The Modern World Order: Structural Realities and Great Power Rivalries

The Modern World Order:
Structural Realities and Great Power Rivalries

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2021.03.05

For citation:

Safranchuk I.A., Lukyanov F.A. The Modern World Order: Structural Realities and Great Power Rivalries. – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No. 3. P. 57-76. (In Russ.).

In the part of the article prepared by I.A. Safranchuk, the work was financially supported by MGIMO University, project No. 1921-01-04.


The article suggests that the contemporary mode of interactions between leading global and regional actors is not transitional, but sustainable, thus constituting the world order for the near future. Providing a theoretical context, the article claims that over the last thirty years neoliberal and neorealist schools of thought have prevailingly focused on verifying their pre-established explanatory models with post-Cold War examples, rather than studying these realities as such. This article is based on the assumption that tremendous developments have occurred in this period. The new set of global and regional actors can be taken for the new, multipolar hardware of the global system; its software is shaped by new structural realities, within which actors operate. These are conceptualized as the mismatch between material globalization and the decline of ideational universalism: the latter determines conflict while the former limits escalation. The article outlines the mode of competition within these structural realities, i.e., indirect coercion. This mode makes neoliberal institutional world order unfeasible; however, within this mode it also becomes virtually impossible to strike a balance of power as is so central to the neorealist theory. Within the terms of the game theory, interactions between leading actors fit neither win/win nor win/lose scenarios. The article conceptualizes great power interactions as lose/not-lose competition and not-lose/not-lose collaboration. 

world order, cooperation, competition, globalization, international relations.

Дополнительные материалы
 Full Text   


Acemoglu D., Robinson J. 2012. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Crown Business. New York: Crown Publishers. 544 p.

Allison G. 2015. The Thucydides Trap: Are the US and China Headed for War? – The Atlantic. URL: (accessed 14.02.2021).

Barber B. 2004. Fear’s Empire: War, Terrorism, and Democracy. New York, London: W.W. Norton & Company. 220 p.

Bhagwati J. 2004. In Defense of Globalization: With a New Afterword. New York: Oxford University Press. 345 p.

Carothers T. 2002. The End of the Transition Paradigm. – Journal of Democracy. Vol. 13. No. 1. P. 5-21.

Chanda N. 2008. Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization. New Delhi: Penguin Viking. P. 391.

Cooper R.N. 1968. The Economics of Interdependence: Economic Policy in the Atlantic Community. New York: Columbia University Press. 296 p.

Denisov I., Kazantsev A., Lukyanov F., Safranchuk I. 2019. Shifting Strategic Focus of BRICS and Great Power Competition. – Strategic Analysis. Vol. 43. No. 6. P. 487-498.

Derrida J. 2005. Rogues: Two Essays on Reason. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Drucker P.F. 1999. Management Challenges for the 21st Century. New York: Harper Business. 198 p.

Ferguson N. 2005. Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire. London: Penguin Books. 416 p.

Fukuyama F. 1989. The End of History? – The National Interest. Vol. 16. P. 3-18.

Graham T. 2020. China – Russia – US Relations and Strategic Triangles. – Polis. Political Studies. Vol. 6. No. 6. P. 62-72.

Harvey R. 2003. Global Disorder: America and the Threat of World Conflict. London: Constable. 352 p.

Higgott R., Cooper A. 1990. Middle Power Leadership and Coalition-Building in the Global Political Economy: A Case Study of the Cairns Group and the Uruguay Round. – International Organisation. Vol. 44. No. 4. P. 589-632.

Hindle G.F., Schmid A.P. 2009. After the War on Terror: Regional and Multilateral Perspectives on Counter-Terrorism Strategy. London: RUSI Books 151 p.

Holbraad C. 1984. Middle Powers in International Politics. London: Springer. 244 p.

Huntington S.P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 384 p.

Ikenberry G.J. 2001. American Power and the Empire of Capitalist Democracy. – Review of International Studies. Vol. 27. No. 5. P. 191-212.

