Long Cycles in World Politics
* Book: Long Cycles in World Politics. By George Modelski.
See also details at: Long Cycle Theory
From the Wikipedia:
George Modelski, who presented his ideas in the book Long Cycles in World Politics (1987), is the chief architect of long cycle theory. Long cycle theory describes the connection between war cycles, economic supremacy, and the political aspects of world leadership.
Long cycles, or long waves, offer perspectives on global politics by permitting "the careful exploration of the ways in which world wars have recurred, and lead states such as Britain and the United States have succeeded each other in an orderly manner." Not to be confused with Simon Kuznets' idea of long-cycles, or long-swings, long cycles of global politics are patterns of past world politics.
The long cycle, according to Dr. Dan Cox, is a period of time lasting approximately 70 to 100 years. At the end of that period, "the title of most powerful nation in the world switches hands." Modelski divides the long cycle into four phases. When periods of global war, which could last as much as one-fourth of the total long cycle, are factored in, the cycle can last from 87 to 122 years.
Many traditional theories of international relations, including the other approaches to hegemony, believe that the baseline nature of the international system is anarchy.
Modelski's long cycle theory, however, states that war and other destabilizing events are a natural product of the long cycle and larger global system cycle. They are part of the living processes of the global polity and social order. Wars are "systemic decisions" that "punctuate the movement of the system at regular intervals." Because "world politics is not a random process of hit or miss, win or lose, depending on the luck of the draw or the brute strength of the contestants", anarchy does not play a role; long cycles have provided, for the last five centuries, a means for the successive selection and operation of numerous world leaders.
Modelski used to believe that long cycles were a product of the modern period. He suggests that the five long cycles, which have taken place since about 1500, are each a part of a larger global system cycle, or the modern world system.
Under the terms of long cycle theory, five hegemonic long cycles have taken place, each strongly correlating to economic Kondratieff Waves (or K-Waves). The first hegemon would have been Portugal during the 16th century, then the Netherlands during the 17th century. Next, Great Britain served twice, first during the 18th century, then during the 19th century. The United States has been serving as hegemon since the end of World War II."
The Update from Joshua S Goldstein
From the Wikipedia:
In 1988, Joshua S Goldstein advanced the concept of the political midlife crisis in his book on "long cycle theory", Long Cycles: Prosperity and War in the Modern Age,which offers four examples of the process:
- The British Empire and the Crimean War (1853–1856): A century after Britain's successful launch of the Industrial Revolution, and following the subsequent British railway boom of 1815–1853, Britain, in the Crimean War, attacked the Russian Empire, which was perceived as a threat to British India and to eastern Mediterranean trade routes to India. The Crimean War highlighted the poor state of the British Army, which were then addressed, and Britain concentrated on colonial expansion and took no further part in European wars until the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
- The German Empire and World War I (1914–1918): Under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Germany had been unified between 1864 and 1871, and then had seen 40 years' rapid industrial, military, and colonial expansion. In 1914 the Schlieffen Plan for conquering France in eight weeks was to have been followed by the subjugation of the Russian Empire, leaving Germany the master of Mitteleuropa (Central Europe). In the event, France, Britain, Russia, and the United States fought Germany to a standstill, to defeat, and to a humiliating peace settlement at Versailles (1919) and the establishment of Germany's unstable Weimar Republic (1919–33), in a prelude to World War II.
The Soviet Union and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962): The Soviet Union had industrialised rapidly under Joseph Stalin and, following World War II, had become a rival nuclear superpower to the United States. In 1962 Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, intent on securing strategic parity with the United States, covertly, with the support of Fidel Castro, shipped nuclear missiles to Castro's Cuba, 70 miles from the US state of Florida. US President John F. Kennedy blockaded (the term "quarantined" being used because a blockade is an act of war), the island of Cuba and negotiated the Soviet missiles' removal from Cuba (in exchange for the subsequent removal of US missiles from Turkey).[vague]
- The United States and the Vietnam War (1955–1975): During World War II and the ensuing postwar period, the United States had greatly expanded its military capacities and industries. After France, supported financially by the US, had been defeated in Vietnam in 1954 and that country had been temporarily split into North and South Vietnam under the 1954 Geneva Accords; and when war had broken out between the North and South following South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem's refusal to permit all-Vietnam elections in 1956 as stipulated in the Geneva Accords, the ideologically anti-communist United States supported South Vietnam with materiel in a Cold War proxy war and by degrees allowed itself to be drawn into South Vietnam's losing struggle against communist North Vietnam and the Viet Cong acting in South Vietnam. Ultimately, following the defeat of South Vietnam and the United States, the US's governing belief that South Vietnam's defeat would result in all of remaining Mainland Southeast Asia "going communist" (as proclaimed by the US's "domino theory"), proved erroneous."