This presentation first demonstrates that the current international system has returned to bipolarity by pointing to the narrowing power gap between China and the US, the widening power gap between China and any third ranking power, and the similar distribution of capabilities between the contemporary international system and the previous bipolar system. Second, it argues that Waltz's neorealist theory remains unfinished since he did not compare bipolar systems. Since no studies have compared states balancing behavior or examined the relative stability between two bipolar systems, the third objective is to refine Waltz's structural realist theory and present a new geostructural realist theory.
Øystein Tunsjø is Professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies at the Norwegian Defence University College. Tunsjø is author of The Return of Bipolarity in World Politics: China, the United States and Geostructural Realism (Columbia University Press, 2018); Security and Profits in China's Energy Policy: Hedging Against Risk (Columbia University Press, 2013), and US Taiwan Policy: Constructing the Triangle (London: Routledge, 2008). Tunsjø holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MA from Griffith University, Australia. Tunsjø was a visiting Fulbright scholar at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University, during spring term of 2010.