemony and the future of the liberal international order’, International Affairs, 94:1 (2018), p. 133.

4 Kori Schake, ‘The Trump Doctrine Is Winning and the World Is Losing’, available at: {} accessed 12 December 2018; see also Lissner, Rebecca Friedman and Rapp-Hooper, Mira, ‘The day after Trump: American strategy for a new international order’, The Washington Quarterly, 41:1 (2018), p. 18.

5 Johnston, Alastair Iain, ‘Is China a status quo power?’, International Security, 27:4 (2003), pp. 556; Zhang, Baohui, China's Assertive Nuclear Posture: State Security in an Anarchic International Order (London: Routledge, 2015), p. 153.

6 Ikenberry, G. John, Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2011), p. 12.

7 For critical overviews of conventional treatments of revisionism, see Ward, Steven, ‘Race, status, and Japanese revisionism in the early 1930s’, Security Studies, 22:4 (2013), pp. 608–09; see also Steven Ward, ‘Status Immobility and Systemic Revisionism in Rising Great Powers’ (PhD dissertation, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, 2012); Ward, Steven, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

8 Johnston, ‘Is China a status quo power?’, pp. 10–11; compare Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers, pp. 1–2, 11–21. Following conventional usage, we use terms such as ‘balance of power’ and ‘distribution of capabilities’ interchangeably to refer to the distribution of military capabilities in the international system. Of course, power is much more than military capabilities; even scholars who use the term ‘balance of power’ often refer to some combination of military capabilities and economic resources that could be converted into military power. But we follow the literature, and thus specify when we mean something different. On the problems with this conventional usage, see, for example, Baldwin, David A., Paradoxes of Power (Cambridge: Basil Blackwell, 1989); Goddard, Stacie E. and Nexon, Daniel H., ‘The dynamics of global power politics: a framework for analysis’, Journal of Global Security Studies, 1:1 (2016), pp. 418; Guzzini, Stefano, ‘Structural power: the limits of neorealist power analysis’, International Organization, 47:3 (1993), pp. 443–78.

9 While we will generally refer to ‘states’, we use ‘actors’ here to highlight that this typology should provide purchase not only on states and other polities, but also on non-state actors of various kinds. On non-state actors and security studies, see Adamson, Fiona B., ‘Globalization, transnational political mobilization, and networks of violence’, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 18:1 (2005), pp. 2149; Adamson, Fiona B., ‘Spaces of global security: Beyond methodological nationalism’, Journal of Global Security Studies, 1:1 (2016), pp. 1935; Krahmann, Elke, ‘From state to non-state actors: the emergence of security governance’, in Krhamann, Elke (ed.), New Threats and New Actors in International Security (New York, NY: Springer, 2005), pp. 319.

10 See, for example, Larson, Deborah Welch, ‘New perspectives on rising powers and global governance: Status and clubs’, International Studies Review, 20:2 (2018), pp. 247–54; Lemke, Douglas and Werner, Suzanne, ‘Power parity, commitment to change, and war’, International Studies Quarterly, 40:2 (1996), pp. 235–60; Paul, T. V. (ed.), Accommodating Rising Powers: Past, Present, and Future (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016); Walt, Stephen M., ‘Alliances in a unipolar world’, World Politics, 61:1 (2009), pp. 86120.

11 See G. John Ikenberry and Daniel H. Nexon, ‘Hegemony studies 3.0: Hegemonic-order theory’, Security Studies (forthcoming, 2019); Mattern, Janice Bially and Zarakol, Ayşe, ‘Hierarchies in world politics’, International Organization, 70:3 (2016), pp. 623–54; Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers.

