Strategic Autonomy in an Age of Great Power Rivalry featuring Hilton Root

Venue: Lónyay-Hatvany Villa - 1. Csónak str., 1015 Budapest

A lecture with Hilton L. Root, George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government. 

In a world driven by competition between the U.S. and China, even major countries like India, Turkey, Egypt, and Brazil are finding their basic strategic orientation difficult to maintain.  Subordinate nations, conforming to the new configuration of dominant powers, are unsure about the degree of autonomy they should pursue. When the gods quarrel in the mythology of Ancient Greece, the agency of mortals is affected. Depending on their relationships with the deities, they can jockey for favouritism or seek their own path, depending on how they perceive the risk of punishment.

In past examples of such realignment, Britain had to revise its fundamental assumptions about the geopolitical order and adapt to new circumstances following its failed intervention in Suez in 1956. The country chose to align very closely with the U.S., while France pursued broader strategic autonomy within the U.S.-led order. Cultural affinities and factors played significant roles in these decisions. Meanwhile, Germany had to reevaluate its principle of “Ostpolitik” following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This adjustment was far less traumatic than the changes it faced after its defeat in World War II. On this occasion, the country only needed to shift its strategic priorities without altering its cultural orientation. The “load-bearing” assumptions that underpin strategic concepts are more adaptable to changes in the global landscape than cultural norms.

With this strategic flexibility in mind, if nations that share no strong cultural ties with either China or the U.S. choose the greatest possible level of autonomy, will the overall network structure of the global political economy tend towards disorder? In an age of great power rivalry infused with moral imperatives, what are the strategic risks and opportunities for Hungary?

-Hilton L. Root,
George Mason University, Schar School of Policy and Government
-Steven F. Hayward,
Danube Institute Visiting Fellow

Language: English

Date: 5 October 2023, 5.30 pm
Venue: Lónyay-Hatvany Villa- 1. Csónak str., 1015 Budapest

Participation in the event is free, but registration is required, which can be done by email at events@danubeinstitute.hu or by clicking on the R.S.V.P. button:

Watch back other events