Hegemony, liberalism and global order: what space for would-be great powers?



    1. Director of the Centre for International Studies at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. He is the editor of Order and justice in International Relations (with Rosemary Foot and John L. Gaddis, 2003) and Inequality, globalization and world politics (with Ngaire Woods, 1999), and author of The United States and Brazil: a long road of unmet expectations (with Mônica Hirst, 2005). He is currently completing a book on International society and world order.
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      This introduction and the articles on Russia, China and India that follow were originally presented at a conference on ‘Hegemony, order and emerging powers’ at the University of Brasilia in April 2005. I would like to thank those present for their comments and the Centre for Brazilian Studies and the Centre for International Studies in Oxford, as well as the University of Brasilia, for their support of this project.


This article, and the four that follow, consider some of the ways in which China, Russia, India and Brazil have responded both to US hegemony and to the changing character of international society. This article sets out some of the major analytical questions that emerge when thinking about the foreign policy options of these countries and some of the principal conceptual and theoretical categories within which those questions may be usefully framed. The first section examines the reasons for taking these countries as a group. The second section provides a brief overview of two of the most common theoretical perspectives from which the systemic pressures on these countries have been understood. The third considers their actual and potential strategies and options under five headings: their status as regional powers; their behaviour within and towards international institutions; their relations with the United States; collaboration among them and evidence for the possible emergence of balancing behaviour; and the links between economic development and foreign policy.