12 For a comprehensive survey of prominent treatments of revisionism, see Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers, ch. 1. We use ‘hegemonic order theory’ as a covering term for power transition, hegemonic stability, and other theories that share the characteristics elaborated here and in Ikenberry and Nexon (‘Hegemony studies 3.0’); See also Hammond, Paul Y., LBJ and the Presidential Management of Foreign Relations (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1992), p. 222; Nexon, Daniel H. and Wright, Thomas, ‘What's at stake in the American empire debate’, American Political Science Review, 101:2 (2007), p. 8.

13 Nexon, Daniel H. and Neumann, Iver B., ‘Hegemonic-order theory: a field-theoretic account’, European Journal of International Relations, 24:3 (2018), p. 3.

14 Bussmann, Margit and Oneal, John R., ‘Do hegemons distribute private goods?: A test of power-transition theory’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 51:1 (2007), pp. 88111; DiCicco, Jonathan M. and Levy, Jack S., ‘Power shift and problem shifts: the evolution of the power transition research program’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 43:6 (1999), pp. 675704; Gilpin, Robert, War and Change in World Politics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Gowa, Joanne, ‘Rational hegemons, excludable goods, and small groups: an epitaph for hegemonic stability theory?’, World Politics, 41:3 (1989), pp. 307–24; Grunberg, Isabelle, ‘Exploring the “myth” of hegemonic stability’, International Organization, 44:4 (1990), pp. 431–77; Ikenberry, Liberal Leviathan; Lake, David A., ‘Leadership, hegemony, and the international economy: Naked emperor or tattered monarch?’, International Studies Quarterly, 37:4 (1993), pp. 459–89; Lemke, and Werner, , ‘Power parity’; Organski, A. F. K. and Kugler, Jacek, The War Ledger (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Snidal, Duncan, ‘The limits of hegemonic stability theory’, International Organization, 39:4 (1985), pp. 579614; Webb, Michael C. and Krasner, Stephen D., ‘Hegemonic stability theory: an empirical assessment’, Review of International Studies, 15:2 (1989), pp. 183–98.

15 For an overview of neoclassical realist approaches, see Ripsman, Norrin M., Taliaferro, Jeffrey W., and Lobell, Steven E. (eds), Neoclassical Realist Theory of International Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

16 Davidson, Jason W., ‘The roots of revisionism: Fascist Italy, 1922–39’, Security Studies, 11:4 (2002), pp. 125–59; Davidson, Jason W., The Origins of Revisionist and Status-Quo States (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2006); Jesse, Neal, Lobell, Steven, Press-Barnathan, Galia, and Williams, Kristen, ‘The leader can't lead when the followers won't follow: the limitations of hegemony’, in Williams, Kristen, Lobell, Steven, and Jesse, Neal (eds), Beyond Great Powers and Hegemons: Why Secondary States Support, Follow, or Challenge (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2012), pp. 132; Rose, Gideon, ‘Neoclassical realism and theories of foreign policy’, World Politics, 51:1 (1998), pp. 144–72; Rynning, Sten and Ringsmose, Jens, ‘Why are revisionist states revisionist? Reviving classical realism as an approach to understanding international change’, International Politics, 45:1 (2008), pp. 1939; Schweller, Randall L., Unanswered Threats: Political Constraints on the Balance of Power (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006).

17 Schweller, Randall L., ‘Bandwagoning for profit: Bringing the revisionist state back in’, International Security, 19:1 (1994), p. 88.

18 Schweller, ‘Bandwagoning for profit’, p. 100.

19 Davidson, The Origins of Revisionist and Status-Quo States; Monteiro, Nuno P., ‘Unrest assured: Why unipolarity is not peaceful’, International Security, 36:3 (2011), p. 14. This arguably misreads some early writings on revisionism, which focus on strategies and see affecting the balance of power as a means of altering or conserving the distribution of goods. However, hegemonic-order theories, especially when conjoined to debates about unipolarity, tend to reflect this more expansive list.

20 Schmidt, Brian C. and Williams, Michael C., ‘The Bush doctrine and the Iraq War: Neoconservatives versus realists’, Security Studies, 17:2 (2008), p. 198.

