How great powers rule: order enforcement in international politics
The problem of international order stands at the heart of the study of international relations. Thus far, however, it has been portrayed primarily as a problem of emanating from the interactions among the most powerful states in the international system. Scholars of international relations have paid little attention to another dimension of this problem, that is, how dominant states impose their desired international order on weaker but recalcitrant states. Despite a scholarly consensus that hegemony is exercised primarily through the use of coercion and positive inducements, IR scholars have devoted little attention to how dominant states choose between these influence tools to impose their desired international order upon weak but recalcitrant states. This dissertation addresses this gap in the international relations literature by exploring the determinants of such choices. In doing so, it argues that in contrast to the commonly held view in the field, the interactions between the powerful and weak in the international system cannot simply be understood in terms of coercive capabilities, reputational considerations, or the domestic political costs and benefits facing policymakers of dominant states. Instead, this study argues that the conventional wisdom does not take sufficient account of the role of social conventions, such as norms and identities, in international order enforcement. By way of an examination of three in-depth cases studies drawn from the 19th Century Pax Britannica, and the post-Cold War period of American international dominance, this study shows that social conventions can help determine what constitute legitimate and illegitimate challenges to the established social order and what constitute appropriate responses to such deviations. Ultimately, however, the choice of enforcement strategies is a function of both social conventions and material constraints as the availability of coercive capabilities and domestic political constraints do limit the range of strategies that are available to policymakers seeking to enforce international order.
School:The Ohio State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:international order hegemony
Date of Publication:01/01/2006