Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century

Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century

Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century

Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century


The aim of this work is to provide new political ideas for a new century. It outlines the major shifts that are expected in world politics in the 21st century, such as the rise of China and India.


The purpose of this book is to help bridge the gap between the academic and policy communities in world politics. We recognize the magnitude of that task and the modest role we hope to play in the process. We also understand that this may be an exercise that will not be welcomed by some authorities on both sides. There may be those in the academic community who would have preferred that we had devoted this entire volume to the purpose of the first chapter -- codifying and unifying Power Transition theory by integrating its various strands and themes and by adding the conclusions of formal proofs. And there may be those in the policy community who will find the introduction of theoretical terms and tests to be less than useful in an operational setting. In a sense, it is this membrane of ignorance that keeps us apart, diluting the rich intellectual promise of the former and handicapping the strategic thinking of the latter.

Despite these anticipated obstacles, we designed this book with both constituencies in mind. The importance of the practical applications of the theory motivates us to speak to the policy community. The importance of the academic implications of a unified theory motivates us to extend and rectify the various strands of Power Transition research. We ask policy- makers to be patient with the theoretical chapters and theoreticians to be patient with the policy chapters. Scholars will find many of their questions addressed in the more detailed endnotes. Policymakers looking for a set of tools to address critical problems of the twenty-first century may safely pass over many of these academic references without losing the thrust of our argument.

The arguments presented herein are a coherent compilation and extension of the academic tradition of Power Transition theory. The authors represent three intellectual generations of that theory, including A.F.K. Organski, who invented the theory in 1958; Jacek Kugler, who collaborated with Organski in an empirical evaluation of the theory; and Douglas Lemke, who extended it beyond merely great power interactions. Ronald L. Tammen and Allan Stam, also in the Organski lineage, have published articles that apply Power Transition concepts in policy settings. Mark Abdollahian, Carole Alsharabati, and Brian Efird have added formal tests and theoretical extensions to the theory. This book represents the latest, and in some ways the most aggressive, step in a continuing forty-year research project.

Those years have produced a theory unusual among academic products . . .

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