21 Zhang, China's Assertive Nuclear Posture, p. 153.

22 Johnston, ‘Is China a status quo power?’, p. 9.

23 Goddard, Stacie E., ‘Embedded revisionism: Networks, institutions, and challenges to world order’, International Organization, 72:4 (2018), pp. 763–97; Ward, ‘Status Immobility’; Ward, ‘Race, status, and Japanese revisionism’; Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers.

24 Ward, ‘Race, status, and Japanese revisionism’.

25 Barnett, Michael and Duvall, Raymond, ‘Power in international politics’, International Organization, 59:1 (2005), p. 43.

26 Gilpin, War and Change in World Politics, pp. 28–34.

27 Alexander D. Barder, ‘International hierarchy’, Oxford Research Encyclopedia of International Studies (2015).

28 Johnston, ‘Is China a status quo power?’, pp. 10–11.

29 Monteiro, ‘Unrest assured’, p. 14.

30 Clark, Ian, ‘Bringing hegemony back in: the United States and international order’, International Affairs, 85:1 (2009), pp. 2336; Goddard, ‘Embedded revisionism’; Kupchan, Charles A., ‘The normative foundations of hegemony and the coming challenge to Pax Americana’, Security Studies, 23:2 (2014), pp. 219–57; Norrlof, Carla, America's Global Advantage: US Hegemony and International Cooperation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Ruggie, John Gerard, ‘International regimes, transactions, and change: Embedded liberalism in the postwar economic order’, International Organization, 36:2 (1982), pp. 379415; Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers.

31 Clark, ‘Bringing hegemony back in’, pp. 27–34; Go, Julian, Patterns of Empire: The British and American Empires, 1688 to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

32 Musgrave, Paul and Nexon, Daniel, ‘Defending hierarchy from the moon to the Indian Ocean: Symbolic capital and political dominance in early modern China and the Cold War’, International Organization, 72:3 (2018), p. 6; See also Bukovansky, Mlada, Legitimacy and Power Politics: The American and French Revolutions in International Political Culture (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002); Koivisto, Marjo and Dunne, Tim, ‘Crisis, what crisis? Liberal order building and world order conventions’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 38:3 (2009), pp. 615–40; Mitzen, Jennifer, ‘Reading Habermas in anarchy: Multilateral diplomacy and global public spheres’, American Political Science Review, 99:3 (2005), pp. 401–17; Clark (‘Bringing hegemony back in’), describes many of these examples as different varieties of hegemony.

33 This entails a focus on realist and rationalist approaches, which, as we have seen, treat place capabilities at the centre of their analysis.

34 Which is why Goddard, ‘Embedded revisionism’; and Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers put all these elements in a single basket.

35 Compare Krahmann, Elke, ‘Security: Collective good or commodity?’, European Journal of International Relations, 14:3 (2008), pp. 379404; Sandler, Todd and Hartley, Keith, ‘Economics of alliances: the lessons for collective action’, Journal of Economic Literature, 39:3 (2001), pp. 869–96.

36 Adler-Nissen, Rebecca, ‘Stigma management in international relations: Transgressive identities, norms, and order in international society’, International Organization, 68:1 (2014), pp. 143–76; Adler-Nissen, Rebecca and Pouliot, Vincent, ‘Power in practice: Negotiating the international intervention in Libya’, European Journal of International Relations, 20:4 (2014), pp. 889911; Berling, Trine Villumsen, ‘Bourdieu, international relations, and international security’, Theory and Society, 41 (2012), pp. 451–78; Bigo, Didier, ‘Pierre Bourdieu and International Relations: Power of practices, practices of power’, International Political Sociology, 5:3 (2012), pp. 225–58; McCourt, David M., ‘Practice theory and relationalism as the new constructivism’, International Studies Quarterly, 60:3 (2016), pp. 475–85; Musgrave and Nexon, ‘Defending hierarchy from the moon to the Indian Ocean’; Nexon and Neumann, ‘Hegemonic-order theory’; Pouponneau, Florent and Mérand, Frédéric, ‘Diplomatic practices, domestic fields, and the international system: Explaining France's shift on nuclear nonproliferation’, International Studies Quarterly, 61:1 (2017), pp. 123–35.

