Opinion on the inevitability of Great Power rivalries in the international system

Opinion on the inevitability of Great Power rivalries in the international system

I find the article by Christopher Layne, The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers will Rise and it was published by the MIT Press to be quite convincing as it looks at the issue of great power rivalries in the international system from different perspectives, the first one from a unipolar point of view and secondly, from a bipolar point of view.

As we know, America is considered or rather considers itself as the world’s greatest nation. This status seemed to have been acquired after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was seen as a major competitor in the international relations. In this article, Christopher Layne argues that just after the end of the cold war, America stepped up to claim this new position and has been strategizing since then on how to prevent other would be superpowers form attaining such a state. As a matter of fact, the American government is interested in countries that can partner within and support its initiatives. It is indeed true that unipolarity favors the United States and this is one reason why I find this article to be quite convincing. Zeroing on the American foreign policy, it seems to support unipolarity and any nation that advocates for this. Then there is the leaked document by the Pentagon Defense Planning Guidance that clearly showed the interest of the American government in discouraging other nations from overturning the established political order or challenging their authority. The document may seem quite controversial but it sheds light into the minds of the American government as far as international relations are concerned.

Another way to prove this is the way the US has been handling the Iran nuclear deal. Well, all the major countries in the world have been urging the US not to scrap the Iran Nuclear deal. President Trump wants to scrap the deal but all the other world leaders are against this. The simple explanation of this can only be that American wants to advance its policies and is not interested in what others have to say about it. The Iran Nuclear deal is a threat to the US because it may give Iran superiority which President Trump thinks may endanger the position of the US in International relations. Otherwise, why would American not listen to the advice from other countries such as UK, France, and Germany?

I believe that a greater power rivalry will be inevitable in the near future. American attained that position in the international relations because at the time its economy was the best and thus it has resources to deploy the best military equipment and so forth. However, things have now changed and we have China’s economy being the fastest growing in the world. This means that China can easily be able to afford the best military technology and deploy the best military equipment in the past and this may change the game in the world relations. Such will lead to a greater rivalry in the near future as we know that American will not support any country that seems to undermine its authority.


Layne, Christopher. “The unipolar illusion: Why new great powers will rise.” international security 17.4 (1993): 5-51.

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