China And Us Essay

1846 words - 8 pages

In the current anarchic world, The United States acts as the global hegemon. However, China’s recent rise to power has lead international relations experts, Ikenberry, Mearsheimer, Subramanian, and Friedberg, to predict an upcoming power shift in the international system. China’s increasing control over the Asia-Pacific region has threatened U.S. power. According to Waltz, the realism paradigm interprets the anarchic structure of the international community, as a constant power struggle. Although each country may be different, to survive, they must all strive for power. Under the liberalism paradigm, the system is still anarchical but cooperation may be achieved by shared norms, and aligned political and economical interests. Nevertheless, because of the desire for power, and other accompanying issues such as threats to security, and differences in political views, the U.S. and China will engage in future military conflict.
A brief background of the international distribution of power will be helpful in understanding the premises for the realist argument. Currently, our world resides in a unipolar world, with U.S. as the global hegemony. Mearsheimer defines a hegemon as “a country that is so powerful that it dominates all other states” and when “no other state has the military wherewithal” to contest that power. Post WWII, a high bipolarity system existed between two major powers: the Soviet Union and the U.S. Although Waltz argues for the stability of a bipolar structure, the insecurity within the nature of the international system eventually resulted in the Cold War. The Cold War left the major powers, except for the U.S., in economic shambles. Thus, the U.S. faced unprecedented and unrivaled economic and political power and seized its place as the global hegemon. The current China to U.S. relationship faces similar characteristics seen during Pre-Cold War, such as real insecurity that results in immense internal balancing.
Given this background, the realism lens sheds light on the inevitability of future conflict between U.S and China. Overwhelming desire for power by both countries contributes most strikingly to this issue. Snyder claims that realism failed to predict the Cold War. Given this, Mearsheimer states “China cannot rise peacefully.” Since realists describe the world as a self-help system, according to Posen, every country “must look to its own interests relative to those of others” and because “security is the preeminent issue in an anarchic world, the distribution of capabilities to attack and defend should matter.” Thus, because China’s strive for regional hegemony inevitably threatens the power dynamic of the global system, the U.S. will, according to Mearsheimer, take an offensive realist approach that will eventually lead to war. In addition, as seen in post-Cold War, economic stability greatly determines the distribution of power. Friedberg notes, that the projected “speed and magnitude of China’s growth in recent...

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