IGA 116. Great Power Competition in the International System


  • Professor: Nicholas Burns
  • Term: Fall
  • Time: TBA
  • School: Harvard Kennedy School
  • Course ID: 170282

The global balance of power is changing dramatically. This course focuses on the compelling transformation we are witnessing: the rise of China to great power status; the changing nature of European and Russian power; the new roles that India, Brazil, South Africa and others are exercising in global politics; and, most importantly, the change in U.S. leadership under President Donald Trump's America First agenda. Our major objective will be to discuss and debate whether nations can find ways to cooperate in addressing the most consequential challenges ahead in this still new century—climate change and changing energy dynamics; nuclear proliferation, cyber threats, the scourge of pandemics, the refugee crisis, and other issues. We will also examine competition among the great powers in the North Korea nuclear crisis, the South and East China Seas, the Middle East wars, and renewed divisions in Europe. We will conclude the course by investigating what the world power balance might look like in 2050 and by examining the more positive economic, technological and social trends that should give us some hope as we think about the global future.