Ikenberry G.J. 2018. The End of Liberal International Order? – International Affairs. Vol. 94. No. 1. P. 7-23.

Ikenberry G.J., Rotberg R.I. 2004. When States Fail: Causes and Consequences. – Foreign Affairs. Vol. 83. No. 3. P. 137.

Kennedy P. 1988. The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000. London: Hyman. 677 p.

Keohane R., Nye J. 1977. Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition. New York: Little, Brown, and Company. 300 p.

Keohane R.O. 1984. After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press. 307 p.

Keohane R.O. 2012. Twenty Years of Institutional Liberalism. – International Relations. Vol. 26. No.2. P. 125-138.

Krauthammer C. 1990. The Unipolar Moment. – Foreign Affairs. Vol. 70. No. 1. P. 23-33.

Lake A. 1994. Confronting Backlash States. – Foreign Affairs. Vol. 73. No. 2. P. 45-46.

Lash S. 2002. Critique of the Information. London: SAGE. 234 p.

Lewis B. 2002. What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response. New York: Oxford University Press. 189 p.

Lipset S.M. 1960. Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics. New York: Doubleday & Company. 477 p.

Lukin A. 1999. What Went Wrong in Russia? Forcing the Pace of Democratization. – Journal of Democracy. Vol. 1. No. 2. P. 35-40.

Mann M. 2003. Incoherent Empire. London: Verso. 284 p.

Mearsheimer J. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 592 p.

Mearsheimer J. 2018. Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities. London and New Haven: Yale University Press.

Mearsheimer J. 2019. Bound to Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Liberal International Order. – International Security. Vol. 43. No. 4. P. 7-50.

Melville A.Yu. 2000. Post-Communist Russia as a Challenge to Transition Theories. – Handbook of Global Political Policy. Ed. by S. Nagel. NY, Basel: Routledge. P. 461-487.

Naumkin V.V. 2005. Radical Islam in Central Asia: between pen and rifle. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. 283 p.

Naumkin V. 2018. Syrian Surprises. – Russia in Global Affairs. (In Russ.) URL: (accessed 01.03.2021).

Newman E. 2009. Failed States and International Order: Constructing a Post-Westphalian World. – Contemporary Security Policy. Vol. 30. No. 3. P. 421-443.

Nye J.S. 1990. Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power. New York: Basic Books. 370 p.

Nye J.S. 2003. The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone. New York: Oxford University Press. 241 p.

Nye J.S. 2004. Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. New York: Public Affairs. 208 p.

Nye J.S. 2009. Get Smart: Combining Hard and Soft Power. – Foreign Affairs. Vol. 88. No. 4. P. 160-163.

O’Reilly K.P. 2007. Perceiving Rogue States: The Use of the “Rogue State” Concept by U.S. Foreign Policy Elites. – Foreign Policy Analysis. Vol. 3. No. 4. P. 295-315.

Popov V., Dutkiewicz P. 2017. Mapping a New World Order: The Rest Beyond the West. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. 232 p.

Przeworski A. 1991. Democracy and the Market. New York: Cambridge University Press. 210 p.

Rosecrance R., Stein A. 1973. Interdependence: Myth or Reality? – World Politics. Vol. 26. No. 1. P. 1-27.

Safranchuk I. 2018. Russian-U.S. Relations: Torn between the Practical and Ideational Agendas. – Russia In Global Affairs. Vol. 16. No. 4. P. 96-121.

Safranchuk I. 2020. Globalisation and the Decline of Universalism: New Realities for Hegemony. – Hegemony and World Order. Ed. by P. Dutkiewicz, T. Casier, J.A. Scholte. New York: Routledge. P. 65-77.

Sakwa R. 2020. Multilateralism and Nationalism in an Era of Disruption: The Great Pandemic and International Politics. – Journal of International Analytics. Vol. 11. No. 3. P. 129-150.

