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2 - Goods Substitution and Counter-Hegemonic Strategies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2021

Morten Skumsrud Andersen
Affiliation:
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Alexander Cooley
Affiliation:
Barnard College, Columbia University
Daniel H. Nexon
Affiliation:
Georgetown University, Washington DC
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Summary

In this chapter, Cooley and Nexon argue that instead of operating with a continuum from “revisionist” to “status quo” powers, we should rather focus on the broader strategic environment in which power political maneuvers take place. This is an international goods ecology, comprising types of goods and their distribution. The key advantage of studying power politics as operating within such an asset ecology is how order itself then becomes something different from polarity or hegemony. This makes it possible to distinguish between challenges to the power position of the hegemon and challenges to the architecture of the international order itself. Cooley and Nexon therefore develop an alternate typology of how international orders are challenged to show how acts of substitution are themselves potentially order transforming. They argue that US-led hegemonic order may be undermined before any overt challenge to the power position of the United States emerges. The main benefit of studying the logic of asset substitution is that it gives us a tool to assess how seemingly unimportant acts of substitution, bit by bit and regardless of a lack of revisionist intent, can shape and transform the international order.

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Information
Undermining American Hegemony
Goods Substitution in World Politics
, pp. 29 - 61
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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