Why great powers clash and cooperate
    Unveiling dynamic realism

    WORLD  19 June 2024 - 00:11

    The article from Responsible Statecraft discusses Dale Copeland's new book and his theory of "dynamic realism," which provides insights into why great powers engage in conflict and how they might cooperate instead. The piece emphasizes Copeland's perspective that economic factors play a crucial role in shaping geopolitics and international relations.

    Copeland's theory integrates aspects of offensive and defensive realism, acknowledging that states seek to enhance their security and power, but also recognizing the risks of unintended consequences and escalation. According to Copeland, the dynamics of economic interdependence are pivotal: states' economic activities, trade expectations, and access to vital markets influence their foreign policy decisions significantly.

    The article highlights examples from Copeland's research, such as Japan's shift towards war with the United States in 1941 due to economic pressures from the U.S. embargo, and Germany's fears of economic encirclement contributing to both World Wars. These historical cases illustrate how economic considerations can exacerbate tensions and potentially lead to armed conflict.

    Moreover, Copeland explores the role of regime type, interest groups, and psychological factors in shaping state behavior, arguing that while these factors are important, they rarely serve as primary causes of war. Instead, economic imperatives often underpin states' strategic calculations and decisions.

    In terms of policy implications, Copeland suggests that maintaining open trade and diplomatic engagement can foster trust and reduce the likelihood of conflict, particularly between developed democracies. He advises against strategies that could be perceived as economic containment, advocating instead for balanced approaches that signal resolve while avoiding actions that might provoke hostile reactions.

    Overall, Copeland's theory of dynamic realism, as presented in his latest book, provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the complexities of international relations, offering insights into why states choose to fight or cooperate based on economic imperatives and strategic calculations.

    Caliber.Az

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