Schweller R.L. 2015. Rising Powers and Revisionism in Emerging International Orders. – Valdai Papers. No. 16. URL: (accessed 18.02.2021).

Soros G. 2004. The Bubble of American Supremacy: The Costs of Bush’s War in Iraq. – New York: Public Affairs. 224 p.

Sushentsov A.A., Wohlforth W.C. 2020. The Tragedy of US–Russian Relations: NATO Centrality and the Revisionists’ Spiral. – International Politics. Vol. 57. P. 427-450.

Tammen R.L., Kugler J., Lemke D., Stam A.C., Abdollahian M., Alsharabati C., Efird B., Organski A.F.K. 2000. Power Transitions: Strategies for the 21st Century. New York: Seven Bridges Press, LLC / Chatham House. 244 p.

Tellis A.J. 2004. Assessing America’s War on Terror: Confronting Insurgency, Cementing Primacy. – NBR Analysis, Carnegie Endowment. URL: (accessed 14.02.2021).

Transnational Relations and World Politics. 1972. Ed. by R. Keohane, J. Nye. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 429 p.

Waltz K. 1970. The Myth of National Interdependence. –The International Corporation. Ed. by C. Kindleberger. Cambridge: MIT Press. P. 205-223.

Waltz K. 1979. Theory of International Politics. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company. 251 p.

Wood B. 1987. Middle Powers in the International System: A Preliminary Assessment of Potential. World Institute for Development Economic Research Working Paper. 44 p. URL: (accessed 14.02.2020).

Young O.R. 1969. Interdependencies in World Politics. – International Journal. Vol. 24. No. 4. P. 726-750.

Zakaria F. 2003. The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc. 256 p.

Zakaria F., Yew L.K. 1994. Culture Is Destiny: A Conversation with Lee Kuan Yew. – Foreign Affairs. Vol. 73. No. 2. P. 109–126.


Arbatov A. 2014. Collapse of the World Order. – Russia in Global Affairs. Vol. 12. No. 4. P. 16-31. (In Russ.)

Baranovsky V. 2010. Transformation of the World System in 2000s. – International Trends. Vol. 8. No. 1. P. 4-13. (In Russ.)

Baranovsky V. 2019. New International Order: Overcoming or Transforming the Existing

Pattern? – Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. Vol. 63. No. 5. P. 7-23. (In Russ.)

Batalov E. 2003. “New World Order”: towards a methodology of analysis. – Polis. Political Studies. No. 5. P. 25-37. (In Russ.)

Bogaturov A.D. 1996. Pluralistic Unipolarity and Russian Interests. – Svobodnaja mysl’. No. 2. P. 25-36. (In Russ.)

Bogaturov A.D. 2002. Pljuralisticheskaja odnopoljarnost’ [Pluralistic Unipolarity]. – Ocherki teorii i metodologii politicheskogo analiza mezhdunarodnyh otnoshenij [Writings on Theory and Methodology of Political Analysis of International Relations]. Ed. by A.D. Bogaturov, N.A. Kosolapov, M.A. Hrustalev. Moscow: NOFMO. 390 p. (In Russ.)

Denisov I. 2020. The Concept of “Discursive Power” and the Transformation of Chinese Foreign Policy under Xi Jinping. – Comparative Politics Russia. Vol. 11. No. 4. (In Russ.)

Dynkin A., Telegina E. 2020. Pandemic Shock and the World after Crisis. – Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. Vol. 64. No. 8. P. 5-16. (In Russ.)

Istomin I., Baykov A. 2019. Dynamics of International Alliances in an Unbalanced World Structure. – Mirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia. Vol. 63. No. 1. P. 34-48. (In Russ.)

Karaganov S.A. 2019. Departure of Military Superiority of the West, and Geo-Economics. – Polis. Political Studies. No. 6. P. 8-21. (In Russ.)

Kortunov A.V. 2016. The Inevitable, Weird World. – Russian International Affairs Council. (In Russ.) URL: (accessed 03.06.2021).

