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The U.S. confronts the difficult task of managing change peacefully as the BRICs’ economic rise redistributes power in the international system. I consider the insights from four approaches within international relations—Realism, Institutionalism, Constructivism and Liberalism—to draw out possible policy advice. While the first two offer useful thinking, their policies are in fact quite risky and difficult to implement. Constructivism, too, offers insights, but theories from this approach do not articulate practical policy guidance. Liberals direct our attention to the domestic sources of state preferences, suggesting not only how to influence future systemic change, but also identifying ways to make Realist or Institutionalist policies towards the BRICs more applicable and effective.