Beyond Great Powers and Hegemons: Why Secondary States Support, Follow, or Challenge

Observing that leading states cannot lead unless following states follow, the editors of this volume argue that small and weak states actually have a continuum of strategies available to them, ranging from opposition to acquiescence. They can try to balance against the powerful state, “bandwagon” with it, or pursue compromise strategies such as “soft balancing” or binding the leading state to regional and global institutions. The book offers a dozen interesting case histories of responses to global hegemons and regional powers, the best of which delve into the domestic politics of secondary states and the ways in which political elites and interest groups are strengthened or weakened by ties to hegemons and, in turn, how this shapes the national orientation. A chapter on the responses of Australia, Japan, and Taiwan to the rise of China shows the complexity and ambivalence of weaker states in the region. In the competition for hegemonic leadership in East Asia, it remains a fascinating question whether American security ties or Chinese trade ties will prove more alluring to those secondary states.

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