Power Politics

  • Rob De WijkEmail author
Part of the United Nations University Series on Regionalism book series (UNSR, volume 17)


This chapter explores the consequences of power shifts. The world order will change if the West becomes less powerful relative to other countries. And if hegemonic power is so important for global stability, then a decline in American power must lead to less stability. There is much evidence to support these hypotheses. Global power transitions are accompanied by friction and even by conflicts. Countries that see their position worsening will want to counter this, whereas countries that are rising will not allow their ascent to be thwarted. Moreover, there is a much greater chance of misinterpreting each other’s intentions if not one, or two, but a number of countries are dominant. Misinterpretation of other states’ intentions is a major cause of conflict in international relations. Leaders tend to underestimate the effects of their actions on the leaders of other countries, to endow their convictions with the status of truth and to judge their opponents on moral and ethical grounds.


Power Power shifts Multi polarity Misinterpretation Coercion 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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