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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: September 2009

3 - Describing strategic rivalries


The beginnings of new millennia suggest, accurately or otherwise, openings and opportunities for new forms of behavior. We enter the twenty-first century with several recent and dramatic legacies in interstate conflict. The Soviet-American Cold War ended. Russia and China managed to de-escalate their feud at almost the same time and, of course, not coincidentally. Southern Africa fairly quickly changed from a highly conflictual and potentially explosive region to one characterized by unusually pacific interaction. Several components of the conflicts linking Israel and its immediate neighbors have been defused at least temporarily and work continues intermittently on reducing the remaining conflict issues. In South America, the ABC powers seem more interested currently in economic integration than in maintaining their traditional rivalries. Argentina and Britain seem most unlikely to fight again over the Falklands and even Ecuador and Peru have devised a formula for de-escalating their long-running conflict.

At the same time, though, the Indo-Pakistani feud refuses to go away. The United States, China, and Russia often seem on the verge of resuming one or more of their former rivalries. China and Taiwan continue to exchange missiles and declarations of independence. North and South Korea persist in maintaining their hostile divided status. The boundaries of Iraq remain potentially elastic, with a number of implications for its rivals. Turkey and Greece remain at loggerheads, although their hostility may also be waning.

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Strategic Rivalries in World Politics
  • Online ISBN: 9780511491283
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