With the rise of new powers and the decline of seemingly unchallenged US dominance, a conventional wisdom is gaining ground in contemporary discourse about world politics that a new multipolar order is taking shape. Yet ‘multipolarity’ – an order with multiple centres of power – is variously used as a description of the current distribution of power, of the likely shape of a future global order, or even as a prescription for how power ‘should’ be distributed in the international system. This book explores how the concept of a multipolar order is being used for different purposes in different national contexts. From rising powers to established powers, contemporary policy debates are analysed by a set of leading scholars in order to provide an in-depth insight into the use and abuse of a widely used but rarely explored concept.
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