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Perspectives on the Chinese Challenge to the International Order

Wayne Bert

International Studies Association
41st Annual Convention
Los Angeles, CA
March 14-18, 2000


The theme of a rising China is encountered with increasing frequency in the literature on China and the international system. 1 China, growing economically, has a larger diplomatic presence in international relations, and, it is assumed, will eventually translate these growing capabilities into military strength that will strengthen China’s position in the international system. Implied, and often made explicit is the suggestion that these capabilities will be used to challenge the position of the United States, leading to the China replacing the US as the dominant power in Asia, and eventually, globally. Some stress the US attempt to channel Chinese ambitions and to encourage China to conform to the status quo of the dominant system. "An established power," writes Andrew Nathan, "is attempting to induce a rising power to comply with preferred norms." 2 Two more alarmist analysts report that China is an "unsatisfied and ambitious power" whose goal is to dominate Asia, and that US and Chinese interests are bound to collide. 3 Others, more sympathetic to China’s view of its position in the international system, suggest that China’s posture is defensive, but that it is at the center of the Asian continent, crowded on all sides by powerful rivals and potential foes. China therefore sees danger in the new world order. 4

Whatever the slant, the increasing power of China as a challenge to the US has become a popular subject. But this pattern of interaction is historical and is not limited to relationship between the US and China. Violent conflict accompanied the rise of numerous powers in the international system. The purpose of this paper is to use the predominantly realist Power Transition Theory (PTT) originally sketched by A.F.K. Organski as an approach to understanding a power transition involving China. I first discuss Organski’s theory, then, relying on the realist elements of the PTT, discuss the structure of the international system and the dominant and potentially challenging powers, and some possible outcomes of China’s increasing capability and interest in asserting its influence. 5 I also consider factors from liberal theory, such as intent, domestic pressures, democratization and interdependence. I conclude that realist aspects of the PTT are most useful in suggesting the impact of China’s challenge to the international order, but that some liberal factors may be influences in shifting China’s behavior.


The Concept of A Power Transition

Organski’s PTT deals explicitly with the transference of power from one nation or group of nations to another, and the creation of a new international order. Organski’s approach assumes a world in which industrialization is the dominant force for changes in national capabilities, as new powers become powerful (defined broadly as GNP) through industrialization. He favorably contrasts the PTT to the balance-of-power system, which he considered more static, and which fails to account for increases in the power of individual states except through the forming of alliances. Since the world is industrializing at an uneven pace, some nations quickly, some slowly, any dominant power is subject to challenge by another nation.

The overall patterns of world politics in the modern era are caused by sharp differences in social, economic, and political modernization among and within nations. Differential modernization in turn causes shifts in the distribution of world power among states. It is these changes that underlie the wars and other conflicts of our era. The immensely complex patterns that create these shifts in power, the shifts themselves, and their consequences are not easily deflected by diplomacy or military power. 6

According to Organski, the most powerful nation heads an international order that includes other major powers of secondary importance and some minor nations as well. In the present period, the US is dominant after overtaking Britain during WWII. The British in turn had displaced France, previously dominant until Napoleon’s defeat on the battlefield in the early years of the 19th century. But the dominant power, in a stage of power maturity, is always subject to challenge by a new rapidly industrializing power in the stage of transitional growth, which may catch up with and overtake the dominant power. Just as England was challenged by Germany, Japan and the US, so the US was challenged by the Soviet Union, and now is being challenged by China, and potentially by Japan.

The greatest likelihood of war occurs when the military power of the dissatisfied challenger begins to approach that of the dominant power within the system, for the challenger will usually initiate a war to gain benefits, privileges and influence commensurate with its newly acquired military power. The key condition for war is neither the equality of capabilities per se nor the changes in those capabilities, but the interaction between these two variables. 7 The likelihood of war depends, among other things, on the nature and intention of the challenging power. If the power is dissatisfied and a revisionist power, it will challenge the dominant power for leadership, likely leading to war. If on the other hand, the challenging power is content to live within the current system, the transition from challenger to dominant power may be peaceful, as was the transition from Britain to the US. 8 But since China has historically been a dissatisfied power, and supported major revisions in the current system, its ascendancy suggests a greater chance of war. 9 In Organski’s view, it is a fallacy to say, as balance-of-power advocates insisted, that peace is most likely when two powers or two alliances are roughly even in power. His system reflects the view that it is when one nation is firmly in control of the international system that peace is most likely. The likelihood of war increases when another nation makes gains toward acquiring the same or greater capabilities as the dominant nation. Organski distances himself somewhat from the entire idea of an international system as anarchic. An international order has striking similarities to a national society. It is "legitimized by an ideology and rooted in the power differential of the groups that compose it." 10 Peace is possible only when those with preponderant power control the system and are satisfied with the path of the system’s development. Peace is threatened whenever a nation dissatisfied with the status quo attains the capabilities to provide a challenge to the nation controlling the dominant order. 11

Organski’s system does not make conflict inevitable, however. He states explicitly that the likelihood of avoiding war with China as it continues to industrialize is aided by the fact that it is recognized early-on as a nation with a large population that will inevitably become a powerful nation. Consequently, the US and other nations have been given a long period to adjust to this future, and given the inevitability of China’s eventual superior power, may be more willing to accept that reality and grant China its coveted place in the system without going to war.

Organski also believes that a rapid increase in the power of the challenger may create overconfidence and contribute to a willingness on the challengers part to start a war which they cannot win. Japan and Germany initiated war before they had the power to win a war against the dominant powers, and following that pattern, Organski believed that war is most likely prior to the time that challengers are even in capabilities with the dominant power, rather than when they are equal or even more powerful than the dominant country. Jack Levy disagrees, pointing out that the most likely point for initiation of war by the challenger is after it reaches the power level of the dominant power. Why would the challenger not wait until its increasing power gives it a decisive advantage over the dominant power? Left unanswered as well, is why the challenged power would not initiate preventive war to protect its position from the challenger threatening to replace it as the ruling power while that opportunity is still available. 12

Elaborating on his position that factors other than the relative power of the countries are important, Organski stresses that a flexible stance on the part of the dominant power and a tradition of friendship with the challenger are both a deterrent to the eventual outbreak of war.


The United States and the Dominant System

The current international system matches Organski’s model well. There is broad agreement and substantial evidence of US dominance of the system. G. John Ikenberry argues that the real international order, created under US leadership, is the commitment to the open world economy, multilateral management of the Western political-economic order, and the stabilization of economic welfare. That system remains in place even after the cold war, it is the core of world order. 13 This post-World War II liberal democratic order was designed to solve the problems of Western industrial capitalism, a strategy to build Western solidarity through economic openness and creation of a predictable and institutionalized system. American thinkers in the 1930s and 1940 realized that the US needed secure markets and supplies of raw materials in Europe and Asia. President Roosevelt and Churchill forged agreement on the outlines of the system and the post-war Bretton Woods agreement was the first concrete economic institution to emerge. The importance of this system in testified to by the intensity by which the Chinese have pursued membership in the order’s newest manifestation, the World Trade Organization (WTO), created in 1995. From Latin American to Europe and Asia, those countries that wish to be part of the modern industrialized world and the emerging global order must be integrated into it. Countries remaining outside the system are sharply disadvantaged in their economic well being. By far the largest economy in the system is the US (Table 1), which has a disproportionate influence even in the multilateral institutions that are part of the system. And even though the strategic goals and diplomatic objectives of the US have lost focus since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the bipolar system, it position as a military power is still clear.

Table 1 : Population and GNP of Major Countries Militarily Involved in Asia.
  Country Population (000s) GNP ($ millions--1997)
US 267,636 7,783,092
Japa 126,091 4,812,103
China 1,227,177 1,055,372
Russia 147,307 394,861
India 962,378 357,391
Indonesia 200,390 221,533

World Bank Atlas, 1999

The term unipolar is often used to describe the US position, especially its political and military position, and it is widely accepted that the US is the primary power in a unipolar system. 14 The vast advantage in GNP enjoyed by the US (Table 1) is matched by its military advantage. Samuel P. Huntington suggests the international structure most congruent with my view. He argues that the US has moved from a brief unipolar moment at the end of the cold war into a uni-multipolar configuration, where the US has preeminence in every domain of power, but at the second level are major regional powers, which are the dominant powers in various areas of the world. In this relationship between the superpower and the major regional powers, the superpower would prefer a unipolar world, and the regional powers would prefer a multipolar world, but each makes the compromises it must make given the current configuration of power. 15 Exactly how preponderant the US is and whether it is desirable to maintain that position is controversial. According to Wilkinson, the US is a unipolar power, a "superpower capable of conducting or organizing politico-military action anywhere in the world system," but he believes it is a unipolarity without hegemony. Hegemony is present in a system when there is a unipolar structure of influence to match the unipolar structure of capabilities. 16 Surveying 11 relationships that connote hegemony, he concludes that almost all the evidence that might show the existence of US hegemony is found in America’s relationship with small and middle powers--the great powers are less malleable. Furthermore, it appears that "those who complain most /about hegemony/, comply least," thus undermining their case. 17

Attempting to explain what he calls US open hegemony, Ikenberry notes that the system that the US led the way in creating after WW II has fared well because of the connecting and restraining aspects of democracy and institutions reduce the incentives for Western nations to engage in strategic rivalry or balance against US hegemony. Neorealism, stressing the constant preoccupation of nations with increasing power and balance against dominant nations cannot explain this state of affairs. The strength of this order is attested to by the longevity of its institutions, alliances and arrangements, based on their legitimacy in the eyes of the participants. Reacting against the closed autarchic regions that had contributed to the world depression and split the globe into competing blocs before the war, the US led the way in constructing a postwar order that was based on 1) economic openness, 2) joint management of the Western political-economic order--a natural extension of the policies being tried in individual Western industrial societies, and 3) rules and institutions that were organized to support domestic economic stability and social security.

