Overcoming American Hegemony: The Central Paradox of Chinese and Russian Revisionism


  • Adam P. MacDonald


China and Russia are adopting increasingly assertive dispositions to reconstitute local geopolitical environments to their strategic advantage, requiring the erosion of American anchored hegemonic networks in their respective home regions. Despite growing material power bases, these pursuits are and will most likely continue to be unsuccessful. First, they are seen as threatening to other regional powers who are increasingly working together to counteract them. Second, these counterbalancing efforts reinforce the importance of the United States, given its still preponderant capabilities and networked centrality, in facilitating the coordination of existing and new political, economic and security arrangements which are increasingly oriented against China and Russia. A central paradox lies at the heart of these powers’ revisionist approaches: their actions inhibit desired new geopolitical realities, principally defined by alignment patterns, from emerging by reinforcing rather than displacing American hegemonic regional networks. Despite the negative strategic results being produced, it is expected both powers will double down on their current approaches to try to impose favorable regional realities before their power capacity wanes as domestic challenges grow. China and Russia are not existential challenges to but rather re-invigorate American hegemonic networks and its leading role within them. The greatest threat to American hegemony is not external but internal in terms of domestic alienation against the hegemonic project itself.

Author Biography

Adam P. MacDonald

Adam P. MacDonald, a former naval officer in the Canadian military, is a PhD candidate in the Political Science Department at Dalhousie University. He is a Killam Scholar, holds a MINDS Doctoral Scholarship and is a Fellow at the Canadian International Council. He is currently part of two Department of Defence funded academic networks – the Defence and Security Foresight Group (DSFG) and the North American and Arctic Defence and Security Network (NAADSN). Adam’s dissertation seeks to explain the differences in American strategic approaches towards Russia and China in post-Cold War era as a function of ‘shoring up activities’ in the early 1990s to ensure its networked centrality in security and economic realms globally and within Europe and East Asia. His other research interests include various aspects of Canadian defence and foreign policy, specifically the impact on these by the burgeoning strategic rivalry between the US and China, naval policy and strategy, the military’s role in domestic emergency response, and Arctic security.






Annual National Student Award Competition