New Powers

How to Become One and How to Manage Them

Part of the Crises in World Politics series
July 2010 9781849040778 208pp


Being the new kid on the block is seldom easy at any level, and it is certainly not easy in the anarchical world of international politics. New powers such as Brazil, China and India have to tread a difficult balance as they negotiate their way to the top. They must signal a sufficient level of conformity to show that they do not pose a threat to the system, and thereby avoid preemptive reprisals. But habitually conciliatory diplomacy is likely to lead established powers to regard them as pushovers. Effective bargaining holds the key to finding the balance between these extremes. Established powers also have no straightforward answers available to them. If the aims of the new power are limited, then engagement is a worthwhile enterprise. But if they are radically revisionist or revolutionary, then its disruptive potential to the system may necessitate containment from the established powers. Assessing the intentions of new powers and responding appropriately is crucial for the maintenance of international peace and stability. The key to such an assessment lies in an analysis of negotiation behaviour, which Narlikar examines in the case of the three most important candidates vying for great power status today – Brazil, China, and India. Together they present some fascinating commonalities in their diplomacy but also significant differences. The range of cases of new powers studied here also allows us some scope for generalisation on how new entrants into great power clubs might behave, and what strategies the established powers can use most effectively to accommodate their rise.


‘Tension and even warfare are likely when a new power emerges and an old power is challenged. The achievement of Amrita Narlikar is to bring analytical rigour to the recent emergence of India, China and Brazil, and her insights are equally applicable to the historical past, to the emergence of Britain or Germany or the United States, as to the present. She steers a deft course between the large-scale issues of the shifting balance of power and the details of negotiating style which were so important in mediating the interests of established and new powers’. — Martin Daunton, Professor of Economic History and Master of Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge

‘Amrita Narlikar’s impressive book goes beyond speculation about the intentions of New Powers to a detailed analysis about their international behaviour. New Powers shows in what policy arenas and to what degree global power is shifting’. —Andrew F. Cooper, Coeditor of Rising States, Rising Institutions: Challenges for Global Governance

‘In her short but impressively rich and well written book Amrita Narlikar presents clearly argued analyses of the negotiation behaviour of three large countries aspiring to become great powers of the world. New Powers offers an important contribution to the understanding of a changing world together with well-founded advice for the negotiators of both new and established powers’. — Dr Hilmar Rommetvedt, Head of Research at the International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS), Norway


Dr Amrita Narlikar is University Senior Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge, and Official Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge. Her single-authored books include 'International Trade and Developing Countries: Bargaining Coalitions in the GATT and WTO', London: Routledge, 2003, and 'The World Trade Organization: A Very Short Introduction', Oxford: OUP, 2005. She has also edited several volumes, including Deadlocks in Multilateral Negotiations: Causes and Solutions, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Request an academic inspection copy Request a press review copy
Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.