37 At the risk of repetition, we aggregate these for the purposes of developing a simple typology. Actors can be ‘reformist’ or ‘positionalist’ with respect to more specific goods or, alternatively, capital.

38 Our language here is similar to Buzan, Barry, ‘China in international society: Is “peaceful rise” possible?’, The Chinese Journal of International Politics, 3:1 (2010), pp. 1718. He uses terms like ‘revolutionary’ and ‘reformist’ to signal increasing levels of dissatisfaction with international society.

39 Jackson, Patrick Thaddeus and Nexon, Daniel H., ‘Paradigmatic faults in International-Relations theory’, International Studies Quarterly, 53:4 (2009), p. 921; See also Jackson, Patrick Thaddeus, The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of Science and its Implications for the Study of World Politics (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 142–55.

40 Kissinger, Henry, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh, and the Problems of Peace, 1812–22 (Pickle Partners Publishing, 2017), p. 2.

41 Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers, ch. 1.

42 Ward, ‘Race, status, and Japanese revisionism’, pp. 608–09.

43 Ward uses the term ‘maximal’ revisionism as a synonym for radical revisionism. See Ward, ‘Race, status, and Japanese revisionism’.

44 For an example of a revolutionary non-state actor, al-Qaeda in the 2000s, see Philpott, Daniel, ‘Usurping the sovereignty of sovereignty?’, World Politics, 53 (2001), pp. 297324.

45 Ward, ‘Race, status, and Japanese revisionism’; Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers, ch. 2.

46 Wolfers, Arnold, Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1965), pp. 1819, 96, and 126.

47 See, for example, Larson, Deborah Welch and Shevchenko, Alexei, ‘Status seekers: Chinese and Russian responses to U.S. primacy’, International Security, 34:4 (2010), pp. 6395; Neumann, Iver and Pouliot, Vincent, ‘Untimely Russia: Hysteresis in Russian-Western relations over the past millennium’, Security Studies, 20:1 (2011), pp. 105–37.

48 See Evan A. Feigenbaum, ‘Reluctant Stakeholder: Why China's Highly Strategic Brand of Revisionism is More Challenging Than Washington Thinks’, available at: {} accessed 23 May 2018. For an influential application of power-transition theory to Sino-US relations, see Allison, Graham, Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? (Dublin: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017).

49 Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers, ch. 1.

50 Grieco, Joseph, ‘Anarchy and the limits of cooperation: a realist critique of the newest liberal institutionalism’, in Baldwin, David A. (ed.), Neorealism and Neoliberalism: The Contemporary Debate (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), pp. 116–42.

51 Peou, Sorpong, ‘Realism and constructivism in Southeast Asian security studies today: a review essay’, The Pacific Review, 15:1 (2002), p. 120; Frank Schimmelfennig, ‘NATO's Enlargement to the East: An Analysis of Collective Decision-making’, EAPC-NATO Individual Fellowship Report, 2000 (1998), pp. 6–7; see also Lynn-Jones, Sean M., ‘Offense-defense theory and its critics’, Security Studies, 4:4 (1995), pp. 660–91.

52 Schweller, Randall L. and Pu, Xiaoyu, ‘After unipolarity: China's visions of international order in an era of U.S. decline’, International Security, 36:1 (2011), pp. 45, 55.

53 Howard, Michael, The Invention of Peace: Reflections on War and International Order (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), pp. 12, 15.

54 Fazal, Tanisha M., State Death: The Politics and Geography of Conquest, Occupation, and Annexation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011).

