Rising Titans, Falling Giants: How Great Powers Exploit Power Shifts

Assistant Professor of International Relations, Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University Tuesday, Oct 16, 2018   |   12:15 - 1:45 pm   |  SRH 3.122, The LBJ School

On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, the Clements and Strauss Centers, along with the John Quincy Adams Society, will welcome Joshua Shifrinson, Assistant Professor of International Relations with the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, for a talk on his recently released book, Rising Titans, Fallings Giants: How Great Powers Exploit Power Shifts.

As a rising great power flexes its muscles on the political-military scene it must examine how to manage its relationships with states suffering from decline; and it has to do so in a careful and strategic manner. In Rising Titans, Falling Giants Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson focuses on the policies that rising states adopt toward their declining competitors in response to declining states’ policies, and what that means for the relationship between the two.

Rising Titans, Falling Giants integrates disparate approaches to realism into a single theoretical framework, provides new insight into the sources of cooperation and competition in international relations, and offers a new empirical treatment of great power politics at the start and end of the Cold War. Shifrinson challenges the existing historical interpretations of diplomatic history, particularly in terms of the United States-China relationship. Whereas many analysts argue that these two nations are on a collision course, Shifrinson declares instead that rising states often avoid antagonizing those in decline, and highlights episodes that suggest the US-China relationship may prove to be far less conflict-prone than we might expect.

Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson’s teaching and research interests focus on the intersection of international security and diplomatic history, particularly the rise and fall of great powers and the origins of grand strategy.  He has special expertise in great power politics since 1945 and U.S. engagement in Europe and Asia. He has additional related projects on U.S. grand strategy, the durability of NATO, U.S. relations with its allies during and after the Cold War, and the rise of China. His work has appeared with International Security, the Journal of Strategic Studies, Foreign Affairs, and other venues.  His next major project examines American foreign policy in the 1990s and early 2000s to explain how great powers try to stop challengers from emerging.

Shifrinson earned a B.A. from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The recipient of fellowships from the Dickey Center, the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies, and the Belfer Center, Shifrinson was an Assistant Professor Government at Texas A&M University prior to joining Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. At Boston University, he teaches classes on international relations theory, U.S. grand strategy, alliance politics, and security studies. 

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