This order in turn was built around a basic bargain: the hegemonic state obtains commitments from secondary states to participate in the international order, and the hegemon in return places limits on the exercise of its power. The advantage for the weak state is that it does not fear domination or abandonment, reducing the incentive to balance against the hegemon, and the leading state does not need to use its power to enforce order and compliance. It is these restraints on both sides and the willingness to participate in this mutual accord that explains the longevity of the system, even after the end of the cold war, an event which realists expected to end the cooperation and close ties among the Western nations and Japan. 18 And this legitimate international order can be expected to persist, since it still attracts adherents (including China) and although there are potential challengers, there is no competing world order for the challengers to promote as their alternative contribution to the economic well being and structure of the international order. But as the founder and defender of this international order, the US, far from being a domineering hegemon, was a reluctant superpower. 19 If it continues that stance, the prospects for the continued dominance of the system will be enhanced.


China as a Challenger

Political/Economic Capabilities

In the debate over China’s prospects for survival and economic growth that could capitulate it to status as a dominant regional power, and eventually a global superpower, an observer could be pardoned for believing that the different groups of participants are talking about two different countries. 20 China is an inviting target for such a debate. The present system has its origins in a popular takeover by the Communist Party of China in 1949, and it has forever after followed a highly unorthodox path toward the development and establishment of a strong Chinese state. Departing from Stalinist orthodoxy, it embarked on Mao’s own developmental Great Leap Forward. A second mass mobilization, the Cultural Revolution, this time aimed at purging and educating the opposition to Mao, resulted in massive disruption and ultimately cynicism among the populace. After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping softened the dictatorial role of the party and began extensive economic reforms. China is now faced with carrying out economic reforms and continuing its record of rapid growth, with an outmoded political system which, to some degree at least, lacks legitimacy, but does not allow alternatives to develop.

Some argue that the only way the government can compensate for the discredited and illegitimate ruling communist party and leadership in order to prevent massive civil unrest, is to sustain a rapid growth rate in order to gain a substitute legitimacy. 21 There is reason to doubt the conventional wisdom that the government otherwise lacks legitimacy. 22 But what if it is legitimate? Lardy believes that extrapolation of past growth into the indefinite future is "highly problematic." Observers put too much emphasis on factors showing success, and ignore deep structural problems. He believes that reform will need to accelerate significantly for China to maintain moderately rapid economic growth. Two of the most pressing problems, according to Lardy’s analysis, are the large liabilities of banks and economic enterprises relative to their assets. He is pessimistic about finding the required capitalization to deal with this debt (most of it generated in the 1990s). Added to this are other problems, such as environmental deterioration, infrastructure needs, especially roads, and the problem of sustaining agriculture growth. 23 Lardy accepts the prediction of the World Bank that the rate of economic growth will fall to five percent by the year 2020, at which time China will be the second largest economy in the world, with a per capita income equal to Portugal. 24

Others find Lardy’s pessimism unjustified. Peter Bouttellie, the World Bank economist, finds that China has been much more careful in management of foreign debt than many developing countries, and that it has been very successful in taking advantage of World Bank assistance for the biggest multi-national development effort in history. The quality of leadership is excellent, and the elite’s technical competence is on a par with the best in the developing world. Zhu Rongji has assembled a great team and China should get high marks for its forthright dealing with domestic crises. 25

One analysis asserts that the small amount of cultivatable land available for China’s large population, the contradictions between the growing population and the need for flexibility in meeting economic needs, on the one hand, and the communist party dictated economic and political control, on the other, will lead to collapse in China in 10-15 years. Citing the growing experience of freedom and the consequent rising expectations, the necessity for tens of millions to migrate from the countryside, the growing incident of peasant uprisings and the demise in central authority in favor of the regions, and continued harassment of the business community, a replay of 1911 (when the Qing dynasty collapsed) is predicted. 26 But the counter argument to these catastrophic predictions are convincing. Competitive elections for village-level officials have now been held in 80% of the Chinese villages in the countryside, many apparently competitive with substantial turnover of officials. The average tenure for provincial officials (appointed at the center) has declined with the progressive introduction of reforms, and the number of provinces represented on the Politbureau has increased. The government is able to collect the revenue required to govern, inflation is low compared, for example, to Eastern Europe, and critics of the present system overestimate the kind of control pre-reform governments had. Furthermore, it is wrong to argue that local independence and autonomy are signs of political disintegration when they are granted by the central government to begin with. The argument from critics that uneven growth and income polarization have occurred among provinces is wrong. In fact, the poorer interior provinces have grown at a faster than average rate. 27 This may been made possible in part because of the widespread migration to the cities, which acts as a kind of leveling device. 28

The argument for stability and continuity carries the day. While the present regime in Beijing certainly has its shortcomings, the continued willingness to promote economic reform and a degree of political liberalization have allowed it to buy time, and probably will continue dampen the threat of revolt. China has its problems, but they are not of a magnitude that is likely to lead to severe disruptions or the collapse of the system. The pessimists, who are harshly critical of the regime’s chances, perhaps fail to put China’s accomplishments in the context of the other developing countries. The regime has come a long way in two decades of reform. The fact that it does not yet meet Western standards and is not likely to for decades to come, reflects as much the differing culture of China as it does a failure of the regime. Evaluating China’s potential as a challenger in the international system, we now turn to military capabilities.

Military Capabilities

Possibly even more controversial than the issue of China’s survival as a political/economic entity is the pace and timing of its emergence as a great power. Estimates on when China will be a dominant power in the region or a "serious threat", vary from the year 2004 to the years 2030-2050. 29 Obviously, what kind of military capability China develops depends much on what happens with the economic issues just discussed. Modernization of China’s military will be an extremely expensive endeavor. The analysts most critical of China’s increasing military capabilities, Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, do not give a systematic overview of China’s military capabilities, but talk more about its objectives. To the extent they do discuss military preparedness, they tend to avoid issues that most analysts focus heavily on: the lack of aircraft carriers or refueling capability, the lack of funds for military modernization, and the lack of a culture of technical knowledge to build and run a modern military. 30 More mainstream commentators focus on not only the specifics of weapons procurement, but rather what the acquiring military establishment may be able to actually do with the equipment. 31 Paul Dibb states categorically that "no country in the region/Asia/--now or foreseeably--possesses true power projection forces." 32 China does not have long-range bombers, has no aircraft carriers, and its amphibious assault capability is improving for small-scale assaults in distant areas such as the South Sea islands, but larger-scale amphibious assault forces are still limited in capability against strong opposition forces (such as Taiwan). 33 The revolution in military affairs has not yet been mastered by China and other Asian countries. China’s view of the future battlefield was fundamentally affected by its observation of the new technology in the Gulf War. But since that war, technology has moved on to another dimension of using communications and information-processing technologies together, and to integrate complex military information systems in real time. Crucial to this phase of development is information, something that depends on innovative educations systems, flexible organizational cultures, and democratized societies compatible with the free flow of information. It goes without saying that China has a long way to go on all of these dimensions.

China currently spends 25% of what the US spends on defense, while supporting forces twice as large, and would have to spend $22-39 billion more annually for ten years to wield a force capable of significant power projection. By 2010, the Defense Intelligence Agency reported, 10% of China’s military will have late cold war equivalent equipment, and be reasonably proficient at employing it. 34 A RAND study of the Chinese air force reports that this large but antiquated force is mostly based on 1950s and 1960s technology and has little possibility of "emerging as a serious global offensive threat in the early 21st century," given current and expected political, economic and military conditions. Leadership and strategy, budgets, manpower and technology are all factors delaying modernization. Whether China attempts to buy aircraft, spares and equipment from abroad to make China a credible military power, or attempts to create an indigenous manufacturing capability, the expense will be tremendous. 35

Given that China is currently ill-prepared, and will be for some time, to undertake effective action in those areas where it currently seems most prone to use military force, Taiwan and the Spratlys, and this even without the threat of US intervention, it is probably conservative to suggest that China will not be able to conduct major military operations far from its borders for another 10-20 years. But this does not mean it could not create havoc near its borders (in Vietnam) or against a foe with a weak and poorly prepared military (the Philippines), or even against Taiwan if it were prepared to pay the costs--economic, political, and in international public opinion. 36 But only by looking at China’s intentions and foreign policy objectives can we get a balanced picture of its likely impact on the US and the international system.

Is China a Dissatisfied Power?

In addition to growing capabilities, the second crucial determinant of the behavior of a rising power, according to Organski, is whether it is a satisfied or dissatisfied power. A useful framework for defining dissatisfaction may be that used by Samuel Kim to study the UN. He found system-transforming, system-reforming and system maintaining behavior. 37 I believe these categories can fruitfully be used to categorize China’s degree of satisfaction in the international system. System maintaining behavior indicates satisfaction with the status quo. System transforming behavior is behavior aimed at changing the basic norms and procedures of the system to conform to those preferred by China, while system reforming behavior is a middle ground which combines a degree of dissatisfaction with objectives that fall short of major changes to the system as a whole. It is hard to find much system transforming behavior by the Chinese. There is no overall vision of an alternative system, and Chinese foreign policy actions can in almost all cases be explained as behavior that fits the less radical categories.

Chinese leaders would say that in many ways China is dissatisfied, but it is not clear that a laundry list of grievances and objectives add up to a profile of a nation that is willing to endure considerable sacrifice to change the international system. In East Asia China is already accorded "a place at the table" on important regional issues. It is viewed as either the one power or one of several powers that must be considered in any decision that the entire region or regional issues that affect China. China’s regional importance is widely recognized and the probable rapid increase in its influence is assumed. 38 It global influence is much less, and its potential increase more limited, but that also is increasing rapidly. It is partly for these reasons that China is not interested in promoting system-transforming behavior, and often engages in system-maintaining behavior. Since it is "upwardly mobile" and is fast moving beyond the humiliations of the past and gradually but surely its status in the system is improving. There are therefore more incentives to work within the system than to challenge it on a broad front.

