Abstract

The United States needs support from other states to carry out global governance, particularly from rising powers such as China and Russia. Securing cooperation from China and Russia poses special problems, however, because neither state is part of the liberal Western community, ruling out appeals to common values and norms. Nevertheless, an alternative approach that is rooted in appreciation of China's and Russia's heightened status concerns may be viable. Since the end of the Cold War, Chinese and Russian foreign policy has been shaped by the goal of restoring both countries' great power status, which received major blows after China's Tiananmen Square repression and the Soviet Union's breakup and loss of empire. This desire for status can be explained by social identity theory, which argues that social groups strive for a distinctive, positive identity. Social identity theory provides a typology of strategies that states may use to enhance their relative status and suggests appropriate responses to status concerns of rising powers. Redirecting scholarly attention to status considerations and incentives could contribute to a diplomatic strategy for engaging rising powers.

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