Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security

By Barry Buzan; Ole Wæver | Go to book overview
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14
Regions and powers: summing up
and looking ahead

Introduction: the structure of
international security
In part I we differentiated global from regional level security dynamics, arguing that the best understanding of the structure of global security could be achieved by treating these levels as distinct, and seeing how they played into each other. Within the global level we established a distinction between superpowers and great powers, differentiating both from regional powers. On the basis of this scheme we then unfolded a story whose broad outlines were as follows:
During the interwar period there was a 3 + 3 global power structure, with Britain, the USA, and the Soviet Union as superpowers, and Germany, Japan, and France as great powers. Africa, the Middle East, and most of Asia remained overlaid by the control of colonial powers, and RSCs were visible only in North and South America, Europe, and Northeast Asia–a total of four.
During the Cold War/decolonisation period there was a 2 + 3 global power structure, with the USA and the Soviet Union as superpowers, and China, Japan, and the EU becoming great powers, albeit with the EU leaving room for questions about the standing of Britain, France, and Germany as independent players, perhaps only of regional status when taken individually. This period saw many new RSCs form (though the longstanding one in Europe disappeared under overlay) giving the following totals: three in Africa (counting the pre-and proto-complexes), three in Asia, one in South America, one in

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Regions and Powers: The Structure of International Security
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