At a time when there is a rising nationalism in a China that is appearing more assertive in Asia, ironically the international and regional environment in which China finds itself is more benign than has been the case for many years. The cold war has ended, and Russia, in spite of its proximity and long border with China, is currently no threat to China. On the contrary, it is being relied upon as an arms supplier, and their is increasing talk of a "strategic cooperative partnership" between the two countries. Settlement of border issues, increased trade and economic interaction, and a common suspicion and criticism of a dominant US role suggest that Russia can be counted on China’s side on many international issues. 9 This is a momentous change in the nature of the relationship, creating an environment where China can concentrate on domestic matters and international economic issues. China has no major conflicts or quarrels with other nations in the region. The one jarring exception to the increasingly quiet neighborhood is that of India going nuclear, even though that particular threat is aimed primarily at Pakistan. China’s border problems and quarrels with India have receded in the past decades, but this development cannot help but be unsettling for Beijing.

China now is on good terms with Vietnam and there are no other particularly threatening problems in Southeast Asia. It is undoubtedly this sanguine situation that has allowed the Chinese to focus on the US as the "hegemonic" power in the international system, the only power that in alliance with the Japanese, can frustrate China’s designs in Asia, whether in Taiwan or the any of the island territories with which China has disputes with its neighbors. That the US options in Asia are limited and that it is not likely to become militarily involved in a way directly contradictory to Chinese interests except on the most crucial of security interests may not be of much comfort to the Chinese, but does mean the Chinese themselves can determine the degree of risk to their interests that they wish to introduce into the Asian environment.

By far the most obvious source of frustration and dissatisfaction is China’s claim on Taiwan as an integral part of the motherland. Another territorial claim that worries its Southeast Asian neighbors is that on the Spratly islands as Chinese territory. While the Spratly dispute is certainly a problem, it seems likely China will pursue it through a combination of bilateral and multilateral negotiation and minor and low-risk military actions with no urgent timetable. 40 But Taiwan pertains to a claim for "the great cause of national unification" in which the Chinese see absolutely no ambiguity and for which public pronouncements in principle suggest no hint of a willingness to compromise, is a different matter. Undoubtedly Taiwan is one of China’s highest priorities, but it is not clear how soon and in exactly what form they expect to translate the abstract one China formula, to which most of the world subscribes, into a more concrete form that China can consider an appropriate solution. 41 Beyond these two disputes, most of the situations that have led to major conflict since 1949, disputes in Korea, India, Russia and Vietnam, seem to be dormant and under control, even if not finally settled. Therefore, the major disputes, Taiwan and the Spratly Islands, suggest system-reforming behavior on the part of the Chinese, since they are requesting (admittedly major) adjustments in the international order, but piecemeal changes rather than principled changes affecting the entire system.

Apparently the Chinese leadership does not fully appreciate the benign nature of the environment described above. The PRC has lost the diplomatic maneuverability and the strategic value provided by the cold war, seen Taiwan achieve new confidence and international respect, witnessed the demise of Marxism-Leninism, and seen the demonstration of US capabilities in the Gulf War and feels no less threatened than in the 1980s. 42 This cognitive dissidence can be attributed to the fact that the threat is now primarily political, not military. No one is seriously threatening China’s physical security. It is status of the leadership and of China that the elites believe is threatened. A declaration of independence by Taiwan would be threatening to China only symbolically, but the best way to increase the likelihood of that is to threaten Taiwan. In the end, it is the communist party that is threatened, and the leadership’s loyalty to the party’s vision makes imagined threats real. China could make more progress in bringing about a unified China that included Taiwan if it would democratize and assure Taiwan adequate autonomy. 43 But the leadership insists on maintaining the present system, which is not compatible with such behavior. Democratization would threaten the party and the present elite.

Chinese advocacy for an alternative view of the international system (system-transforming advocacy) would point toward China being a disatisfied or revisionist power. No such view exists, however, in any coherent form. While it may be asking too much for any challenger to present a specific and coherent view of the international system they envisage, the absence of any "world view" is particularly glaring in the case of China. The Soviet Union, German Nazis, the Japanese during World War II, the Maoists, all stood apart from the current system and it was clear major changes would follow from the dominance of any of these movements over the international system.

The confusion on this score mirrors the confusion in China. China’s self concept, inasmuch as there is one, has been fluid and in a constant state of change. China’s history of the last 150 years begins with a traditional dynasty and tributary system, which, after the humiliation of the Opium War, lasts another 70 years during which time numerous ideas on how China could save itself were debated: Confucian Restoration, self-strengthening, gradual westernization, and revolution. After the fall of the dynasty, there was a period of over a decade of warlordism, followed by "reunification" under the Guomindang, then the experiences of civil war and World War II before reunification again under the communists in 1949. 44 The contrast to the United States or the Soviet Union is clear. The US assumed a gradually growing role in the world after 1898, but underwent no real systemic crisis of legitimacy. Similarly, Russia, after centuries of fairly continuous existence under the Czars, enjoyed a reasonably stable Soviet system and ideology until its breakup in 1990, however much its rationale for its role in the international system may have changed during that time.

But the uncertainty about the kind of international system China wished to promote continued even after the PRC was given a boost of legitimacy by Mao’s victory. 45 As Peter Van Ness points out, China’s self-proclaimed role as promoter of the third world has been a constant through the years since 1949. This provides at least a framework for a Chinese vision for an international order that would overthrow the North dominated capitalist order and replace it with a international system run for the benefit of the Third World. But it was only during the 1960s that the Third World line was adhered to with any consistency. 46 Even worse,

after the death of Mao, the whole edifice of socialism began to be eroded with the opening to the West, the gradual replacement of socialist planning with market mechanisms, and the gradual integration of China into a Western dominated international system. That the leadership at the turn of the century might be uncertain what kind of international system the Chinese would really prefer, is not surprising.

It is hard to find much radicalism, or ‘structured dissatisfaction’ in China’s approach to international politics, but there is broad agreement that nationalism is on the rise, both among the elite and the general populace. 47 And indeed, the one theme that appears consistently in Chinese rhetoric and actions is nationally oriented. It is the conventional wisdom that the Chinese leadership tends to think in terms more compatible with the balance-of-power/realpolitik/sovereignty-oriented world of a half century ago and to be uncomfortable with the new language of interdependence, multinational organizations and jurisdictions and international regimes. 48 The Chinese are anxious to join the WTO, but that appears to many to be in their narrow national interest. There is no Chinese agitation for adding new permanent members to the UN Security Council (India, Indonesia or Brazil), something that would be in line with a "new order" to provide a less Eurocentric or third world cast to the global organization that gives more populace nations more influence in the UN. On the contrary, they adamantly oppose such a step. Nor is the world familiar with other proposals for major change in the international order except regarding issues that affect China narrowly and often are of only indirect interest to the rest of the world, e.g., Taiwan.

One study found that in China domestic bureaucratic rigidities tend to produce conservative Chinese behavior on the international scene. Moreover,

China responds more favorably to impersonal and market regimes, where the rules of the game apply equally to all countries.....On the whole, it has been passive in most regimes it has joined. Only in the environmental and human rights sphere has China actively sought to shape the norms of the international regime; even in those important areas, China has made its case within the regime rather than outside it. Neither the worst fears of a disruptive China in the U.N.system nor the best hopes of a constructively and extensively involved China have been realized. 49

The PRC is often alleged to be a revisionist power, or not a status quo power. 50 China is not a status quo power in that it wants to be accommodated in the international system, and certainly in Asia, as its power grows. It wants to feel more secure from threats of US meddling in Asian affairs in ways in which it does not approve (Taiwan), and it wants to have more influence in Asia. It certainly is not happy with extremely visible "humanitarian" missions such as the war in Kosovo. It disrupts the US dominated world order by selling weapons and nuclear technology to countries to which the US does not want these things sold. 51 China will vote against the US (or more likely, abstain) in the UN, and it will not come up to Western standards in trade regulations and intellectual properties protection. But as Bates Gill and Michael O’Hanlon point out, most of the Chinese aims that run counter to US interests are not global or ideological, but territorial in nature, confined primarily to the islands and waterways to China’s south and southeast. 52 They represent "defensive nationalism," assertive in form, reactive in essence 53 The claims to Taiwan and the Spratly Islands are worrisome, but they are far from being evidence of Chinese interest in a new world order. To the contrary, that these are two of the most nettlesome issues between the West and China at the turn of the century says a lot about how comfortable China is with the status quo.

A telling sample of the kind of balance-of-power positions China takes on global issues is the joint statement issued by China and Russia recently in Beijing. 54 The statement first states that the two countries will work for the establishment of a multipolar world on the basis of the United Nations (UN) charter, to strengthen the UN’s dominant role in international affairs and peacefully resolve international conflicts by political means, and is followed by a restatement of the five principles of peaceful coexistence. The statement opposes violation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and opposes "forces in the way of equitable international decision making." The two countries believe the World Trade Organization (WTO) should have more universal representation and take into consideration differing levels of socio-economic development. They favor observing the UN resolutions on Iraq, resolving problems there by peaceful means, and lifting the economic embargo. The statement also provides the obligatory pronouncements on national unification with Taiwan, in favor of respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and reiteration that the matter of Chechnya is an internal affair.

This is hardly the stuff of radical or far reaching proposals for changes in the international system. Most of these positions, including the preference for a multipolar world, have advocates within the Western camp, as well within the mainstream US domestic political environment. Aside from the statement on reforming the WTO, there is nothing even approaching a call for specific systemic reforms that might hasten what amount to otherwise nebulous calls for the other powers (mainly the US) to change their behavior.

