v17_2006m - Managing Uncertainty: Formulating a U.S. Grand...

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233 Managing Uncertainty: Formulating a U.S. Grand Strategy for China 12 M ANAGING U NCERTAINTY : F ORMULATING A U.S. G RAND S TRATEGY FOR C HINA Christopher E. Schildt This paper posits that in the face of uncertainty over China’s rise to power, traditional realist and liberal theories of international relations are impractical for formulating U.S. policy. Instead, this paper outlines a new way of thinking about international order and then uses a game theory model to analyze U.S.-Sino relations in light of this new framework. The model F nds that a mixed strategy equilibrium exists whereby the United States pursues both competitive and cooperative policies toward China. This U.S. policy of “guarded engagement” could induce Beijing to cooperate but leaves the United States prepared for con± ict if it does not. I NTRODUCTION China’s rising power presents a serious challenge to the international relations discipline. In both Washington and Beijing, policy makers are watchful of the other nation’s policies and are looking to international relations scholars for guidance. The advice an academic can offer differs drastically, however, based on the school of thought to which one belongs. The right advice could peacefully integrate China into the international community; the wrong advice could lead to war. On one hand, realists generally believe that states are the principal actors in international relations and that they exist in anarchy, or the absence of a central authority able to impose order on the system (Lynn-Jones and Miller 1995). States therefore tend to utilize the threat or use of force to Christopher E. Schildt is a Master of Public Affairs candidate at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University (christopher. [email protected]).
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234 Christopher E. Schildt ensure their power and security (Lynn-Jones and Miller 1995). Realists argue that China’s rise poses a direct security threat to the United States, and Washington should therefore take steps to contain Beijing. Liberals contend, on the other hand, that individual rather than states’ rights are the foundation of international order and that the spread of democracy and cooperative institutions will lead to world peace. Liberals therefore view the spread of multilateral institutions as a check on the misuse of Chinese power and advocate cooperating with Beijing through these institutions. Some scholars and policy makers view China’s rise as a return to the bipolarity that existed during the Cold War, when two superpowers domi- nated international affairs. China, however, is at present unlike the former Soviet Union and therefore requires new strategic thinking. Whereas Mos- cow after World War II had an expansionist, ideological agenda, thereby posing a direct threat to the West, Beijing has remained for the most part inwardly focused. China’s peaceful rise thus far makes it difF cult for U.S.
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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v17_2006m - Managing Uncertainty: Formulating a U.S. Grand...

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