The Modern World Order: Structural Realities and Great Power Rivalries
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Ivan А. Safranchuk

Senior Research Fellow, Institute of International Research, MGIMO University;

Member of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.


SPIN RSCI: 9754-1094
ORCID: 0000-0003-2214-6628
ResearcherID: O-3257-2017
Scopus AuthorID: 57193867458


e-mail: [email protected]
Institute of International Research, MGIMO University
Office 319, 76 Vernadsky Prospect, Moscow, Russia

Fyodor A. Lukyanov

Editor-in-Chief of Russia in Global Affairs, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, and Research Director of the Valdai Discussion Club. Research Professor, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow.


Tel: +7 (495) 980-7353
[email protected]

Safranchuk I.A., Lukyanov F.A. The Modern World Order: Structural Realities and Great Power Rivalries. – Polis. Political Studies. 2021. No. 3. P. 57-76. (In Russ.).

The new set of global and regional actors can be taken for the new, multipolar hardware of the global system; its software is shaped by new structural realities, within which actors operate. These are conceptualized as the mismatch between material globalization and the decline of ideational universalism: the latter determines conflict while the former limits escalation. The article outlines the mode of competition within these structural realities, i.e., indirect coercion.

In the part of the article prepared by I.A. Safranchuk, the work was financially supported by MGIMO University, project No. 1921-01-04.

The article suggests that the contemporary mode of interactions between leading global and regional actors is not transitional, but sustainable, thus constituting the world order for the near future. Providing a theoretical context, the article claims that over the last thirty years neoliberal and neorealist schools of thought have prevailingly focused on verifying their pre-established explanatory models with post-Cold War examples, rather than studying these realities as such.

This article is based on the assumption that tremendous developments have occurred in this period. The new set of global and regional actors can be taken for the new, multipolar hardware of the global system; its software is shaped by new structural realities, within which actors operate. These are conceptualized as the mismatch between material globalization and the decline of ideational universalism: the latter determines conflict while the former limits escalation.

The article outlines the mode of competition within these structural realities, i.e., indirect coercion.

This mode makes neoliberal institutional world order unfeasible; however, within this mode it also becomes virtually impossible to strike a balance of power as is so central to the neorealist theory.

Within the terms of the game theory, interactions between leading actors fit neither win/win nor win/lose scenarios. The article conceptualizes great power interactions as lose/not-lose competition and not-lose/not-lose collaboration. 

‘Polis’ (‘Political Studies’)


M – Messianism
Ivan А. Safranchuk
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