Clearly, a high priority for China is not so much changing the current order, but rather, joining it. And it has made rapid progress when one considers that less than three decades ago the Maoist agenda of economic autarchy and cultural isolation, support for insurgency in other Asian countries, and support for third world dominated regional and global organizations was prevailing policy. China’s interaction with the current order and the countries that represent it is often rocky. And it is clear the Chinese would like to have the benefits of international independence without paying the political price of a penetrated political system. 55 But this reluctance to become a full fledged and fully committed player in a relative short period of time should not be interpreted as a refusal to play the game. All indications are that the Chinese are not really interested in transforming the international system. The vision to match those aspirations disappeared with the death of Mao. Now they are much more interested in being a full participant in the international system, in being assured that their influence on decision making matches their estimate of China’s importance in the international order. Exactly what form those expectations will take can be only dimly perceived at the present, and probably, leaving aside the Taiwan issue, they are disjointed, unformed and very much dependent on bargaining and negotiation. Even the Taiwan issue is susceptible to various forms of resolution. What is important is that the US and other countries recognize and proceed on the assumption that the Chinese are for the most part not out to remake the international order, but simply to garner a bigger piece of the pie being served in the present system. Most indications are that they can be bought off by providing rewards for helping to maintain the present international order.


Actors, Roles and Structure in the East Asia Regional System

I have maintained that the US dominates the unipolar global system, but as Robert Ross has argued, the East Asian regional system fits more closely a bipolar division of power, split between the US and China. 56 While China will eventually compete with the US for global influence, at present its power is largely limited to the region. And it is no longer the case, as during the cold war, that the world wide structure of power governs the regional structure of power. Although the US is in a military class by itself, it needs allies (Japan and South Korea in East Asia) to provide bases, and its military resources are well below cold war levels. 57 But the only power able to compete with the US at this time in East Asia is China, an established power on the Asian mainland. The US has fought one war with China (Korean War), fought with its then proxy in a second (Vietnam War), and has been involved more than once in sparring between China and Taiwan over the relationship that is to pertain between them, going back to the civil war in the 1940s. While the US had a de facto alliance with China against the Soviet Union from 1972 until the demise of the Soviet Union, absent the Soviet threat China will have some interests identical to those of the US (a peaceful and stable Asia, stability on the Korean peninsula, vigorous trade, investment and cultural exchanges between the two countries), but on balance it will be a strategic competitor with the US, not a strategic partner. Both countries have an interest in avoiding the rapid emergence of Japan as a major military or nuclear power that would incite fears throughout Asia about its intentions and strategy. China deplores the 1996 changes to the US-Japan mutual defense treaty because it appears from the Chinese vantage point to be aimed at creating an anti-China Asian system, and China will undoubtedly continue to take advantage of this argument to influence Asian countries where the historical fear of Japan is still real. 58 But the Chinese leadership certainly also takes comfort from the resulting influence which the US exercises over Japan as a result of the treaty. 59 China already has an substantial role in decisions, policies and organizations that are important in determining the future of East Asia. And at this point, China is more concerned with regional influence than with a decisive global presence.

Regarding Japan’s role as a potential challenger, Robert Ross exaggerates the obstacles to Japan becoming a major power in East Asia. He argues that Japan does not have the natural resources to sustain economic development and strategic autonomy. He argues further that since US and Chinese spheres of influence are geographically distinct, since China is primarily a land power and the US a sea power, intervention by one power in its own sphere will not appear as threatening to the interests of the other power in its sphere. The bipolar relationship between the two powers will therefore be more stable and less threatening to each power than would be the case of competition between the US and Japan. 60

Japan’s narrow island base and its dependence on outside sources of energy and resources are handicaps in becoming a regional power, but they are not prohibitive given the right combination of political and military pressure and access to the Middle East and other continental areas. And while Japan is unlikely to successfully challenge the US within the next generation, such an attempt would be perhaps as likely to succeed as a Chinese challenge at the global level. The US challenge to Britain shows that one sea power can overtake another sea power without necessarily leading to war. China has problems of sustaining economic growth, carrying out reform, and modernizing its military. Japan has its own economic crisis, but is much better equipped to provide the economic and technical resources necessary to field a first class navy and air force than is China. 61

Furthermore, while there is some complementarity between the Chinese land power and the US as a sea power and their spheres of influence in East Asia, it is not as great as Ross suggests. He argues that the China intervened in Indochina in 1979 to protect its interests without eliciting a reaction from the US. But the Chinese war with Vietnam was while the cold war was still in progress, and it represented an opportunity to use the Chinese to punish a Soviet proxy for invading a Chinese ally, Cambodia, that the US had consistently supported. As discussed above, the US has fought two land wars in Asia to weaken Chinese influence, and it would look very unfavorably on Chinese action against a smaller mainland Southeast Asian country. Moreover, the two most inflammable flashpoints today between China and the US, Taiwan and the Spratlys, are islands, offshore and supposedly the jurisdiction of the sea going US, not the Chinese land sphere.

The more likely reason Japan will not become a conventional power and challenge the US in the next generation is the legacy of World War II, the constitutional prohibitions and the culture, norms and processes that continue to dominate Japanese politics and inhibit development of a Japanese garrison state and a normal military role in the region. The Japanese have chosen to abjure a military buildup and the kind of military leadership that most states use to look after their interests. Instead they have accepted Japanese dependence on energy imports as inevitable and have taken whatever steps are necessary to live with this situation. Most Japanese believe that nuclear weapons and a military buildup would generate neither wealth nor strength, but immense political and military risks, purchased at great economic cost. 62 In spite of its greater GDP, modern infrastructure and the relative ease with which Japan’s wealth could be translated into military might, working within the framework of the US-Japanese alliance, which means a continued military role that is severely circumscribed, is much more probable than a challenge to the dominant power. A bipolar Sino-US relationship fits most accurately the reality of Asia. Until Japan undertakes to play a more conventional military role, it must be considered a special case, and an ally rather than a challenger or a pole in a balance-of-power system.

Other potential challengers include Russia and India. Russia is preoccupied with domestic political unrest and grave economic problems. Now shorn of a fifth of the territory of the Soviet Union, it retains only slightly over half of the population and less than half of the gross national product of the Soviet Union in 1990, if the production decline is taken into account. As a group of Russian strategic analysts put it, "In terms of most parameters....Russia has become a middle-sized country. In Europe this is the equivalent of France, Great Britain, and Italy; in Asia, of India, and Indonesia." 63 Russia has so far shown little sign of overcoming its inability to get its economy on track and to establish an air of normality in its economic situation. Politically it was plagued by erratic leadership under President Yeltsin. His recent resignation may open the way for more continuity, but internal wars of dissent (Chechnya) continue to elude any kind of long-term solution, and there is little sign of any creatively constructed alternatives. Russia is unlikely to play an important international role in Europe, much less in East Asia.

India also is unlikely to act as a challenger to the dominant order. Already the dominant power in South Asia, recent nuclear tests gave it the status of a nuclear power and thus potential as a global power. Projections of its economic growth and military power into the first 15 years of the 21st century are impressive. India has begun reforms that are opening up its long restricted economic system, and encouraging innovation and foreign investment. These reforms have been kept gradual and low-key, ensuring that all parties are benefiting from them and that they are having the minimal disruptive effect on specific groups. The result is a good prognosis for long term reform. Projections from one study are that in 2015 India will have a GNP 82% that of Japan, and military capital that is 72.4% of China’s. These are impressive figures, and although India currently lags China in total numbers of tanks and fighter planes, it exceeds it considerably in the number of advanced systems. 64 India also lags both China and Japan in per capita GDP and in literacy. .

But geography is a limiting factor for India’s role in Asia. Blocked from Northeast Asia by the Himalayas, and, except for Mynmar, bordering on no Southeast Asian country, India’s role in East Asia will be limited unless it attains overwhelming military power in the Asian theatre, an unlikely possibility. Nor is it likely to surpass China as a candidate for global influence. While the possibility of the two countries making common cause to oppose and challenge the US cannot be ruled out, given the history of their relationship it is not likely. Especially given the limited role of the US in the South Asian subcontinent, it is unlikely India would be interested in such a united front. India continues to be preoccupied with Pakistan, a focus that is not conducive to involvement in East Asia nor to enhancing global influence.


Democracy and Domestic Pressures

The limited development of institutions and community in East Asia has been much remarked upon. While international economic organizations with many East Asian members such as APEC exist, the ASEAN has been an organization of growing economic and political integration since its founding in 1967, and the ARF is now focused on military and regional security problems, the area still is only loosely tied to these institutions. Trade within the region is still limited compared to the economic ties with outsiders, and the 1997 economic crisis has exposed the region’s dependence on foreign capital and its vulnerability to global markets and political forces. 65 Moreover, arms expenditures have been increasing rapidly, although opinion is divided over the significance of this. Further contributing to instability is the growing importance of weapons of mass destruction as the new technology that makes more effective weapons possible becomes disseminated among Asian and other non-Western areas. These trends, coupled with rising Asian nationalism, will make it harder for the US to maintain its forces in Asia and the means for basing weapons and troops in or near the area. 66 This will restrict US influence and provide more leverage to regional powers. Although only North Korea is likely to become explicitly nuclear in the area in the near future, the recent nuclear "coming out" of India and Pakistan suggests the potential for East Asia.

