The influence of domestic politics on states’ international affairs is a recurring theme in international relations. But how applicable is this two-level model to contemporary China?
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The German sociologist Wolfgang Streeck, in his article titled ‘The Return of the Repressed’, spoke of how the current international system is undergoing a period of interregnum. This term, coined by Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, denotes a period where an old order is in the process of dying yet a new one has yet to emerge, which is marred by deep instability, insecurity and a “great variety of moribund symptoms”. While Streeck’s application of the term focuses on capitalism, it could easily be used to describe the status of the liberal international order that has underpinned global interactions since the end of World War II.