The new literature on weaponized interdependence and its key concepts of panopticon and chokepoint advantages provides innovative ways of considering old questions about how states pursue policies in interdependent systems. As Farrell and Newman state, they’re drawing here on “sociological and computational research on large-scale networks,” and in particular they’ve homed in on one aspect. In the parlance of the network literature, they’re focused on the structural characteristics of nodes with disproportionately high “betweenness centrality”—a measure of the significance of a node as a “broker” between other, disconnected nodes. This is clearly a fruitful starting place, but it also opens the door to the application of other network characteristics to the study of the international system. This is already happening in some of the academic literature and has been advocated by some international relations scholars for more than a decade, but Farrell and Newman’s contribution demonstrates how these sometimes convoluted concepts can be translated and applied to the international relations context clearly and approachably, with direct policy implications.
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