Can the Great Powers Maintain Their Grip on Global Affairs?

Can the Great Powers Maintain Their Grip on Global Affairs?
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syria President Bashar Assad at the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Oct. 20, 2015 (Photo by Alexei Druzhinin, RIA-Novosti via AP).

Wherever you look these days, unhappy regional powers and even some weak states are demonstrating a startling degree of contempt for the supposed masters of the international system. In the past two weeks, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have precipitated a crisis with Iran that threatens to wreck the U.S. opening to Tehran, while North Korea has infuriated China with its so-called hydrogen bomb test. In Africa, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, once a darling of aid donors, has declared that he will run for a third term in office, having already revised the country’s constitution to eliminate its erstwhile […]

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