Sandhurst Trends in International             Conflict Series Symposium 4

Key questions to be explored might include:
  • How can we measure and understand the concept of 'Great Power' in the contemporary international security environment?


  • Is the term 'Great Power' useful for characterising particular states, and perhaps other actors such as the European Union? If so, how and in what ways? If not, how might such actors be better characterised?


  • Are Great Power relations in the contemporary international system more likely to develop along essentially co-operative or essentially competitive lines? What, if anything, can be done to mitigate the nature – or at least the effects – of Great Power competition?


  • Are there particular axes or flashpoints for potential conflict amongst Great Powers today? If so, how might we better understand what they are and where they are located?


  • What are the implications of the return of Great Power politics and competition for contemporary strategy-making?


Great Power Competition and the Return of Inter-state Conflict?
Wednesday 4th March, 2020

Recently, the academic and practitioner worlds have become increasingly preoccupied with two related debates. Firstly, the apparent revival of ‘Great Power’ competition and the extent to which this is shaping the contemporary international security environment. Secondly and relatedly, there is rising interest in – and concern about – the re-emergence of ‘traditional’ state-based and inter-state forms of conflict. To take just two examples: speculation about the possibility of conflict between the US and China is being mooted with growing frequency today – something that would have been hard to imagine even five years ago. In the Middle East meanwhile, the potential for regional conflict involving some or all of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the US and Russia also appears to be an increasingly real possibility to some observers.

Keynote address

By Professor Patrick Porter (University of Birmingham)

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