The Great Power coalition of the early 19th century succeded in keeping the peace among the great states of England, France, Prussia, Russia and Austria. For the last century and a half, however, no truly encompassing coalition has emerged, and the 20th century in particular was plagued by major wars and minor conflicts throughout. Only now, at the outset on the 21st century, is a new Great Power coalition possible. This study examines the possibility of a Great Power coalition that would be sustained by the development of overlapping "international clubs". The new set of Great Powers - the USA, Japan, the European Union, China and Russia - may be held together by means of economic and status incentives, international norms and regimes, and the emulation of national and regional "best practices". Only by rising above zero sum games and solving collective goods problems, however, will any such new Great Power coalition succeed.
America in particular will have to adjust it's policies to promote a circle of cooperation and global governance among powers including Russia and China, as unsocialized in the ways of the World Power Concert as they are instrumental to it's potential for success.
Richard N. Rosecrance is professor of political science at the University of California at Los Angeles.