First Advisor

Shawn Smallman

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International & Global Studies: East Asian and University Honors


International and Global Studies




Unipolarity (International relations), United States -- Foreign relations, United States -- Foreign relations -- Decision making




The current unipolar system is undeniable, but also undeniably going to shift in the future. Yet as unipolarity has persisted, the U.S has made many foreign policy and grand strategy decisions based on the structural constraints and flexibilities of being the unipole. This trend may not be an advisable one should a shift in power occur. My question is, should the system return to bi or multipolarity, how will U.S foreign policy be able to accommodate these changes peacefully after it has so long been centered around maintaining the unipolar system and its current status? Additionally how will the U.S negotiate other rising powers, once they do rise enough to present real challenges to the status quo? Essentially seeing as China is the clear candidate for being the fastest rising power, how will the U.S navigate its relationship to avoid returning to an era reminiscent of Cold War tensions. The aim of this thesis is to do a literature review from the book “International Relations and the Consequences of Unipolarity” to help bring light to these questions.


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