Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Rise of China: Not Peaceful at all

A recent piece in The Australian argues that China's rise is going to be problematic.

China's neighbours are certain to fear its rise as well, and they too will do whatever they can to prevent it from achieving regional hegemony.

Indeed, there is already substantial evidence that countries such as India, Japan, and Russia, as well as smaller powers such as Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam, are worried about China's ascendancy and are looking for ways to contain it. In the end, they will join an American-led balancing coalition to check China's rise, much the way Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and even China, joined forces with the US to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Finally, given Taiwan's strategic importance for controlling the sea lanes in East Asia, it is hard to imagine the US, as well as Japan, allowing China to control that large island. In fact, Taiwan is likely to be an important player in the anti-China balancing coalition, which is sure to infuriate China and fuel the security competition between Beijing and Washington.

The picture I have painted of what is likely to happen if China continues its rise is not a pretty one. I actually find it categorically depressing and wish that I could tell a more optimistic story about the future.

But the fact is that international politics is a nasty and dangerous business and no amount of goodwill can ameliorate the intense security competition that sets in when an aspiring hegemon appears in Eurasia.

That is the tragedy of great power politics.

The fact is that when one hegemon replaces another, the usual result is a series of wars. Hegemony-making is a bloody mess.

UPDATE: Budding Sinologist commented:

John Mearsheimer has quite a history of being wrong as noted by Logan Wright in his analysis of this same article and a commenter pointed out in my post on the same subject. Of course Mearsheimer thinks China will be the next threat, he is an offensive realist (actually he is the father thereof). I love Logan's title: "Offensive Realism and China: 'I'm right, just wait longer...'"



4 comments:

Sun Bin said...

still talking about taiwan and sea lanes? LOL

Anonymous said...

Exactly, who cares about the stupid sea lanes, gas, islands, and politics? Merely pebbles on the path towards the glorious rise of the mighty Chinese. Yes, I can see it now, wise one.

Budding Sinologist said...

John Mearsheimer has quite a history of being wrong as noted by Logan Wright in his analysis of this same article and a commenter pointed out in my post on the same subject. Of course Mearsheimer thinks China will be the next threat, he is an offensive realist (actually he is the father thereof). I love Logan's title: "Offensive Realism and China: 'I'm right, just wait longer...'"

oooh said...

How would you know that China is telling the truth about # of nuclear weapons it has?

Why would you know Russia is not concerned about great power competition?

Blue-water navy you said?
Then what on earth are they buying more subs, building their own nuclear subs, and carriers?

Why would not China attempt to join international institutions as the Chinese saying "know your enermy, then you shall be victorious"?

Why would you know Chinese officials mean what they claim?

Why would not China negotiate border settlements with India, Russia, and Kazakhstan so they dont have to deal with them all at once?

Why wouldn't a democratic China still be interested in a military solution to the Taiwan issue? Without Taiwan, wouldn't mother China be incomplete? Wouldn't such scenario hurt the feeling of all Chinese?