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Power Shifts


The LSE IDEAS Power Shifts Project is an interdisciplinary undertaking tasked with interrogating claims that power shifts are taking place in the world: from the US to China, from West to East, from states to non-state actors. It seeks to understand the underpinning bases of power in the international system; to differentiate contexts in which power operates; and to theorise how power may transition from one actor to another.  


Professor Michael Cox is Founding Co-Director of LSE IDEAS and Co-Head of the United States International Affairs Programme.

Nick Kitchen

Dr Nicholas Kitchen is Editor in Chief of LSE IDEAS. He is also Deputy Head of the LSE IDEAS United States International Affairs Programme.


Professor Danny Quah is Professor of Economics and International Development, and Director of the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre within the Institute of Global Affairs at LSE.


Professor Arne Westad is Director of LSE IDEAS. He is also Head of the East Asia Programme.


Strategic Update: Japan and the US Pivot to Asia Pacific

This paper analyses the consequences of the US pivot to Asia on the US-Japan alliance and on Japanese foreign and security policies.


The New Geopolitics of Southeast Asia

This report analyses how the states in the region are responding to the challenge posed by the strategic interests of the US and China in their geography and economy.


Europe in an Asia Century

The economic and political position of Europe in the world is changing, particularly its relationships with China and the United States. The Eurozone crisis represents a strategic opportunity for Europe to rethink itself and become a more powerful united force.


China's Geoeconomic Strategy

This report attempts to provide a systematic assessment of the economic bases of China’s foreign policy and the challenges the country faces as it makes the transition from rising power to superpower. 


After the Arab Spring: Power Shift in the Middle East?

Behind the headlines, this report’s conclusions are pessimistic. The authors here find little evidence to suggest that future historians will rank the events of 2011 with those of 1848, or 1989.


India: The Next Superpower?

Following the success of economic liberalisation in the 1990s, which generated growth rates in excess of 8% and a rising middle class, expectations have grown that India might become a superpower, particularly in a West that sees in India's democratic heritage the potential for strategic partnership. 


The United States after Unipolarity

In this report, we asked a selection of experts to assess the challenges the Obama administration has faced in making that adjustment across a series of policy areas, from redefining how America funds and uses its military, through addressing global economic imbalances, to changing how others in the world view and work with the United States

Turkey Report Cover

Turkey's Global Strategy

After nearly a decade in power, Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) has grown increasingly confident in its foreign policy, prompting observers to wondered aloud whether the country might be leaving 'the West', forcing that group to confront the question 'who lost Turkey?' 


LSE IDEAS Lecture Series: Asia Rising?


Rising Asia: Lessons Learned from European Integration

Wednesday 5 February 2014, 6.30pm, Wolfson Theatre, NAB
Speaker: Professor Simon Hix; Chair: Professor Arne Westad


An American Century or an Asian Century?

Tuesday 18 February 2014, 6.30pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, NAB
Speaker: Professor John Ikenberry; Discussants: Professor Arne Westad; Professor Michael Cox; Chair: Dr Kirsten Schulze


Will China Dominate the 21st Century?

Tuesday 18 March 2014, 6.30pm, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Speakers: Jonathan Fenby, Isabel Hilton, Wu Jian Min; Chair: Professor Arne Westad





Past Events


The End of Power

Monday 20 January 2014, 6.30pm, Thai Theatre, New Academic Building
Speaker: Moisés Naím; Chair: Dr Nicholas Kitchen


Power in the Information Age

Monday 25 November 2013, 6.30pm, Old Theatre, Old Building
Speaker: Alec Ross; Chair: Professor Charlie Beckett 


Conference: American Structural Power and the International System

Wednesday 8 May 2013, The conference focused on how the United States acts in the world, and in particular, the structural role of the United States in the current international system. 





Power Shifts: Perspectives from the US Foreign Policy Conference | YouTube

In September 2014, leading thinkers descended on the LSE for the US Foreign Policy Conference, co-hosted by LSE IDEAS and the LSE International Relations Department. A key theme was whether shifts in economic power are eroding American hegemony; but the story of how power shifts turns out to be more complex than the rise and decline narrative of many contemporary pundits. In this video, speakers from the Conference share their perspective on the changing shape of power in the international system, and the implications for US foreign policy.

The World In Transition | The Economist

A summary of the major global shifts that occurred in 2014 collated by Kenneth Kukier, data editor for The Economist.

  • Professor Michael Cox | Chatham House
    Professor Michael Cox has been reappointed as an Associate Research Fellow to Chatham House where he contributes to their US Programme. Professor Cox began his association with Chatham House twenty years ago when working on his bestselling book Superpower Without a Mission: US Foreign Policy after the Cold War, published in 1995.
  • Professor Cox discusses Power Shifts for Greek newspaper 'Kathimerini'
    While in Athens for two IDEAS public lectures in June 2014, Professor Michael Cox was interviewed by Kathimerini newspaper on Power Shifts and the rise of the East, Britain and the EU, and the crisis in Ukraine. Read the article in Greek here.
  • LSE Middle East Alumni Symposium
    The LSE Middle East Alumni Symposium is a new initiative taken by the School to build on its commitment and relationship with the region. Chaired by alumnus and chairman of the Aman Foundation Mr Arif Naqvi, Professor Craig Calhoun led the discussion on Middle Eastern prospects in facing global challenges. Professor Danny Quah concentrated on the role of the GCC in the leaderless world; followed by a look at the regional balance of power after the Iraqi Elections presented by Professor Toby Dodge.
  • Alfred Herrhausen Society Forum on "Europe: Dream and Reality"
    On 9th May 2014, Professor Danny Quah participated in a panel discussion 'Where is the middle of the map? Europe in a multi-polar world' at the Alfred Herrhausen Society Forum on "Europe: Dream and Reality".
  • BFM: The Business Radio Station - Asia – Who is Getting It Right?
    Listen here to Professor Danny Quah on BFM: The Business Station. "The rise of Asia is perhaps the singular developmental and political story of our era, attracting praise and criticism, wonder and skepticism,” Professor Quah is reported to have said on the announcement of the new inter-disciplinary center. He speaks about Western obsessions over ‘ballot box democracy’, the importance of the performance dimension of governance, what will be a game changer for Southeast Asia and why Malaysians are given to so much self-loathing.
  • LSE Asia Forum 2014 - ASEAN leadership in a leaderless world
    Watch Professor Danny Quah, together with Azman Mokhtar, Professor Kishore Mahbubani, at the 6th Asia Forum entitled 'Building Asian futures: integration, welfare and growth?' took place on 2-3 April 2014 at the Shangri La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • Promising Partnerships: Emerging and Established Powers in the 21st Century
    On 11th March Dr Nicholas Kitchen Chaired the launch of the report 'Promising Partnerships: Emerging and Established Powers in the 21st Century'. Participants addressed the following themes: economic diplomacy, global security challenges, and scientific, cultural, and other people-to-people exchanges.
  • Obama and the World: New Directions in US Foreign Policy
    Dr Nicholas Kitchen published a book chapter entitled 'Hegemonic Transition and US Foreign Policy’ in ‘Obama and the World – New Directions in US Foreign Policy’.
Banner image: Quah, Danny. 2011. “The Global Economy’s Shifting Centre of Gravity.” Global Policy 2 (1) (January): 3–9. doi:10.1111/j.1758-5899.2010.00066.x