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IR Working Paper 2001/4 (PDF, 136KB)
Peter Van Ness, ‘Hegemony, Not Anarchy: Why China and Japan Are Not Balancing US Unipolar Power’, IR Working Paper 2001/04, Canberra: Department of International Relations, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, December 2001.
The United States today dominates the globe and many regional geographical sub-systems in an unprecedented way, maintaining a hegemonic order that is in no way similar to the ‘anarchy’ assumed in realist analyses. The global system today is not simply unipolar; it is a hegemonic system that is increasingly globalised, in which the basic concepts of realism (anarchy, self-help and power-balancing) provide little guidance or understanding in explaining state behaviour. This essay describes the US hegemonic system, analyses the roles of China and Japan within that system, and examines how the Bush administration’s plans for missile defence might transform that system. There are critical implications from this analysis for realist interpretations of international politics.