The neoconservatives – One important tradition that realists draw from is power transition theory – these realists argue that at any point in time in the international system, a hegemon is present – in essence, they argue that unipolarity tends to be the status quo. What these realists emphasize is the long cycles in world politics – international history is about the rise and fall of hegemonic powers. When the hegemon is at its height, the system is most stable. Instability emerges when the hegemon is in a period of decline, when it begins to lose power relative to other powerful actors in the system. The other powerful actors then challenge the hegemon for dominance of the system. This leads to war breaking out. Pre-World War I: Britain was the hegemonic power, WWI broke out as a result of rising German power. WWII was the product of the second German challenge to British hegemony (still Britain was in decline during the interwar years). The Cold War and post-Cold War world represent American hegemony. Soviet Union was the challenger
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This note was uploaded on 11/25/2011 for the course POLISCI 1003 taught by Professor Olson during the Fall '11 term at GWU.