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16 IPS Notes - IPS Notes Emerging Rivalries China and Final...

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IPS Notes 3/12/09 Emerging Rivalries: China and Final Summary Realists are most outspoken about the future of China Is a rising China a threat to the U.S.? It has been argued since 400 BC that war is most likely when an imbalance of power (realist thought) hegemonic argument o Sparta (land power) engaged in preventative war o Athens was rising power (sea) o Other similar situations: o Europe prior to WWI: Britain dominant (sea) Germany rising (land and sea) o Europe and Asia prior to WWII US dominant (sea) japan rising (sea) o US and China today US dominant (strong sea power) China rising Some scholars and policymakers have argued that conflict or war with China is inevitable. Do you think this is true? o I do not think this is true o Economic interdependence makes this situation very costly; China depends too much on exports At the moment, China is experiencing unrest related to the global economic downturn; the CCP depends on economic performance for legitimacy Chinese investors fund the US but they also depend on it for a stable place to invest (treasuries are safest place) o China is demonstrating some socialization in the international system and it is possible that it will gain more pwr in int’l institutions just as other emerging economies like Brazil, Russia, and India hope to. o China isn’t the only country that wants more power in int’l institutions, and these institutions are likely to have to undergo transformation What we Know: o China’s capabilities! China has the ability to become a great pwr. Vast territory Rich resources Lg pop o Not sure how far along China is, and how long it might take to become a new world econ and military pwr, but we know that it has the raw materials to do it. o In short, we know what China’s capabilities are likely to be What we don’t know: o China’s intentions: much of how the world responds will depend on what they believe China will do w/ its vast capabilities Will it be peace-loving? Over time? Optimists believe that China cares more about econ development than territorial expansion Or aggressive? Over time?
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Pessimists believe that as its pwr increases, China will be less status quo oriented What do different theories predict? o Realists: trouble Rising powers tend to have expansionist aim. As capabilities grow, leaders seek more influence-want better deals Often challenge existing territorial boundaries and int’l institutional arrangement. Or they create a security dilemma Even if measures are purely defensive, they still arouse alarm and cause countermeasures o Other countries will see China investing in technology and wonder what its intentions are. Expansionist or Defensive?
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