Nov. 4, 2020
10. Rogues, Disrupters, and Spoilers in an Era of Great Power Competition
This chapter reviews the interests and behavior of Russia, Iran, and North Korea, so-called rogue, disrupter, and spoiler states. Motivated by goals ranging from a desire for regime survival to aspirations for regional dominance and even global relevance, these countries threaten to divert U.S. attention and resources away from the imperatives of Great Power competition and draw the United States into escalating and destructive crises. At first glance, then, there might appear to be strong incentives for China to form enduring, fully cooperative relationships with each of these countries. Yet this chapter also finds that Russian, Iranian, and North Korean provocative behavior is not uniformly beneficial for China, and the prospect of a robust and fully cooperative anti-U.S. axis in 2020 remains remote. U.S. policymakers should anticipate the threat from each of these states to persist, but not necessarily to become more pronounced, as U.S.-Chinese competition intensifies.