Date of Graduation

Winter 12-13-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Filip Kovacevic

Second Advisor

Olivier Bercault


This thesis explores the U.S. eroding global military advantage in light of the current changing security environment. First, I examine the process and type of erosion taking place. I expand the existing debate and show that the erosion is not defined in monetary terms but in terms of the declining U.S influence within the established rule-based international order. Secondly, I use China and Russia as case-studies to define the present geopolitical rivalries and the (re)emergence of revisionist powers. Both China and Russia aim to shape the emerging international order and threaten the U.S. national security with the increased inter-state competition. Thirdly, I employ the techniques of discourse, document and graph analyses to draw conclusions about the various factors contributing to the erosion.

These factors can be divided into two broad categories: the categories of internal and external factors. The internal factors encompass the U.S force posture in terms of its hardline policies as well as the increased concentration within the U.S military industrial complex which curbs competition and innovation and leads to controlled government contracts and the prioritization of corporate interests over national security interests. The external factors include the present global “disorder” characterized by inter-state competition, mainly Russia’s military advancement in the global defense industry and China’s expansionist economic and military agenda. China’s case-study concludes that its Belt Road Initiative is used as an economic tool for military expansion into various regions of Asia, Middle East and Africa. On the other hand, Russia’s case-study makes the connection between its increased market share in the global defense industry hampering U.S defense corporations’ arms sales and its challenge to the U.S influence in global affairs. While Russia provides a cost-conditionalities benefit to non-NATO members in its arms sales, it also seeks to impact the future of the U.S. relationship with NATO, which contains military implications for Europe as well as for the global order.

Lastly, this thesis analyzes the shifting of alliances and the process of the formation of a new-world order in which the U. S. military superiority is at stake. It concludes that there is a way back for the United States to restore and sustain its global military edge based on the framework defined in my research. The findings and strategies outlined for restoration are subject to certain conditions and limitations which can determine the fate of the U.S. military might.