Moreover, the region is made up of many powers that are primarily non-democratic or semi-democratic. While Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and most recently Indonesia, can be considered democratic, other countries are authoritarian in various degrees, and some such as China, Vietnam, Mynmar and North Korea lack even nominally competitive elections at the national level. Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore host elections, but many illiberal and undemocratic aspects of the post-colonial systems remain. While China is certainly far from a liberal democracy, but it has made tremendous progress over the last few decade in allowing local elections, relaxing control over the media and allowing dissenting voices and cultural pluralism, responding to the increasing assertiveness of the National People’s Congress, permitting and encouraging economic liberalization. The regime is still adamant, however, about the need for the political indoctrination of cadre and the prohibition of establishing any formal competing centers of power, such as opposition political parties. 67

While China becoming a democracy would not guarantee a peaceful outcome as Chinese power increases and China challenges the US role and position in Asia, there is considerable evidence that democracies are less likely to fight each other than are democracies to fight authoritarian governments. But this is an unlikely source of comfort for those concerned about the rise of China, however, since China is not democratic, and in spite of the progress that has been made and the likelihood of future movement in that direction, democratization is likely to be a lengthy process. 68 China is a deeply divided country, torn between those in favor of traditional realpolitik visions of the international order, and those of a more internationalist perspective focusing on "comprehensive security" or "comprehensive national strength", who emphasize the nonmilitary aspects of national power. The latter see national and regional security primarily as economic, technological and informational capacity. This perspective puts emphasis on international cooperation through diplomacy, trade and technology transfers. It tends to denigrate any suggestion that China will be contesting with anyone for global leadership or that China will become a "superpower."

The nationalistic perspective adheres more closely to traditional realism:

nationalists are more likely to rely on the use of force when internationalists would prefer to negotiate; to prefer tactical (bilateral) partnerships to China’s participation in multilateral organizations; to exaggerate external dangers (and accuse internationalists of soft-pedaling them); and to exploit the contradictions of opening to overcome hegemonic forces that stand in China’s way.

For nationalists, comprehensive security is seen as widening the scope of security challenges facing China. They are reluctant to give up or expose to foreign oversight national security assets such as nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. They are less concerned with the symbolic aspects of China becoming a great power and more concerned with the ability of the Chinese government to deal with threats and benefits this may bring to specific constituencies. 69

Many analysts conclude that China still adheres primarily to traditional, nationalistic and realpolitik approaches to international relations. While the West and much of the rest of Asia are moving toward cooperative relations, interdependence, institution building and security transparency, China promotes more traditional approaches, including especially development of the ability to project air and sea power and limited cases of irredentism. 70

Much of the inconsistency in Chinese demands and behavior can probably be attributed to the interplay between warring bureaucratic groups in Beijing, just as much of American policy reflects the divergence in view between the executive and the congress and other pressure groups. It is important to keep these facts in mind when dealing with China, and do what can be done to bolster the position of the more internationally minded groups.


Interdependence and War

It is a popular argument that there is a link between an unwillingness to use force and a liberal international economic system, that a liberal system "substantially discourages the use of force among states, while a mercantilist economic structure stimulates it." A related proposition is that as economic interdependence grows among states the use of military force becomes less important as the focus shifts to economic factors and a rising standard of living. Political symbolism and military objectives become relatively less important. 71 Indeed, with the rise of the virtual state, based on mobile capital, labor and information, the historical tie between land and wealth is severed, as the nation specializes in higher valued, intangible goods, the products of the mind, and a new era of peaceful competition among nations, a zone of peace, is created. Rather than jealously guarding its sovereignty and rights against others, the virtual state "prospers from dependence on others." 72

Commentary on China has speculated on the importance of these arguments to China’s behavior. A common belief is that tying China in with the international economic system will help to tame its behavior. 73 There is no doubt that China needs an environment conducive to economic development. Even if one assumes the worst about its military intentions, the fastest way to make itself a military competitor is to foster economic growth. It is those countries whose leaders and citizens know how to run an economy that prosper in the modern world. China shows many signs of learning that skill, but it needs a lot of time to achieve a high level of income and an environment where it can keep defense expenditures relatively low, where it can attract foreign technology, trade and investment, and where it can concentrate on development rather than nationalistic mobilization to face military threats or offensives.

China’s interdependence with the rest of the world, measured by total trade as a percent of GNP, has been steadily rising. Starting out at less than 10% in 1978 when the country began to open up, the figure has risen to an average of nearly 40% for the years 1994--1996. 74 During the 1990s, the annual growth rates of US merchandise exports to China averaged 16.1%, while China’s exports to the US have risen annually by 22%. While slowing economic growth in China and the likely effect on trade may offset the positive effects of China’s pending membership in the WTO, nonetheless a healthy growth rate in the volume of trade with the US is likely to continue. 75 Clearly China’s continued enmeshment in the international economic system will have an impact on its behavior. Some have argued that the historical record shows that the high degree of interdependence among the European community before WW I shows that a high level of interdependence does not prevent conflict. But as Richard Rosecrance points out, that interdependence was very different from the kind we have today. During the nineteenth century, there existed a "territorial fetish" and productive investment was concentrated in colonies, not in neighboring European countries. Direct foreign investment was low, and investment abroad tended to be in highly liquid stocks and bonds. Britain’s productive investments were located not in Germany, but in the colonies. By contrast, today the great powers forge links that are highly profitable and not easily dissolved. 76 China is heavily dependent on the US and Japan for technology and trade, and they on China for trade and investment opportunities.

The past record and present realities suggest that China is aware of these vulnerabilities, which continue to grow as the interconnectedness with the industrialized world increases. It is hard to imagine that the likely effect of any Chinese initiated conflict would not be considered by Chinese foreign policy makers. It is well to remember, however, that this kind of leverage cuts both ways. It also means that the Chinese have increased influence over US actions. Political/military and economic interests often coincide in relations with other countries. Countries that have close economic ties tend to have security ties as well. The economic connections foster security relations, and security ties encourage economic intercourse. But close economic ties with an authoritarian country may lead to situations where economic and security interests are in conflict. As economic ties with China grow, the US leadership may be restrained from vigorous pursuit of its political/military goals in Asia since they could threaten economic interests. 77

As the US--China relationship plays out, economic interdependence will have an impact and may dampen conflict below a certain threshold, but beyond that threshold it may well turn out that a liberal economic system is of "relatively minor importance as a mover of events." It is unlikely that the interconnections of economic ties will be the dike holding back conflict over what both countries consider a vital interest. 78 More likely, a lack of agreement and divergent approaches on major security interests will dampen and limit economic activity, thus limiting the potential for interdependence. There has never been a time in Chinese history when economics was the determining factor in Sino-Western relations. If China continues to grow economically--a development that is itself dependent on integration into the international economy--and to develop more democratic means of governance, that time may come. But there is little evidence it will be in the next decade or two. China is far from being a virtual state, as the stickiness of the Taiwan and Spratly issues indicate. Relations in the near future will certainly continue to reflect the very different security outlooks of the two countries, and the difference in capabilities between them. 79



The PTT provides a loose but useful framework for assessing the likely impact of the rise of China on the international order. It provides a perspective with which to view the interaction between China and the US and this analysis suggests that the likelihood of war between the US and China is less than the PTT indicates. The basically realist PTT framework provides a reliable guide to analyzing China’s rise and its impact, although questions of intent, domestic developments, interdependence (some of which the theory allows for) are also an essential part of the analysis. Several themes run through the analysis above.

China certainly has the potential to become a superpower, and eventually to pass the US. China’s road to development over the century and a half since the Opium War first confronted China with an intrusive West, has been very rocky. But the last two decades suggest that China may have at last found a strategy that will make it an economic and military power. It is thus quite possible that China will be the preeminent power in international politics by mid-century or before.

It is equally unlikely that the US will initiate a preventive war to check China’s ascendancy, although this cannot be ruled out if there are domestic political changes in the US. Two reasons make such preventive war unlikely. My discussion of US leadership in the international system for the last half century makes clear that the US has been more of a leader than a hegemon, more a compromiser than an dictator. While US tactics have included generous use of its superior power to accomplish its goals, preventive war against large powers has not been among those tactics. Any analysis of our China policy over the last thirty years shows that this is not the direction we are headed. Preventive war is incompatible with US morals and procedures. Second, the aversion of the US, after two such experiments, to war with a land power in Asia, is intense. The prospect of war alone is daunting to both leaders and citizens in a consumer society, and the threat of crossing the nuclear threshold adds gravity to those inhibitions. Inhibitions, both moral and practical, are heavily reinforced by domestic opinion in opposition to preventive war, or to war of any kind. There is little doubt the US would choose to postpone the choice as long as possible, engaging in conflict only when there seems little choice.

The appearance of China as a power capable of challenging the West in Asia, much less on a global scale, is still decades away. Alarm cries to the contrary notwithstanding, there is no solid evidence that China will construct the technical infrastructure and the power projection capabilities to undo the present order in the near future. And in two decades, China and much else will change considerably from its present form, possibly to the worse, but more likely to the better. Were China to form alliances with powers more willing than China has been to implement risk prone policy with weapons of mass destruction--with for instance, a nuclear Iran or a neo-fascist Russia--the situation would change. But, given the history of PRC foreign policy, adoption of a strategy that would so threaten Chinese control, is not likely.

Moreover, the lack of a comprehensive or universal vision of an alternative order makes China less dangerous. China is dissatisfied on specific issues, some of them dangerous issues. But this is far from the kind of comprehensive and utopian vision for a new international order peddled by the Nazis, the Stalinists or the Maoists. On the contrary, the nature of the Chinese "vision" for the international order in many ways turns Organski’s model upside down. It is China that is intent on hanging on to a system where the centuries old principle of sovereignty remains supreme, while the allegedly satisfied powers in the West press for change: interdependence, a stronger UN, and intervention to preserve human rights. We should not underrate the importance of the territorial adjustments that China is demanding, but we should remember that they do not approach the level of system change, they are the immediate parochial demands of a local power with an outlook shaped predominantly by the wounds and grievances it suffered from the nineteenth century. Even in the third world, this is not an agenda with any drawing power. And it is certainly not the shape of the next international order. Most states, even those on the edge of the modern world, recognize that economic development and interdependence are the wave of the future.