55 Chapman, Terrence L., McDonald, Patrick J., and Moser, Scott, ‘The domestic politics of strategic retrenchment, power shifts, and preventive war’, International Studies Quarterly, 59:1 (2015), pp. 133–44; Owen, John M., The Clash of Ideas in World Politics: Transnational Networks, States, and Regime Change, 1510–2010 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012); Philpott, ‘Usurping the sovereignty of sovereignty?’.

56 Gunitsky, Seva, Aftershocks: Great Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017).

57 Trump's articulation of ‘America First’ foreign policy is not only more reformist – questioning the basic underpinnings of the American-led security and economic order – but in ways that might negatively implicate the distribution of capabilities from the perspective of, say, America's European allies. But the implications of this, let alone the diagnoses itself, remains provisional.

58 Steven Ward, ‘Logics of stratified identity management in world politics’, International Theory (forthcoming), pp. 46–9.

59 Schweller, ‘Bandwagoning for profit’.

60 Brooks, Stephen G. and Wohlforth, William C., ‘Hard times for soft balancing’, International Security, 30:1 (2005), pp. 72108; Kelley, Judith, ‘Strategic non-cooperation as soft balancing: Why Iraq was not just about Iraq’, International Politics, 42:2 (2005), pp. 153–73; Pape, Robert A., ‘Soft balancing against the United States’, International Security, 30:1 (2005), pp. 745; Paul, T. V., Wirtz, James J., and Fortman, Michel (eds), Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004); Whitaker, Beth Elise, ‘Soft balancing among weak states? Evidence from Africa’, International Affairs, 86:5 (2010), pp. 1109–27.

61 Pape, ‘Soft balancing against the United States’, pp. 9–10.

62 Paul, T. V., ‘Soft balancing in the age of U.S. primacy’, International Security, 30:1 (2005), pp. 47, 59.

63 See He, Kai, ‘Institutional balancing and International Relations theory: Economic interdependence and balance of power strategies in Southeast Asia’, European Journal of International Relations, 13:3 (2008), pp. 489518.

64 Paul, T. V., ‘Introduction: the enduring axioms of balance of power theory and their contemporary relevance’, in Paul, T. V., Wirtz, James J., and Fortman, Michel (eds), Balance of Power: Theory and Practice in the 21st Century (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004), p. 3.

65 Wohlforth, William C., Kaufman, Stuart J., and Little, Richard, ‘Introduction: Balance and hierarchy in international systems’, in Kauffman, Stuart, Little, Richard, and Wohlforth, William (eds), The Balance of Power in World History (New York: Palgrave, 2007), p. 3.

66 Lieber, Keir A. and Alexander, Gerard, ‘Waiting for balancing: Why the world is not pushing back’, International Security, 30:1 (2005), p. 110.

67 Nexon, Daniel H., ‘The balance of power in the balance’, World Politics, 61:2 (2009), p. 343. Indeed, some of the activities that potentially fall under the rubric of ‘soft balancing’ basically amount to half-baked military balancing. See Nexon, ibid., p. 344.

68 Non-military instruments may prove more attractive in unipolar systems than bipolar or multipolar ones, but that's an empirical question.

69 Paul, ‘Soft balancing in the age of U.S. primacy’, pp. 59. 64–70.

70 Kelley, ‘Strategic non-cooperation as soft balancing’, p. 167.

71 Walt, ‘Alliances in a unipolar world’, pp. 101, 103–04.

72 Brooks, Stephen G. and Wohlforth, William C., ‘International Relations theory and the case against unilateralism’, Perspectives on Politics, 3:3 (2005), pp. 509–24.

73 Tessman, Brock and Wolfe, Wojtek, ‘Great powers and strategic hedging: the case of Chinese Energy Security Strategy’, International Studies Review, 13:2 (2011), p. 218.

