International Relations-The Problem of the Rise of China
Introduction This research paper explores the issues related to the rise of China as one of contenders for world supremacy in terms of economic and political dominance. In the twenty first century several countries have been considered to have the potential of being superpowers and China has been seen as one of them. It has experienced massive economic growth and political development. The growth in its economy has resulted from the large skilled workforce and the efficient technology that is used in production. This has been accompanied by the strong security within its borders and the formation of a strong military base. Currently China has been able to lift a vast majority of its population from extreme poverty state. Matching this international rise are the threats posed to other competitors like the US and UK (Rapkin and Thompson, 45). China has become more developed than most of the western countries thus leading to political and economic independence, which is affecting its relations with the developed countries.
The United States is the only country that has in the present century experienced world supremacy. However, many scholars are of the opinion that this may change in the future as China is seen to be rising fast with the view to overtake the US position. The rise in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the improvement of its technology and reduction of unemployment rates are some of factors contributing to Chinas fast rise. In its desire to be a world super power the Chinese government put efforts to ensure that it first has the best economy in Asia.
Despite these milestones that China has attained it could encounter several obstacles in achieving world supremacy status. The obvious one being that it is not the only contender as other countries like the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan among others. China might be seen as the next world super power but this may not be entirely true as there are factors that are generated from within that act in the opposing direction. Some of the issues that the government will have to address include; the heightened levels of corruption, the intensive pollution in its cities, the inequality in income distribution and the existence of “shadow banking”.
Problem Statement China is one of the five best economies in the world today since its products and services have a global appeal (Schoenbaum, 96). The consistent growth rate in its economy has earned it a spot among the world’s strongest economies according to the World Bank report of 2013. This dominance is shaping the political ideology of the Chinese authority. Zheng (111), Chinese are looking at themselves as an independent and self-sufficient community that is autonomous and independent in its own style of operation. There have been tensions of late regarding Chinese government decisions regarding various international policies, which according to the US and its allies are seen as a threat to their international dominance (Ikenberry and Mastanduno, 87). The research wishes to establish the extent to which the rise of China is affecting international relations with a view of the impact on the previous balance of international power.
Research Questions The puzzle of how the rise and dominance of China is causing sleepless nights to its rivals like the US can be encapsulated in the following set of related questions:
- How does the rise of China cause problems to other world superpowers?
- Why the Chinese public opinion impact's the way it handles international relations?
- What is the nature of relations that China has with the developed countries like the US?
Literature review This research paper concentrates on the works done by various scholars, political analysts, foreign relations correspondents, as well as other researchers in analyzing the impact of the Chinese dominance on international relations and how this is causing problems between her and other developed countries. This section shall cover issues like nationalism, international relations theories, international negotiations and diplomacy, and strategic culture to analyze how they have contributed to the problem of the rise of China as one of the largest economies in the world.
The realists explained that the international system can be defined as anarchy. According to Waltz it is the absence of central authority. States are sovereign meaning they are autonomous of each other; relations between them can only be forged through coercion or by their own consent. This simply put implies that no single authority or society can dictate or direct relations between them. In an anarchy State power is vital. This is because in the hope to survive the states should to be able to defend themselves and therefore need to have the power to do so. According to realists power is seen in various ways; militarily power, economic power, diplomatic power but the ultimate determinant of international politics is the distribution of material.
This vision of the world rests on four assumptions (Mearsheimer 56). First, Realists claim that survival is the principal goal of every State. Foreign invasion and occupation are thus the most pressing threats that any State faces. Even if domestic interests, strategic culture, or commitment to a set of national ideals would dictate more benevolent or co-operative international goals, the anarchy of the international system requires that States constantly ensure that they have sufficient power to defend themselves and advance their material interests necessary for survival. Second, Realists hold States to be rational actors. This means that, given the goal of survival, States will act as best they can in order to maximize their likelihood of continuing to exist. Third, Realists assume that all States possess some military capacity, and no State knows what its neighbors intend precisely. The world, in other words, is dangerous and uncertain. Fourth, in such a world it is the Great Powers—the States with most economic clout and, especially, military might, that are decisive.
Realists differ on some issues. So-called offensive Realists maintain that, in order to ensure survival, States will seek to maximize their power relative to others (Mearsheimer 98). A country will not be safe if rival countries have enough power to threaten it. The best strategy for such a country would be Hegemony if it can. Defensive Realists, in contrast, believe that domination is an unwise strategy for State survival (Waltz 126). They argue that seeking hegemony may bring conflicts between the state and its peers. Defensive Realists advocate for balance of power which ensures even distribution of power and minimizes chances of states attacking each other. Realists’ overriding emphasis on anarchy and power leads them to a dim view of international law and international institutions (Mearsheimer 73).
In anarchy there is no hierarchical authority; Realists are of the view that law can only be enforced through the power of the State. Thus States may create international law and international institutions, and may enforce the rules they codify. However, it is not the rules themselves that determine why a State acts a particular way, but instead the underlying material interests and power relations. International law is thus a symptom of State behaviour, not a cause.
