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‘The American tributary system in international politics’

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The talk is based on a recent paper that employs the idea of the tributary system—most often associated with China’s international relations from antiquity—to interpret how America relates to the rest of the world. I argue that the United States has instituted the most successful tributary system the world has ever seen. As the hub or epicenter of the most extensive network of formal and informal alliances ever built, the U.S. offers its allies and partners—or tributaries—military protection as well as economic access to its markets. In return for all its exertions, the tribute America seeks is straightforward: first, that it be recognized as the power or hegemon, and second, that others emulate its political forms and ideas. With both tributes in hand, the U.S. finds equanimity; it and the world are safe, at least from the U.S. point of view.

Full publication can be found at http://cjip.oxfordjournals.org/content/6/1/1.full.pdf

This talk is part of the Department of Politics and International Studies Research Seminar Series series.

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