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Hegemonic Competition, Hegemonic Disruption and the Current War
Unformatted Document Text:  Newmann: DRAFT: Please do not cite without permission A Strategic Approach to the Current War: Neorealism, Ideology, and Hegemony William W. Newmann L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Virginia Commonwealth University The swift end of the cold war led scholars of international relations and diplomatic historians to a reassessment of balance of power and power transition theories. In particular, neorealism, the dominant paradigm in international relations theory faced considerable scrutiny. 1 The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the subsequent “Global War on Terror” have cast new light on the post-cold war world suggesting that further examination of these theories is warranted. The al-Qaeda network has shown its resiliency as the vanguard of a global movement with an ideology that is politically attractive in communities across Asia, Africa, and Europe. 2 Its power and influence requires scholars to develop models that consider al-Qaeda’s strategic significance. At the most basic level, scholars need to reconsider the role of ideology and the relevance of sub-national actors in the theoretical and policy implications of balance of power and hegemonic theories. This essay refines power transition theories by developing a model of hegemonic disruption. Al- Qaeda does not command large armies from Indonesia to Morocco, nor does it or its ideological brethren have control of even a regionally powerful state; however, it does provide inspiration, operational 1 Jack Snyder, “Averting Anarchy in the New Europe,” International Security, Vol 14, No. 4 (Spring 1990), pp. John J. Mearscheimer, “Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold War,” International Security Vol. 15, No. 1 (Summer 1990), pp. ; Stephen Van Evera, “Primed for Peace: Europe after the Cold War,” International Security, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Winter 1990/91), pp. ; Christopher Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise,” International Security, Vol. 17, No. 4 (Spring 1993), pp. ; Michael E. Brown, Sean M. Lynn-Jones, and Steven E. Miller, eds., The Perils of Anarchy (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995); Richard Ned Lebow and Thomas Risse-Kappen, eds., International Relations Theory and the End of the Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995); Benjamin Frankel, ed., Realism: Restatements and Renewal (London: Frank Cass, 1996); Peter J. Katzenstein, ed., The Culture of National Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996); Jeffrey W. Legro and Andrew Moravcsik, “Is Anybody Still a Realist?” International Security, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall 1999), pp. 5-55; Colin Elman and Miriam Fendius Elman, eds., Progress in International Relations Theory (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003); and Richard K. Herrmann and Richard Ned Lebow, eds., Ending the Cold War (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). 2 The best general treatments of al-Qaeda and its network are Rohan Gunaratna. Inside al-Qaeda (New York: Berkley, 2002); Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon. The Age of Sacred Terror (New York: Random House, 2002); Peter Bergen, Holy War, Inc. (New York: Touchstone, 2002); Jason Burke. Al-Qaeda (London: I.B. Tauris, 2003); Richard Clarke, ed., Defeating the Jihadists (New York: The Century Foundation Press, 2004); Jonathan Schanzer, Al-Qaeda’s Armies (Washington, DC: Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2005); and Angel Rabasa et al., Beyond Al-Qaeda Part 1 and Part 2 (Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, 2006). 2

Authors: Newmann, William.
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Newmann: DRAFT: Please do not cite without permission
A Strategic Approach to the Current War:
Neorealism, Ideology, and Hegemony
William W. Newmann
L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University
The swift end of the cold war led scholars of international relations and diplomatic historians to a
reassessment of balance of power and power transition theories. In particular, neorealism, the dominant
paradigm in international relations theory faced considerable scrutiny.
The attacks of September 11,
2001 and the subsequent “Global War on Terror” have cast new light on the post-cold war world
suggesting that further examination of these theories is warranted. The al-Qaeda network has shown its
resiliency as the vanguard of a global movement with an ideology that is politically attractive in
communities across Asia, Africa, and Europe.
Its power and influence requires scholars to develop
models that consider al-Qaeda’s strategic significance. At the most basic level, scholars need to
reconsider the role of ideology and the relevance of sub-national actors in the theoretical and policy
implications of balance of power and hegemonic theories.
This essay refines power transition theories by developing a model of hegemonic disruption. Al-
Qaeda does not command large armies from Indonesia to Morocco, nor does it or its ideological brethren
have control of even a regionally powerful state; however, it does provide inspiration, operational
1
Jack Snyder, “Averting Anarchy in the New Europe,” International Security, Vol 14, No. 4 (Spring 1990), pp. John J.
Mearscheimer, “Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold War,” International Security Vol. 15, No. 1 (Summer
1990), pp. ; Stephen Van Evera, “Primed for Peace: Europe after the Cold War,” International Security, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Winter
1990/91), pp. ; Christopher Layne, “The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise,” International Security, Vol. 17,
No. 4 (Spring 1993), pp. ; Michael E. Brown, Sean M. Lynn-Jones, and Steven E. Miller, eds., The Perils of Anarchy
(Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995); Richard Ned Lebow and Thomas Risse-Kappen, eds., International Relations Theory and the
End of the Cold War
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1995); Benjamin Frankel, ed., Realism: Restatements and Renewal
(London: Frank Cass, 1996); Peter J. Katzenstein, ed., The Culture of National Security (New York: Columbia University Press,
1996); Jeffrey W. Legro and Andrew Moravcsik, “Is Anybody Still a Realist?” International Security, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall 1999),
pp. 5-55; Colin Elman and Miriam Fendius Elman, eds., Progress in International Relations Theory (Cambridge: MIT Press,
2003); and Richard K. Herrmann and Richard Ned Lebow, eds., Ending the Cold War (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004).
2
The best general treatments of al-Qaeda and its network are Rohan Gunaratna. Inside al-Qaeda (New York: Berkley, 2002);
Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon. The Age of Sacred Terror (New York: Random House, 2002); Peter Bergen, Holy War, Inc.
(New York: Touchstone, 2002); Jason Burke. Al-Qaeda (London: I.B. Tauris, 2003); Richard Clarke, ed., Defeating the Jihadists
(New York: The Century Foundation Press, 2004); Jonathan Schanzer, Al-Qaeda’s Armies (Washington, DC: Washington
Institute for Near East Policy, 2005); and Angel Rabasa et al., Beyond Al-Qaeda Part 1 and Part 2 (Santa Monica: Rand
Corporation, 2006).
2


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