Finally, this analysis has shown the traditional realist indicators of international behavior to be most useful in analyzing the US-China interaction. The relative absence of democracy in Asia and in China means that "democratic" foreign policy is not likely to be an importance influence on behavior in the time period we are exploring. Economic interdependence, while it certainly will have an influence on the behavior of both China and the US, is not likely to have the decisive impact equal to realist factors of power and security. But US leaders would be wrong to believe that they cannot, through their choice of diplomatic strategies, promotion of economic interdependence, and attempts to open up China, have an impact on whether China can be appeased and integrated into the system. These factors may have a marginal impact, but those margins can be important. Organski’s PTT recognizes, rightly, that long-term acculturation of the West to China’s rise, and skillful diplomacy and concessions on the part of the dominant power can play a role in making the power transition orderly and acceptable. Such an approach, coupled with a clear declaration of US interest and intent regarding important issues in Asia (the need for the continued de facto autonomy of Taiwan), should be the blueprint for the US approach to the coming developments in Asia.



Note 1: Language with some variation of "rising China" or "rising power" is used by David S.G. Goodman and Gerald Segal, China Rising: Nationalism and Interdependence (NY: International Institute of Strategic Studies, 1999); Andrew J. Nathan and Robert S. Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress: China’s Search for Security (NY: WW Norton, 1997), p. xii; Nicholas D. Kristof, "The Rise of China," Foreign Affairs, November-December 1993; Jianwei Wang, "Coping with China as a Rising Power," in James Shinn, ed., Weaving the Net: Conditional Engagement with China (NY: Council on Foreign Relations, 1996); and Michael Brown, Sean M. Lynn-Jones and Steven E. Miller, eds., East Asian Security: An International Security Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996), p. 111. Similarly suggestive phrases are used by Barber B. Conable, Jr. and David M. Lampton, "China: The Coming Power," Foreign Affairs, Winter 1992/93 and Samuel S. Kim, ed., China and the World: Chinese Foreign Policy Faces the New Millennium (Boulder: Westview, 1998) (ascendant power), p xi; Daniel Byman, Roger Cliff and Phillip Saunders, "US Policy Options Toward an Emerging China," The Pacific Review, No. 3, 1999. David Shambaugh, "Containment or Engagement of China: Calculating Beijing’s Responses," International Security, Fall 1996, p. 180, speaks both of "China’s rise" and of China as an "awakened dragon." Back.

Note 2: Andrew Nathan, quoted in Mel Gurtov and Byong-Moo Hwang, China’s Security: The New Roles of the Military (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998), p. 311. Back.

Note 3: Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, The Coming Conflict with China (NY: Vintage Books, 1998), pp. 4-5. An even more sensational treatment of China, and with even less substantive analysis of China’s military potential, is Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II, Red Dragon Rising: Communist China’s Military Threat to America (Washington, DC: Regnery, 1999). Back.

Note 4: Nathan and Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, pp. xi-xii. Back.

Note 5: The definition of realism used here follows Jeffrey W. Legro and Andrew Moravcsik. They define the realist paradigm as having three core assumptions: 1) the nature of the actor: rational, unitary, political units in anarchy; 2) the nature of the state preferences: fixed and uniformly conflicting goals; and 3) international structure: the primacy of material capabilities. See "Is Anybody Still a Realist," International Security, Fall 1999, especially pp. 9-18. Back.

Note 6: This theory was originally presented in the 1958 edition of Organski’s text book. See World Politics, (NY: Knopf, 1968), chapter 14 and p. vii. Organski and Jacek Kugler emphasized the parsimony of using GNP as a measure of power, but they also found a close relationship between it and Correlates of War (COW) index. Organski and associates also found a measure of Relatively Political Capacity to be a useful indicator of power. Jacek Kugler and Douglas Lemke, eds., Parity and War: Evaluations and Extensions of The War Ledger (Univ. Of Michigan Press, 1996), pp. 32-3, nt. 5. Randall L. Schweller, Deadly Imbalances: Tripolarity and Hitler’s Strategy of world Conquest (NY: Columbia Univ. Press, 1998), pp. 26-31, found the index he constructed provided results virtually identical to the COW index. Both provided more focus on actual military capabilities rather than the heavy emphasis on potential that characterizes a measure such as GNP. William R. Thompson makes the telling point that "In an era increasingly emphasizing technological innovation over gross wealth and the double-edged advantages/drawbacks of large populations, the limitations of GNP are especially bothersome." Certainly the COW correlates offset this disadvantage somewhat by focusing on military strength. Thompson implies, however, that for a predominantly land power, a measure of power focusing on population or GNP may be more accurate than for a sea power. See Thompson, "Balances of Power, Transitions, and Long Cycles," in Kugler and Lemke, Parity and War, pp. 170-1, 180. Back.

Note 7: Jack S. Levy, "The Causes of War: A Review of Theories and Evidence," in Philip E. Tetlock et al., Behavior, Society and Nuclear War, volume one (NY: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), p. 252. Back.

Note 8: Later research on the PTT found that the relationship between a power transition and war is weak to moderate. Half of the time when a power transition occurred, war did not take place. John Vasquez, "When are Power Transitions Dangerous? An Appraisal and Reformulation of Power Transition Theory," in Kugler and Lemke, Parity and War, pp. 48-9. Other contributors to the volume are more positive about the correlation. See especially Douglas Lemke, "Small States and War: An Expansion of Power Transition Theory," and William R. Thompson, "Balance of Power, Transitions, and Long Cycles," in ibid. Back.

Note 9: Robert Gilpin, in his book dealing with themes similar to Organski, but in a more general context, argues that a state will seek to change the system only if it is believed that "such change will be profitable." Governments make calculations, which in turn hinge on many factors, including capabilities and values such as the degree of satisfaction with the existing system. War and Change in World Politics (NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1981), pp. 50-51. Back.

Note 10: According to Henry Kissinger, "/Legitimacy implies the acceptance of the framework of the international order by all major powers, at least to the extent that no state is so dissatisfied expresses its dissatisfaction in a revolutionary foreign policy. A legitimate order does not make conflicts impossible, but it limits their scope. Wars may occur, but they will be fought in the name of the existing structure and the peace which follows will be justified as a better expression of the "legitimate," general consensus. Diplomacy in the classic sense, the adjustment of differences through negotiations, is possible only in "legitimate" international orders" Emphasis in the original. Quoted in Robert Gilpin, War and Change, p. 12. Back.

Note 11: Organski, World Politics, p. 364. Back.

Note 12: Levy, "The Causes of War," p. 253. This is a point on which other writers concur. Kugler and Lemke, Parity and War, p. 27. As Bruce Bueno de Mesquita points out, strictly speaking the key point at which war breaks out is not necessarily when the challenger’s capabilities approach those of the dominant power, but when they are perceived to reach that point. Bueno de Mesquita, "Beliefs About Power and the Risks of War: A Power Transition Game," in ibid,, pp. 276-281. Useful insights on the motivation for preventive war by the challenged power are in Levy, "Declining Power an the Preventive Motivation for War," World Politics, October 1987. Back.

Note 13: G. John Ikenberry, "The Myth of Post-Cold War Chaos," Foreign Affairs, May/June 1996, reprinted in his American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Essays, third edition (NY: Longman, 1999), pp. 615-6. Ikenberry takes issue with former Secretary of State James A. Baker III’s observation that "In three and a half years /from the late 1980s to the early 1990s/...the very nature of the international system as we know it was transformed." See also Ikenberry, "Institutions, Strategic Restraint, and the Persistence of American Postwar Order," International Security, Winter 1998-99. Back.

Note 14: As Organski himself recently said, "Presently, the United States holds massive power advantages over other nations, leaving no room for ambiguity about who and what guarantees the peace in the post-cold war era." A.F.K. Organski and Ronald Tammen, "The New Open Door Policy: US Strategy in the Post-Cold War Era," in Kugler and Lemke, Parity and War, p. 331; Christopher Layne, "The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise," International Security, Spring 1993; Michael Mastanduno, "Preserving the Unipolar Moment: Realist Theories and U.S. Grand Strategy after the Cold War," International Security, Spring 1997, reprinted in Michael Brown E. Brown, et al., America’s Strategic Choices; Robert Jervis, "International Primacy: Is the Game Worth the Candle?" International Security, Spring 1993; Kenneth N. Waltz, "The Emerging Structure of International Politics, International Security, Fall 1993; Samuel P. Huntington, "Why International Primacy Matters," International Security, Spring 1993; and David Wilkinson, "Unipolarity Without Hegemony," International Studies Review, Special Issue, Prospects for International Relations: Conjectures about the Next Millennium. Back.

Note 15: Samuel P. Huntington, "A Uni-multipolar World," American Enterprise Institute’s Bradley Lectures, May 11, 1998. Back.

Note 16: Wilkinson, ‘Unipolarity without Hegemony,", pp.142-3. Contrast this with Robert O. Keohane’s definition of economic hegemony, which focuses more on capabilities. "To be considered hegemonic in the world political economy.....a country must have access to crucial raw materials, control major sources of capital, maintain a large market for imports, and hold comparative advantages in goods with high value added, yielding relatively high wages and profits. It must also be stronger, on these dimensions taken as a whole, than any other country." After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy, (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1984), pp. 34-5. Back.

Note 17: Wilkinson probes these relationships by asking questions such as: 1) Are local governments selected or given legitimacy by the hegemon? 2) Are local wars suppressed by hegemonic intervention? 3) Does a hegemon have and monopolize the right to forbid, or the power to prevent collective action by states? 4) Does the hegemon deliberately export preferred ideology, religion, language, ethics, laws or customs which the other states import and imitate? "Unipolarity without Hegemony," pp. 143-5. Back.

