Contested Leadership in International Relations: Power Politics in South America, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa
GIGA Working Paper No 121
35 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2010 Last revised: 17 Aug 2012
Date Written: February 4, 2010
Given the importance of the assertion or prevention of regional leadership for the future global order, this paper examines the strategies and resources being used to assert regional leadership as well as the reactions of other states within and outside the respective regions. Secondary powers play a key role in the regional acceptance of a leadership claim. In this article we identify the factors motivating secondary powers to accept or contest this claim. Three regional dyads, marked by different degrees of “contested leadership,” are analyzed: Brazil vs. Venezuela, India vs. Pakistan, and South Africa vs. Nigeria. The research outcomes demonstrate that the strategies of regional powers and the reactions of secondary powers result from the distribution of material capabilities and their application, the regional powers’ ability to project ideational resources, the respective national interests of regional and secondary powers, and the regional impact of external powers.
Keywords: Brazil, India, South Africa, regional powers, regional and global order, leadership
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