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This book is an introduction to international law for politics and international relations students. It provides a deep understanding of the possibilities and limits of international law as a tool for structuring relations in the world. The case study-driven approach helps students understand the complexities of international law, and illustrates the inextricable interaction between law and politics in the world today. In addition, it encourages students to question assumptions, such as whether international law is fit for purpose, and what that purpose is or ought to be. The book also discusses the potential of rising powers to shift the international system.


This chapter examines the global order, led by the United States, that emerged at the end of the cold war and asks whether it has been effectively challenged by rising powers. It begins with a discussion of the challenges to the idea of a U.S.-dominated global order, focusing in particular on the role of large, emerging developing countries as well as the idea of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in the context of the future of the global economy. The chapter then considers the more recent economic slowdown in the emerging world, along with the political and social challenges facing many emerging societies. It also analyses some of the major theoretical arguments about the impact of rising powers on international relations and whether they are powerful enough to affect international order.