Networked Hegemonic Shocks: Hegemonic Transition and Post-Cold War Democratization
The rise and fall of great powers produce a wave of regime changes. Why do some states take part in the wave but others do not? During the post-Cold War wave of democratization, for instance, why did some states become more democratic than others? Bridging hegemony studies and relational-network analysis, I argue that the configuration of a state’s geopolitical ties determines its regime trajectory after a great power transition. States positioned between contesting international orders -that occupy a brokerage position- are more likely to undergo regime change after a global power transition. However, remnants of a collapsing order do not go away; states deeply integrated in a collapsing order tend to resist regime changes. A combined contour of states’ position in new and old orders, as a function of brokerage and integration, conditions political developments after a hegemonic transition. Using a new dataset on former Soviet republics, I test the effects of brokerage to the US-led order and integration in the Soviet system on post-Cold War democratization. Empirical analysis using parameterization, inferential statistics, and Bayesian updating finds evidence supporting the hypothesis. I provide additional qualitative evidence through case studies on Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, and Lithuania. The finding illuminates how underlying global power structures frame domestic political contentions and bears on the debate concerning the wave of democratization as well as democratic backsliding.
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