Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 July 2021
This chapter illustrates how a potential for goods substitution may foment a strategy of playing the big powers against one another. Client states are using the threat of exit to gain leverage, and to renegotiate deals. There are signs of decline of US hegemony in the North Atlantic, and an increased potential for goods substitution by Russia and China. However, goods substitution has not been initiated by Russia and China offering what the USA or the West have ceased to offer. Rather, alternative goods provision has been sought out from below, by polities with complex post-colonial and hegemonic relationships with a variety of states. These polities are experimenting with new ways of playing the USA, Russia and China against each other. Greenland, Iceland and the Faroes exploit their strategic positions to push great powers to compete in offering a variety of public and private goods. Client states may be using the threat of substitution as strategic leverage, which drive the hegemon to renegotiate. Client leverage will be at the highest when the client can easily switch goods provider, but where the hegemon cannot easily find an alternative client.