74 Goddard and Nexon, ‘The dynamics of global power politics’, pp. 7–9; see also Crawford, Timothy W., ‘Preventing enemy coalitions: How wedge strategies shape power politics’, International Security, 35:4 (2011), pp. 155–89; Goddard, Stacie E., ‘When right makes might: How Prussia overturned the European balance of power’, International Security, 33:3 (2008), pp. 110–42; Goddard, Stacie E., When Right Makes Might: Rising Powers and World Order (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018); Izumikawa, Yasuhiro, ‘Binding strategies in alliance politics: the Soviet-Japanese-US diplomatic tug of war in the mid-1950s’, International Studies Quarterly, 62:1 (2018), pp. 108–20.

75 As we noted earlier, ‘balance of power’ (the distribution of military capital) is actually a subset of international order. We return to this in the conclusion.

76 Tessman and Wolfe, ‘Great powers and strategic hedging’, pp. 219–20.

77 Ibid., p. 220.

78 Even when they do not combine these strategies, they implicitly or explicitly weigh them against one another.

79 Nexon, ‘The balance of power in the balance’, p. 346

80 See also Izumikawa, ‘Binding strategies in alliance politics’.

81 Buzan, Barry, People, States, and Fear, 2nd edn (Colchester, UK: European Consortium For Political Research Press, 2008), pp. 90, 163; Park, Jae Jeok, ‘The US-led alliances in the Asia-Pacific: Hedge against potential threats or an undesirable multilateral security order?’, The Pacific Review, 24:2 (2011), pp. 137–58.

82 Goods vary in terms of whether they are, on the one hand, rivalrous or non-rivalrous or, on the other hand, excludible or non-excludible. These combine, in ideal-typical terms, to produce private goods (rival and excludable), such as ‘cars, clothes, food’; club goods (non-rival and excludable), such as ‘cable television’; public goods (non-rival and non-excludable), such as ‘air, public parks, national defence’; and common goods (rival and non-excludable), such as ‘water, fisheries’. Engerer, Hella, ‘Security as a public, private or club good: Some fundamental considerations’, Defence and Peace Economics, 22:2 (2011), pp. 136–7.

83 Davidson, The Origins of Revisionist and Status-Quo States, p. 14. Work on alliances and the joint-production of security goods points to how the intentional provision of a good may shift the overall security ecology. Mutually Assured Destruction forms of nuclear deterrence, for example, created ‘public benefits’ for the NATO and therefore encouraged free riding across security contributions. Sandler and Hartley, ‘Economics of alliances’, p. 879. But, more generally, NATO's overall production of security to its members – as a club good – impacts the security landscape in the region. Moscow appears to perceive it as diminishing the quality of its own security, despite protestations that NATO expansion enhances Russian security by eliminating the pernicious effects of a ‘power vacuum’ in Eastern and Central Europe. A similar disagreement persists with respect to the effects of American security provision in East Asia. Along related lines, Krebs argues that NATO's provision of security to Greece and Turkey against the Soviet Union altered their security ecologies in ways that exacerbated their rivalry. Krebs, Ronald R., ‘Perverse institutionalism: NATO and the Greco-Turkish conflict’, International Organization, 53:2 (1999), pp. 343–77.

84 This is consistent with Ward's (Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers, ch. 1) treatment of institutions, rules, and norms as functioning in part to constitute and naturalise the distribution of goods..

85 Koga, Kei, ‘The concept of “hedging” revisited: the case of Japan's foreign policy strategy in East Asia's power shift’, International Studies Review, 20:4 (2017), p. 7; Larson, ‘New perspectives on rising powers and global governance’, pp. 2–3.

86 Gunitsky, Aftershocks.

87 Tessman and Wolfe, ‘Great powers and strategic hedging’, pp. 220–1.

88 Compare Cornes, Richard and Sandler, Todd, The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Club Goods (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996); Kim, Tongfi, The Supply Side of Security: A Market Theory of Military Alliances | Tongfi Kim (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016); Park, ‘The US-led alliances in the Asia-Pacific’.

