This paper introduces a categorization of these ‘contexts’ in the form of global rivalry environments. Diehl and Goertz applied the natural science model of ’natural equilibrium’ to the concept of rivalries and develop an ’equilibrium model of enduring rivalries’ (Diehl and Goertz 2000, 132), stating that states (after an initial major shock) rapidly ’lock in’ to enduring rivalries, which then change little until their quick demise (partly caused by another major shock). This implies that rivalries create a certain stable environment. Whenever this environment experiences a sudden and major shock, it forces the actors to accommodate to this shock until it develops a new equilibrium or environment. This paper proposes to take an even broader view of this process. Combining the framework of the leadership long cycle and the concept of rivalries we are able to identify global long cycle environments that determine the way rivalries are established, how they ‘behave,’ and how they end. Just as major shocks cause the equilibria of interstate rival behavior to rearrange and create a new stable environment, so do major global shocks create a phase of transition after which a new global environment is established in which the rivalries take place. Or, to put it differently, the global rivalry environments set the stage on which the individual rivalries take place.