The rise of China is changing the strategic landscape globally and regionally. How states respond to potential threats posed by this new power arrangement will be crucial to international relations for the coming decades. This book builds on existing realist and rationalist concepts of balancing, bandwagoning, commitment problems, and asymmetric information to craft explanations about how states respond when faced with potential threats. Specifically, the book explores the role different types of uncertainty play in potential balancing situations. Particular focus is given to the nature of the rising state’s actions, the balance of forces, and the value of delay. These concepts are analysed and illustrated through a series of case studies on Europe in the 1930s as well as the present-day Southeast Asia, looking at great powers such as Britain and France, but also a wide range of smaller powers including Poland, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

chapter |15 pages


Threats and the challenges of uncertainty
Size: 0.33 MB

chapter 1|23 pages

Balancing as a commitment problem

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chapter 2|9 pages

Balancing and buck-passing I

A dynamic model with uncertainty
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chapter 3|19 pages

Balancing and buck-passing II

Western Europe in the 1930s
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chapter 4|8 pages

To bandwagon or hide I

A theoretical examination of the alternatives to balancing
Size: 0.25 MB

chapter 5|24 pages

To bandwagon or hide II

East Central Europe before World War II
Size: 0.30 MB

chapter 6|16 pages

Balancing and bandwagoning by other means

How the outbreak of war affects states’ responses to threats
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chapter 7|30 pages

The rise of China

Will states balance, bandwagon, or hedge in the South China Sea today?
Size: 0.38 MB

chapter |5 pages


Size: 0.28 MB