Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Frederic S. Pearson


After the Cold War, International Relations has seen a resurgence of interest in the study of regional powers. Scholars have been paying increasing attention to regional powers as important actors in world politics and studying their foreign policy, but few if any studies have discussed the behaviors of regional power comprehensively and comparatively. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of regional power foreign policy strategies and behaviors by analyzing them comprehensively and comparatively. Unlike previous studies on cooperation and conflict within regions, this study focuses on the reasons for the strategic tendencies and motivations of regional hegemons and great powers and their effects on regional cooperation and conflict. Moreover, departing from Hegemonic Stability Theory, this study also aims to explore similarities and differences between regional and global hegemonic foreign policy strategies. With its focus on the post-Cold War period, this study uses an overall aggregate data analysis of regional cooperation and conflict to test region-level adaptation of HST propositions. This study also uses the method of structured and focused case comparison to present an in-depth analysis of different types of regional powers including Brazil (an allied and non-overlapped case), South Africa (an un-allied and non-overlapped case), India (an un-allied and overlapped case), Germany (an allied and non-overlapped case), and Iran (an un-allied and overlapped case). The aggregate data analysis supported region-level adaption of HST propositions which revealed that HST is applicable to regional-level. Consistent with the aggregate data analysis, the comparative case study method illustrates that even though regional conditions, material capabilities, and the overlapped membership factor affect foreign policy strategies and behaviors of a regional hegemon, regional hegemony plays a stabilizing role with its intervention in regional conflicts and promotion of regional cooperation.