The Return of Great Power Rivalry

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The United States of America has been the most powerful country in the world for over seventy years, but recently the U.S. National Security Strategy declared that the return of great power competition with Russia and China is the greatest threat to U.S. national security. Further, many analysts predict that America's autocratic rivals will have at least some success in disrupting-and, in the longer term, possibly even displacing-U.S. global leadership. Brilliant and engagingly written, The Return of Great Power Rivalry argues that this conventional wisdom is wrong. Drawing on an extraordinary range of historical evidence and the works of figures like Herodotus, Machiavelli, and Montesquieu and combining it with cutting-edge social science research, Matthew Kroenig advances the riveting argument that democracies tend to excel in great power rivalries. He contends that democracies actually have unique economic, diplomatic, and military advantages in long-run geopolitical competitions. He considers autocratic advantages as well, but shows that these are more than outweighed by their vulnerabilities.Kroenig then shows these arguments through the seven most important cases of democratic-versus-autocratic rivalries throughout history, from the ancient world to the Cold War. Finally, he analyzes the new era of great power rivalry among the United States, Russia, and China through the lens of the democratic advantage argument. By advancing a "hard-power" argument for democracy, Kroenig demonstrates that despite its many problems, the U.S. is better positioned to maintain a global leadership role than either Russia or China. A vitally important book for anyone concerned about the future of global geopolitics, The Return of Great Power Rivalry provides both an innovative way of thinking about power in international politics and an optimistic assessment of the future of American global leadership.


Matthew Kroenig is Associate Professor in the Department of Government and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and Deputy Director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He is the author or editor of seven books, including The Logic of American Nuclear Strategy and Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons.


Also by This Author Preface Introduction PART I. Democracy Versus Autocracy Chapter 1. The Democratic Advantage in Theory Chapter 2. The Autocratic Advantage? PART II. The Democratic Advantage in History Chapter 3. The Democratic Advantage by the Numbers Chapter 4. Athens, Sparta, and Persia Chapter 5. The Roman Republic, Carthage, and Macedon Chapter 6. The Venetian Republic and its Rivals Chapter 7. The Dutch Republic and the Spanish Empire Chapter 8. Great Britain and France Chapter 9. The United Kingdom and Germany Chapter 10. The United States and the Soviet Union PART III. The Democratic Advantage Today Chapter 11. The Russian Federation Chapter 12. The People's Republic of China Chapter 13. The United States of America PART IV. The Democratic Advantage in the Future Chapter 14. Implications for American Leadership Bibliography

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The Return of Great Power Rivalry
Democracy versus Autocracy from the Ancient World to the U.S. and China
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Oxford University Press
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