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About the Event: How do states build lasting international order? Existing explanations of order formation argue that leading states are incentivized to create binding institutions with robust rules and strong enforcement mechanisms. The stability resulting from such institutionalized orders, scholars argue, allows leading states to geopolitically punch above their weight after they have declined in power. I argue, however, that such explanations overlook the trade-off between stability and flexibility, that leading states are faced with. Flexibility calls for short-term agreements that can be renegotiated when the strategic situation changes. And it allows the leading state to take advantage of relative power increases.Whereas states face significant incentives to err on the side of stability if they predict irreversible decline in power, states face incentives to err on the side of flexibility if they predict relative rise in power.
About the Speaker: Mariya Grinberg is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago in 2019. Her primary research examines why states trade with their enemies, investigating the product level and temporal variation in wartime commercial policies of states vis-a-vis enemy belligerents. Her broader research interests include international relations theory focusing on order formation and questions of state sovereignty. Prior to coming to CISAC, she was a predoctoral fellow at the Belfer Center’s International Security Program. She holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago's Committee on International Relations and a B.A. from the University of Southern California.