Adaptive Leadership under Dual Containment: U.S. Mode of Action in a Changing World Order

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-11-5-14
MGIMO University, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.

Received 03.07.2023. Revised 24.07.2023. Accepted 11.08.2023.

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the MGIMO University. Project no. 2023-03-02.

Abstract. The article is devoted to the study of various adaptation modes in the U.S. foreign policy amid changes in the international environment. The author looks into the drivers of American leadership in the first post-Cold War decade and critically assesses how the changes in the international system affected them having brought the current state of the world to the “great power rivalry” mode. As a result, the paper observes, the “dual containment” of China and Russia is effectively becoming the organizing idea of American foreign policy, the conditions under which the U.S. were presented as a role model are being eroded, while American elites continue to strive to keep the United States’ hegemonic position in the international system. The author considers the “adaptive leadership” theory and ways in which it conjugates with the “adaptive behavior” theory of J. Rosenau, arguing that for the moment, the U.S. are undergoing the so called convulsive mode of adaptation. The article further scrutinizes the essence of such adaptation in concrete areas and seeks to answer how adequate the measures adopted by the United States today are for the goals and objectives that they pursue. The author presumes that in the absence of key drivers for the adaptive leadership – the factor of time, renewed national identity, new quality of governance by qualitatively new elites, and new consensus among the elites over the role the U.S. should play in the world, – the United States opts for some sort of “expedited” adaptation. It includes persuasion through ideology, incitement though economic measures, coercion through force, and ultimately exposes U.S. foreign policy more like that of a hegemon and less like that of a leader. The paper argues that in the mid-term perspective, the domestic politics of the United States will be dependent on the formation of the aforementioned renewed leadership drivers, while America’s foreign policy will signal how successful the adaptation processes are.

Keywords: U.S., China, Russia, adaptation, adaptive leadership, containment, foreign policy, strategy


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For citation:
Suchkov M. Adaptive Leadership under Dual Containment: U.S. Mode of Action in a Changing World Order. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 11, pp. 5-14. EDN: BUVRRI

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