SINCE THE INTRODUCTION of Kenneth Waltz's neorealist theory in 1979,1 it has been widely accepted that bipolar systems are more stable than multipolar ones, that they are less likely to fall into major war.2

This conclusion has rested on the prominent example of a single case, the cold war era from 1945 to 1991. Indeed, the lack of major war during this period has inspired John Lewis Gaddis to call it the "long peace." John Mearsheimer goes further, warning that we will soon "miss the cold war" as