Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Political and Legal: Shaper Nations: Strategies for a Changing World/Accommodating Rising Powers: Past, Present, and Future

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Political and Legal: Shaper Nations: Strategies for a Changing World/Accommodating Rising Powers: Past, Present, and Future

Article excerpt

Recent Books: Political and Legal: Shaper Nations: Strategies for a Changing World EDITED BY WILLIAM I. HITCHCOCK, MELVYN P. LEFFLER, AND JEFFREY W. LEGRO. Harvard University Press, 2016, 224 pp.

Accommodating Rising Powers: Past, Present, and Future EDITED BY T. V. PAUL. Cambridge University Press, 2016, 335 pp.

Two recent books offer insights into how the world might change in the coming decades as U.S. hegemony fades and the world becomes increasingly defined by multipolarity. Shaper Nations represents one of the best snapshots yet of this emerging era, focusing on countries whose economic and military capabilities make them increasingly significant in their regions and beyond: Brazil, China, Germany, India, Israel, Russia, Turkey, and the United States. None of the contributors considers any of these states, including China, to be a "revisionist" power, one that seeks to upend the rules and institutions of the existing order. Rather, shaper nations are themselves shaped and constrained by domestic politics, regional rivalries, and historical memories and grievances-a fact that will make world politics increasingly messy and dysfunctional as such countries become more influential. Paradoxically, today's rising states combine greater international influence with profound domestic weaknesses and unsettled national identities. Legro speculates that shaper nations will create a global order that is less global and less orderly: as rising powers focus on their own development and neighborhoods, they will deliver fewer public goods. …

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