Heteropolarity, security, and diplomacy

For the past few hundred years, high-level statecraft has been concerned mainly with attempts at balancing power in an ever-changing world. We've gone from a bipolar system dominated by the US and USSR to American unipolarity. And now? America's prestige is hemorrhaging.  Welcome to the state of 'heteropolarity.' This is a whole new game.

UN Photo
Two great powers? Not any more. US president Franklin D. Roosevelt and British prime minister Winston Churchill in 1941.
Daryl Copeland
Published: Wednesday, 01/18/2012 12:00 am EST

Almost a decade ago, at an annual conference of the International Studies Association, I heard my colleague James Der Derian from Brown University use the word heteropolar to describe the new world order. I had not come across the term before, and was uncertain as to its precise meaning. Still, it struck me at the time as an original idea, and those are rare. It lodged in my mind.

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