Modelski’s World Leadership Cycle

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"Modelski’s model is a historically based theory founded on his interest in naval history. Some key elements of his theory are:

  • Power is a function of global reach (the ability to influence events across the globe).
  • Historically, world power rested upon the ability to control the oceans (“ocean-going capacity”).
  • Ocean-going capacity is measured by the combined tonnage of a country’s military and merchant navies.
  • Power in this model is about strength and dominance.

A world leader is able to offer an “innovation” that provides geopolitical order and security.

An innovation refers to bundles of institutions, ideas and practices.

Cycles of world leadership are dynamic—they rise and fall.

Each cycle of world leadership is comprised of four phases (pg 199):

  • Phase of global war
  • Phase of world power
  • Phase of delegitimation
  • Phase of deconcentration "