Note 18: Waltz, from his realist premise, denies both the restraint and the longevity. On restraint he writes that "Balance-of-power theory leads one to predict that other countries, alone or in concert, will try to bring American power into balance." Waltz believes that "a country wielding overwhelming power could not for long be expected to behave with moderation." On longevity, he wrote in 1993 that "Peace is sometimes linked to the presence of a hegemonic power, sometimes to a balance among powers....the response of other countries to one among them seeking or gaining preponderant power is to try to balance against it. Hegemony leads to balance......That is now happening, but haltingly so because the United States still has benefits to offer and many other countries have become accustomed to their easy lives with the United States bearing many of their burdens." "The Emerging Structure," p. 53, 77. Back.

Note 19: Ikenberry, "Persistence of American Postwar Order," pp. 73-75, 63. Weak states accept the bargain because, otherwise they would bargain without an institutional agreement they would bargain solely on the basis of their (weaker) capabilities, and they also hope to buy some protection against the threat of domination or abandonment. The strong state does better to accept the bargain because it wants to lock in the momentary advantage and reduce enforcement costs. Pp. 56-58. Back.

Note 20: As examples, see the articles in the summer 1995 issue of Foreign Policy, by Jack A. Goldstone, "The Coming Chinese Collapse," and Yasheng Huang, "Why China Will Not Collapse." A cautiously pessimistic article is Arthur Waldron, "After Deng the Deluge: China’s Next Leap Forward," Foreign Affairs, September/October 1995. Back.

Note 21: The official figure for economic growth, from 1978-96 is 9.9%. Nicholas Lardy thinks that the actual rate for this period may be as low as 7.9%. China’s Unfinished Economic Revolution (Washington, DC: Brookings, 1998 Back.

Note 22: Yasheng Huang cites survey findings that suggest the system has considerable legitimacy. Surveys by Andrew Nathan and Tianjian Shi in 1990 found that 57% of respondents considered their government fair, slightly lower than the corresponding number for Germany (65%), but higher than Italy (53%). Chen Ziming, later sentenced to jail for 13 years by the government, found in 1987 that 50% of the respondents gave positive answers to six of 10 questions assessing various aspects of communist rule. Sixty-nine percent of respondents expressed confidence in the central government. Huang castigates foreign journalists for pessimistic reporting on widespread dissatisfaction with the government without providing solid evidence. Yasheng Huang, "Why China Will Not Collapse," p. 56. Back.

Note 23: Lardy, China’s Unfinished Economic Revolution, especially chapter five. He points out that the World Bank estimates the cost of environmental degradation in China to be 3.5 to 7.7 of GNP, a cost that will double by the year 2020 if present policies are maintained. Air pollution in China is among the worst in the world, and two-fifths of the monitored river sections flowing by cities do not even meet the standards for irrigation water. Back.

Note 24: Vast differences in GDP/GNP figures result from alternate methods of calculation, depending on which method of currency conversion is used. The purchasing-power-parity (ppp) method tends to inflate the value of GDP in developing countries. The alternative, using the prevailing nominal bilateral exchange rate between a currency and the dollar, tends to inflate the value of developed countries GDP relative to developing countries. See the discussion in Charles Wolf, Jr., et al., Long-Term Economic and Military Trends 1994-2015: The United States and Asia (Santa Monica: RAND, 1995), pp. 27-9. Using the ppp method, the Chinese economy is already the second largest in the world. Wolf et al. project that China will pass the US after 2006, assuming a stable Chinese growth rate. Back.

Note 25: Talk at Jiaoze Club, Washington, DC, May 24, 1999. Back.

Note 26: Jack Goldstone, "The Coming Chinese Collapse." To this list of problems can be added a growing dependence on imported oil, with a five fold increase in the oil deficit likely. Kent Calder, Asia’s Deadly Triangle: How Arms, Energy and Growth Threaten to Destabilize Asia -Pacific (London: Nicholas Brealey, 1997), p. viii, and chapter 3. David Shambaugh points out that while there is devolution of economic authority to the regions, some intentional on the part of the center, some not, no such thing has happened in foreign or security policy. While some provinces or regions may conduct trade and other international transactions, since 1989 the control of the PLA has been significantly recentralized. Restrictions on troop movements and access to weapons and munitions ensures that there is "no such thing as a Xinjiang or Shandong foreign policy." David Shambaugh, "Containment or Engagement of China? Calculating Beijing’s Responses," International Security, Fall 1996, pp. 195-6. Back.

Note 27: This point is corroborated by David Denny, "Regional Economic Differences During the Decade of Reform," in Joint Economic Committee, Congress of the United States, China’s Economic Dilemmas in the 1990s: The Problems of Reforms, Modernization, and Interdependence, (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1991). Back.

Note 28: This paragraph relies on Yasheng Huang, "Why China Will Not Collapse." Back.

Note 29: A sampling of views includes the following: "Several military advances have made the task of conquering Taiwan, impossible to carry out as recently as 1999, feasible in 2004, the country’s army leaders are saying." Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro, The Coming Conflict with China (NY: Vintage, 1998,) p 188. "It will be a decade or more before the PLA can project enough power to seriously threaten the rest of Asia, much less the United States." James Shinn, ed., Weaving the Net: Conditional Engagement with China (NY: Council on Foreign Relations, 1996), p. 7. "China is 30-50 years away from the type of comprehensive, across-the-board technological modernization of its naval and air forces that could directly challenge American power or the status quo in the Asian pacific region." Evan A. Feigenbaum, "China’s Military Posture and the New Economic Geopolitics, Survival, Summer 1999, p. 83. Bates Gill and Michael O’Hanlon suggest it will be at least twenty years before China can significantly challenge the US and its allies in East Asia. See "China’s Hollow Military," The National Interest, Summer 1999, p. 56. Along with Hans W. Maull, I assume that China’s emergence as a superpower, and eventual parity with the United States is a foregone conclusion. China will become "too big to be contained or balanced." It is a question of when, not if. Maull, "Reconciling China with International Order," The Pacific Review, No. 4, 1997, p. 468. Back.

Note 30: When that they do discuss specific weapons, there appear to be discrepancies between their assertions and other sources. Compare Bernstein and Munro, The Coming Conflict, pp. 188-9, with The Military Balance, 1998/99 (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1999), pp. 168-9, 178-81. Bernstein and Munro speak of China’s military force already "reach/ing/ world-class levels." Few analysts credit China with such capabilities, but China’s real military expenditures did grow 40% during the first half of the 1990s. Samuel S. Kim, "China and the United Nations," in Elizabeth Economy and Michael Oksenberg, eds., China Joins the World: Progress and Prospects (NY: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999), p. 44. Back.

Note 31: Paul Dibb states in that regard that "too many commentators dwell on the detailed technical elements of arms acquisitions without probing the doctrinal and logistics aspects that are vital to an understanding of combat potential...." "Defense Force Modernization in Asia: Towards 2000 and Beyond, Contemporary Southeast Asia, March 1997, p. 348. Paul Bracken makes the valid point that just as Asia has become competitive with the West in the economic realm, they will also do so in the military realm. The key question, of course, is how long that will take. Fire in the East: The Rise of Asian Military Power and the Second Nuclear Age (NY: HarperCollins, 1999), p. 53. Back.

Note 32: Dibb, "Defense Force Modernization," p. 351. Back.

Note 33: The US Defense Department states that "China probably has never conducted a large-scale amphibious exercise which has been fully coordinated with air support and airborne operations." Future Military Capabilities and Strategy of the People’s Republic of China, Section 18, Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 1226 or the FY98 National Defense Authorization Act. The Military Balance, 1998/99, p. 165, states categorically that "China does not have the resources to carry out an opposed landing, on Taiwan or anywhere else...." According to Eric Grove, "It will take a very long time, especially at present funding levels, for China to live up to its reputation as the coming maritime power of the Asia-Pacific region....China can threaten to drive its neighbours out of the South China Sea and try to intimidate Taiwan, but has little prospect of doing either if its bluff is called." Grove, "Maritime Forces and Stability in Southern Asia," in Eric Arnett, ed., Military Capacity and the Risk of War: China, India, Pakistan and Iran (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), p. 315. Back.

Note 34: Gill and O’Hanlon, "China’s Hollow Military," pp. 56-8. China accounts for only 4.5% of global defense spending, while the US spends 33.9% of the total. China accounts for 25.8% of defense spending in East Asia and Australasia. Gerald Segal suggests that the military gap in high-technology arms may even be growing wider. "Does China Matter?," Foreign Affairs, September/October 1999, pp. 29, 36. A particularly interesting analysis of a hypothetical military contest between China and the combined forces of Singapore and Malaysia in the South China Sea is Felix K. Chang, "Beyond the Unipolar Moment: Beijing’s Reach in the South China Sea," Orbis, Summer 1996. Back.

Note 35: Internet summary of a study by Kenneth W. Allen, Glenn Krumel and Jonathan D. Pollack, China’s Air Force Enters the 21st Century (Santa Monica: RAND, 1995). Back.

Note 36: John Caldwell, China’s Conventional Military Capabilities, 1994-2004: An Assessment (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 1994), p. 15. Only the latest fighter acquisition, the Su-27, is able to provide air cover for naval task forces, and then because of refueling limitations and the lack of carrier support, only for a short period. On China’s ability to create havoc today, see James Lilly and Carl Ford, "China’s Military: A Second Opinion," The National Interest, Fall 1999. Back.

