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From Anarchy to Confederacy: A Theory of International Politics
Snyder, Quddus Z.
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This dissertation advances a novel systemic theory of international politics. Today, the most salient feature of the international system is not the presence of multiple opposing great power poles, but rather, an enduring leading power commercial confederacy. The Western order develops out of a US led hegemonic subsystem following World War II and steadily deepens and expands. Chapter 2 of the dissertation argues that this Western order is a great deal more enduring than previously thought, precisely because cohesion rests on the interactive combination of multiple unifying bonds. This order is now a semi-permanent, path-dependent, and remarkably resilient feature of the international political landscape. The commercial confederacy is a leading power configuration that now conditions the behavior, to varying degrees, of every state in the system. Bonding, or commercial and institutional integration, is now the dominant behavior induced by the system. To be competitive, states are led to pursue distinct politico-economic strategies of integration. Chapter 3 develops a novel systemic theory of international politics. Chapter 4 discusses how systemic theory should be tested and outlines a preliminary research program. Chapter 5 is plausibility probe of China's grand-strategic behavior in the reform era. As an outsider, China has responded to the prevailing systemic pressures by pursuing a bonding strategy. That is, China has pursued political and economic strategies of integration.