Liberalism is a more complex theory and less cohesive than Realism. The main view of the theory is that national features of individual States are essential for their international relations. This view contradicts that of the Realists, where all States are seen to have similar goals of pursuing self-interests of gaining wealth and surviving. Liberal theorists put emphasis on the unique conduct of liberal countries. One of the most prominent developments within liberal theory has been the phenomenon known as the democratic peace (Doyle, 90). It was first brought forward by Immanuel Kant; democratic peace is referred to as the absence of war between liberated countries. Scholars have subjected this claim to extensive statistical analysis and found, with perhaps the exception of a few borderline cases, it to hold (Brown Lynn-Jones and Miller, 58). However, international relations theorists are yet to create a convincing theory to explain why democratic States do not attack each other.
Edward Mansfield and Jack Snyder have convincingly explained that democratic states have a higher probability of going war than autocrats or liberals. Andrew Moravcsik used three core assumptions to develop a more general liberal theory of international relations, based on three core assumptions:
First individuals and private groups, not States, are the fundamental actors in world politics; Second States represent some dominant subset of domestic society, whose interests they serve; and thirdly the configuration of these preferences across the international system determines State behaviour (Moravcsik, 94). The distribution of power which is the role of information is considered a fixed constraint for the social state preferences.
This is not a theory but it provides a set of assumptions relating to the world and human motivation. It is based on rationalism and therefore we cannot say it supports either realism or liberalism. Constructivism functions by challenging the framework of the rationalists which is a guide many theories of international relation. The constructivists develop constructivist alternatives for each of the theories. In the Constructivist point of view, the variables of interest to scholars; military power, trade relations, international institutions and domestic preferences are not important because they are objective facts about the world, but rather because they have certain social meanings (Wendt 2000). Constructivists argue that the nuclear arsenals of the United Kingdom and China, though comparably destructive, have very different meanings to the United States that translate into very different patterns of interaction (Wendt 1995). Another example by Iain Johnston noted that China traditionally acted in accordance to Realist assumptions in international relations. It did not follow an objective structure of the international system but instead relied on its historical and strategic culture.
Constructivism puts more emphasis on the role of non-State actors. Scholars noted the role played by international actors like NGOs in changing a country’s beliefs on issues such as the use of land mines in battle or transnational trade. Such ‘norm entrepreneurs’ are able to influence State behaviour through rhetoric or other forms of lobbying, persuasion, and shaming (Keck and Sikkink). Constructivists also pointed out the role of international institutions. Constructivism explained that international bureaucracies would want to pursue their selfinterests
MethodologyIn this section of the research paper presents a detailed description of the methodology used. Beyond the relevant literature it includes the research design, method of data collection then narrow set of cases to be examined. The information shall be obtained from secondary sources of data where convenience sampling shall be used. The information shall be scrutinized, recorded and chronologically arranged in the results section of the main research paper.
- Research design
The research will be done using the review of the various materials. In doing this the research will aim at studying cases explained by previous researchers to address their shortcomings and improve on their work.
- Data collection
For this research paper the secondary type data will be used. This will include the use of both the internal and external sources. This will be obtained from different sources including books, journals and articles done in the past by different scholars.
- Data analysis
Analysis in this study will be done through comparison of the different information collected from the various sources. All data to be collected will be analyzed will be guided by a set of principles. This will include referring to the research questions, selecting the appropriate data to be scrutinized and finally presenting the findings of the analysis.
ConclusionThe research paper will deepen the understanding of how the prospect of dominance of China is causing discomfort among the largest economies in the world. This shall be viewed from an international relations perspective where issues like Chinese political independence and decision making regarding global issues are put into consideration.
Based on the literature review done in this paper it is evident that the realism theory presents the best case to explain the problem of the rise of China. According to the realists, they believed that states have the key goal of survival and are sovereign. It is therefore essential for states to maintain a balance of power which ensures even distribution of power and minimizes chances of states attacking each other. The realism theorists based their views using four assumptions. These assumptions clearly describe the problem of the desire for China to be a world superpower.The first assumption is that survival is the principal goal of every State that any form foreign invasion and occupation are thus the most pressing threats that any State faces. This can explain that China’s desire to join world supremacy may not be accommodated by other nations of the world. In its quest to be a world superpower China will change various international policies which would result in the destruction of other nation’s progress (Schoenbaum, 137). Secondly the realist were of the view that states are rational actors implying that, given the goal of survival states will act as best they can in order to maximize their likelihood of continuing to exist. The rise of China to world supremacy would mean invasion of other territories and imposing controls or polices that would interfere on their operations. This would translate as endangering the existence of some states especially the developing countries as they may end up being dominated.
Another critical assumption is that all States possess some military capacity, and no State knows what its neighbors intentions making it dangerous and uncertain. In view of China’s desire to rise to supremacy it may take for granted the capability of other states colluding to ensure its downfall. Their final assumption they claim that it is the Great Power, the States with most economic clout and, especially, military might, that are decisive. This may not be fully applicable but it could be used to explain that since there are several contenders for world supremacy China may not enjoy the autonomy of making international decisions.
In summary the rise of China to supremacy can be seen to have more negative impacts on the world operations as in its ambition to be a super power it may try to alter international policies.
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Rapkin, D. P., & Thompson, W. R. Transition scenarios: China and the United States in the twenty-first century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 2013
Schoenbaum, T. J. International relations: The path not taken: using international law to promote world peace and security. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2006
Zheng, Y. Discovering Chinese nationalism in China: Modernization, identity, and international relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1999
Zheng, Y. China and international relations: The Chinese view and the contribution of Wang Gungwu. London: Routledge. 2010