Kosolapov N.A. 2002. Globalizatsiya: ot miroporyadka k mezhdunarodno-politicheskoi organizatsii mira [Globalization: From the World Order to the International Political Organization of the World]. – Ocherki teorii i metodologii politicheskogo analiza mezhdunarodnykh otnoshenii [Essays on the Theory and Methodology of Political Analysis of International Relations]. Ed. by A.D. Bogaturov, N.A. Kosolapov, M.A. Khrustalev. Moscow: NOFMO. 390 p. (In Russ.)

Lukyanov F.A., Trenin D.V., Kortunov A.V., Sushentsov A.A., Suslov D.V., Silaev N.Yu.,

Murakhovskii V.I., Safranchuk I.A., Markedonov S.M. 2020. Russia in the New Decade: Objectives, Threats, and Fellow Companions. – Journal of International Analytics. Vol. 11. No. 2. P. 11-27. (In Russ.)

Markedonov S., Rebro O., Sushentsov A., Chechevishnikov A. 2020. U.S. Policy Towards Ukraine (1991-2013): Between Restraint and Overall Support. – Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. Vol. 64. No. 4. P. 15-25. (In Russ.)

Markedonov S., Silaev N., Neklyudov N. 2020. U.S.-Ukraine Relationship (2014-2019): Dilemmas of the Alliance. – Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. Vol. 64. No. 8. P. 70-80. (In Russ.)

Nikonov V.A. 2002. Back to the Concert. – Russia in Global Affairs. No. 1. (In Russ.) URL: (accessed 01.03.2021).

Piatakov A.N. 2020. The Relations Between Turkey and Mexico: A Comparative Analysis, History and Modernity. – Cuadernos Iberoamericanos. Vol. 8. No. 1. P. 97-107. (In Russ.)

Safranchuk I. 2017. Alternative Options of the U.S. Policy in Afghanistan. – Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. Vol. 61. No. 2. P. 5-12. (In Russ.)

Safranchuk I. 2017. Military Force in Obama’s Policy: The Case of Afghanistan. – International Trends. Vol. 15. No. 2. P. 89-98. (In Russ.)

Shakleina T.A. 2019. “American Dilemma” in the Forging of a New World Order. – International Trends. Vol. 17. No. 4. P. 36-48. (In Russ.)

Tsygankov A.P. 2020. Gulliver at the Crossroads: America’s Strategy During the Global Transition. – Journal of International Analytics. Vol. 11. No. 2. P. 28-44. (In Russ.)

Tsygankov P.A. 2018. Studies of World Order: Theoretical Problems and Differences of Interpretation. – Tomsk State University Journal of Philosophy, Sociology and Political Science. Vol. 41. P. 194-202. (In Russ.)

Voitolovsky F.G. 2019. Deep Changes in External Environment Affecting Russia’s National Security. – Herald of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Vol. 89. No. 4. P. 393-399. (In Russ.) 

Content No. 3, 2021

See also:

Lebedeva M.M., Zinovieva E.S.,
Methods of neuroscience in studying world politics. – Polis. Political Studies. 2023. No5

Chugrov S.V.,
Moscow University Bulletin. Series 25. International relations and world politics: 5 years on track. – Polis. Political Studies. 2014. No5

Barsukova S.Yu.,
«Empire», or Farewell to Modernity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2007. No3

Safranchuk I.A., Lukyanov F.A.,
The Contemporary World Order: The Adaptation of Actors to Structural Realities. – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No4

Simonia N.A., Torkunov A.V.,
New World Order: from Bipolarity to Multipolarity. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No3



   2024      2023      2022      2021   
   2020      2019      2018      2017      2016   
   2015      2014      2013      2012      2011   
   2010      2009      2008      2007      2006   
   2005      2004      2003      2002      2001   
   2000      1999      1998      1997      1996   
   1995      1994      1993      1992      1991