89 Moisés Naim, ‘Rogue aid’, Foreign Policy, March/April (2007).

90 Bader, Julia, ‘China, autocratic patron? An empirical investigation of China as a factor in autocratic survival’, International Studies Quarterly, 59:1 (2015), pp. 2333.

91 Woods, Ngaire, ‘Whose aid? Whose influence? China, emerging donors and the silent revolution in development assistance’, International Affairs, 84:6 (2008), pp. 1205–21.

92 These examples raise threshold questions. We would not normally think of a state seeking, for example, more international aid donors as necessarily trying to alter international order, even though it is seeking to alter the distribution of a set of goods. But we do tend to scrutinise the formation of new development institutions – such as the AIIB as potentially revisionist. This was certainly the view of the Obama administration when it pressured allies not to join the AIIB. See Mathias Sobolewski and Jason Lange, ‘US urges allies to think twice before joining China-led bank’, Reuters (2015). And, as noted above, many worry that Chinese development assistance and trade are hollowing out liberal international order, regardless of whether or not Beijing also intends to alter the global balance of power through these efforts. These threshold questions pose less of an immediate problem when we remind ourselves that no power-political manoeuvre will ever be purely status quo or revisionist in orientation; and those that fall toward the middle of the spectrum will tend to be indifferent, mixed, or ambivalent with respect to continuity and change. For explorations of these dynamics under various labels, see Alter, Karen J. and Meunier, Sophie, ‘The politics of international regime complexity’, Perspectives on Politics, 7:1 (2009), pp. 1324; Cooley, Alexander, Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Cooley, Alexander and Nexon, Daniel, ‘“The empire will compensate you”: the structural dynamics of the U.S. overseas basing network’, Perspectives on Politics, 11:4 (2013), pp. 1034–50; Flores-Macias, Gustavo A. and Kreps, Sarah E., ‘The foreign policy consequences of trade: China's commercial relations with Africa and Latin America, 1992–2006’, The Journal of Politics, 75:2 (2013), pp. 357–71; Kastner, Scott L., ‘Buying influence? Assessing the political effects of China's international trade’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 60:6 (2014), pp. 9801007; Kurlantzick, Joshua, Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power Is Transforming the World (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007); Larson, ‘New perspectives on rising powers and global governance’; Orsini, Amandine, Morin, Jean-Frédéric, and Young, Oran, ‘Regime complexes: a buzz, a boom, or a boost for global governance?’, Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, 19:1 (2013), pp. 2739.

93 See Larson, ‘New perspectives on rising powers and global governance’; Ward, Status and the Challenge of Rising Powers.

94 Compare Acharya, Amitav, ‘The emerging regional architecture of world politics’, World Politics, 59:4 (2007), pp. 629–52; Adler, Emanuel and Greve, Patricia, ‘When security community meets balance of power: Overlapping regional mechanisms of security governance’, Review of International Studies, 35:S1 (2009), pp. 5984; Mattern and Zarakol, ‘Hierarchies in world politics’; Norrlof, America's Global Advantage; Norrlof, Carla, ‘Dollar hegemony: a power analysis’, Review of International Political Economy, 21:5 (2014), pp. 1042–70.

95 Adler-Nissen, Rebecca (ed.), Bourdieu in International Relations: Rethinking Key Concepts in IR (New York: Routledge, 2012); Bigo, America's Global Advantage; Go, Julian, ‘Global fields and imperial forms: Field theory and the British and American empires’, Sociological Theory, 26:3 (2008), pp. 201–27; Go, Julian and Krause, Monika, ‘Fielding transnationalism: an introduction’, The Sociological Review, 64:2, suppl. (2016), pp. 630; Nexon and Neumann, ‘Hegemonic-order theory’; Pouliot, Vincent, International Pecking Orders: The Politics and Practice of Multilateral Diplomacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).



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