Worldviews of Aspiring Powers

In This Review

Worldviews of Aspiring Powers: Domestic Foreign Policy Debates in China, India, Iran, Japan, and Russia
by Edited by Henry R. Nau and Deepa M. Ollapally
Oxford University Press, USA, 2012
256 pp. $24.95

In recent years, rising non-Western states have begun to seek greater roles in the running of the global order. But how do they understand that order? This valuable collection explores thinking about foreign policy in China, India, Iran, Japan, and Russia. The contributors demonstrate that in all those countries, vigorous debates exist among foreign policy schools that resemble the Western categories of realism, nationalism, and liberal internationalism, as well as various types of idealism. In their chapter, Nau and Ollapally argue that in most of these countries, realist and nationalist sentiments tend to dominate among foreign policy elites, leading to an emphasis on sovereignty, self-reliance, and the building of national military and economic capacities. But a strong consensus exists within all these countries—and even among the various schools of thought—on the virtues of international economic openness and integration. Moreover, apart from Iran, these rising states are not seeking to transform the global order. They want to trade and grow within the existing system while protecting their sovereignty and national power.