Note 37: Kim, "China in the UN," in Economy and Oksenberg, China Joins the World. A measure of when a state is dissatisfied is not well established in the literature on the PTT. See discussions in John A. Vasquez, "When are Power Transitions Dangerous? An Appraisal and Reformulation of Power Transition Theory," and Randoph M. Siverson and Ross A. Miller, " The Power Transition: Problems and Prospects," both in Kugler and Lemke, Parity and War. Bueno de Mesquita proposed similarity of alliance portfolios as a measure of satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Ibid., pp. 70-1. Back.

Note 38: Robert S. Ross, "The Geography of the Peace: East Asia in the Twenty-first Century," International Security, Spring 1999, p.108. Back.

Note 39: John W. Garver, "Sino-Russian Relations," in Kim, China and the World; Raja Menon, "The Strategic Convergence Between Russia and China," Survival, Summer 1997; and the joint statement between the two countries and related articles in Beijing Review (BR) December 13 and 20, 1999. Back.

Note 40: Useful sources on the South China Sea disputes are Eric Hyer, "South China Sea Disputes: Implications of China’s Earlier Territorial Settlements," Pacific Affairs, Spring 1995; Michael Leifer, "Chinese Economic Reform and Security Policy: The South China Sea Connection," Survival, Summer 1995; and Ian Townsend--Gault, "Preventive Diplomacy and Pro-Activity in the South China Sea," Contemporary Southeast Asia, August 1998. Back.

Note 41: Mao told Henry Kissinger in 1971 that China could wait for 100 years for Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland. More recently various leaders have displayed more impatience with the issue. The most specific formulation was by President Jiang Zemin in October 1999 when he said that by the middle of this century China will follow the precedent of Hong Kong and Macau and "resolve the question of Taiwan." Frank Ching, FEER, January 13, 2000, p. 30. Alastair Iain Johnston found the Chinese more ready than most major powers to use substantial violence to settle disputes. But he also found that most instances of the use of violence had involved territorial claims, which have declined in number as they have been settled, suggesting that the bulk of China’s complaints against the system are limited rather than unlimited or ideological. Johnston, "China’s Militarized Interstate Dispute Behaviour 1949-1992: A First Cut at the Data," The China Quarterly, March 1998. Back.

Note 42: Elizabeth Economy and Michael Oksenberg, eds., China Joins the World: Progress and Prospects (NY: Council on Foreign Relations, 1999), p. 29. Back.

Note 43: Michael Yahuda contrasts the military threat of the bipolar system to the political threat of the new era. "How Much Has China Learned About Interdependence?" in Goodman and Segal, China Rising, p. 18. Back.

Note 44: A similar discussion is in Samuel S. Kim and Lowell Dittmer, "Whither China’s Quest for National Identity?" in Samuel S. Kim and Lowell Dittmer, eds., China’s Quest for National Identity (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1993). Back.

Note 45: Mao’s victory, Frederick Teiwes suggests, was forever legitimized by the size of the 1949 victory, and was "so great as to sustain the leader’s charisma even in the face of major subsequent failures during the socialist era." Quoted in ibid., p. 259. Back.

Note 46: Peter Van Ness, "China as a Third World State: Foreign Policy and Official National Identity," in Kim and Dittmer, China’s Quest for National Identity. Back.

Note 47: Jianwei Wang, "Coping with China as a Rising Power," in Shinn, Weaving the Net. "If one thing is certain about China, it is that nationalism is on the rise. The military and political hardliners are riding this wave, advocating tougher policies toward the United States. More noteworthy, however, is that the traditionally pro-Western intellectuals are becoming more and more disillusioned with American policy, and their indignation is echoed by ordinary people..., p. 139. See also Allen S. Whiting, "Chinese Nationalism and Foreign Policy After Deng," The China Quarterly, June 1995. Greg Sheridan reports that his experience with Chinese officials is that the younger and more internationally savvy they are, the more nationalistic they tend to be. Greg Sheridan, Asian Values, Western Dreams: Understanding the New Asia (St. Leonards, Australia: Allen and Unwin, 1999), p. 121. Back.

Note 48: Yong Deng, "The Chinese Conception of National Interests in International Relations," The China Quarterly, June 1998; and Thomas W. Robinson, "Interdependence in China’s Post-Cold War Foreign Relations," in Kim, China and the World. Back.

Note 49: Economy and Oksenberg, China Joins the World, pp. 22-3. Back.

Note 50: Robert S. Ross, "Beijing as a Conservative Power," Foreign Affairs, March/April 1997, p. 34; Segal, "Does China Matter?," p. 29. Richard Bernstein and Ross H. Munro state that China is "an unsatisfied and ambitious power whose goal is to dominate Asia." They frequently describe it as aggressive. Bernstein and Munro, The Coming Conflict, pp.3-4. Back.

Note 51: A useful summary of this activity is in Nathan and Ross, The Great Wall, 152-156. Back.

Note 52: Gill and O’Hanlon, China’s Hollow Military, p.55. Nicholas Kristof has it right when he states that Deng Xiaoping (and the present leadership as well ) are in many respects like Bismarck, seeking strength and modernization, but without trying to overturn the entire balance of power. Nicholas Kristof, "The Rise of China,", p. 72. Back.

Note 53: Shambaugh, "Containment or Engagement of China?", p. 205. Back.

Note 54: BR, December 20, 1999, p. 10. Back.

Note 55: Michael Yahuda, "How Much Has China Learned," p. 14. Back.

Note 56: As argued by Robert S. Ross, "The Geography of the Peace". Other analysts have argued that the system structure in East Asia is tripolar, with the US, China and Japan each representing a pole. Ming Zhang and Ronald N. Montaperto, A Triad of Another Kind: The United States, China and Japan (NY: St. Martins, 1999). My position is that the bipolar structure more accurately describes East Asia since Japan is a civilian power with a unique history and political culture, and unlike China and the US, is unlikely to become a conventionally political and military power anytime soon. Lacking the capabilities and potential to obtain such capabilities and status, Japan’s behavior will also be different. Great powers, worthy of being poles in an international structure, attain polar status because a combination of characteristics makes them a great power. Japan excels and is likely to excel in mainly one sphere: economics. A great power is most effective at providing leadership when it has both superior economic and military capabilities, the main examples being the UK and the US. Useful discussions of this are in Schweller, Deadly Imbalances, pp. 198-201; Robert Gilpin, War and Change in International Politics (NY: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1981), pp. 129-31; and Kenneth N. Waltz, "The Emerging Structure of International Politics," International Security, Fall 1993. On the nature of civilian powers, see Hans W. Maull, "Germany and Japan: The New Civilian Powers," in Richard K. Betts, ed., Conflict After the Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace (NY: Macmillan, 1994). Back.

Note 57: Richard K. Betts, "Wealth, Power and Instability: East Asia and the United States After the Cold War," International Security, Winter 1993/94, reprinted in Michael E. Brown, Sean M. Lynn-Jones and Steven E. Miller, eds., East Asian Security: An International Security Reader (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996), p. 39. See also Aaron L. Friedberg, "Ripe for Rivalry: Prospects for Peace in a Multipolar Asia," International Security, Winter 1993/94, reprinted in ibid., p. 3. Back.

Note 58: In a 1996 meeting with top Chinese national security and defense officials, Brzezinski identified eight areas of common strategic interest between the US and China: 1) a peaceful Southeast Asia, 2) nonuse of force in the resolution of offshore issues, 3) peaceful reunification of China, 4) stability in Korea, 5) independence for Central Asia, 6) a balance between India and Pakistan, 7) an economically dynamic and internationally benign Japan, and 8) a stable but not too strong Russia. Zbigniew Brzezenski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperative (NY: Basic Books, 1997), pp. 171-3, 187, nt. 10. Back.

Note 59: Betts, "Wealth, Power and Instability," p.58. Back.

Note 60: Ross, "The Geography of the Peace," pp. 93-111. Back.

Note 61: While Ross argues that Japan cannot become a great power capable of challenging the US, other argue that it will and war between Japan and the US is inevitable. See George Friedman and Meredith Lebard, The Coming War with Japan (NY: St. Martin’s, 1991). This extreme realist position assumes there would be no common interests binding the US and Japan together after the end of the cold war, that the struggle for energy and raw materials is decisive in building and sustaining Japanese power, and that these needs will inevitably conflict with US global dominance and control of the sea lanes. Back.

Note 62: Peter J. Katzenstein and Nobuo Okawara, "Japan’s National Security: Structures, Norms and Policies," International Security, Spring 1993, reprinted in Michael E. Brown, East Asian Security. Back.

Note 63: Quoted in Betts, "Wealth, Power and Instability," p. 48. Back.

Note 64: James Manor and Gerald Segal, "Taking India Seriously," Survival, Summer 1998; Charles Wolf, Jr., et al., Long-Term Economic and Military Trends, pp. 17,52, and 11; and Zbrzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, p. 156. Back.

Note 65: Amitav Acharya, "Realism, Institutionalism, and the Asian Economic Crisis," Contemporary Southeast Asia, April 1999. Back.

Note 66: Paul Bracken, Fire in the East. Back.

Note 67: Snapshots of aspects of democratic reform in Chinese society can be found in Merle Goldman and Roderick MacFarquhar, eds., The Paradox of China’s Post-Mao Reforms (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1999). Back.

Note 68: There is still considerable controversy over the extent to which democracies abstain from war with each other, and why, if they do, that is the case. See Christopher Layne, "Kant or Cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace"; David E. Spiro, "The Insignficance of the Liberal Peace"; and John M. Owen, "How Liberalism Produces Democratic Peace", all in International Security, Fall 1994; and the critiques and responses by Bruce Russett, Christopher Layne, David E. Spiro and Michael Doyle, in International Security, Spring 1995. In a review of the literature on the democratic peace, Jack S. Levy states that "This absence of war between democratic states comes as close as anything we have to an empirical law in international relations." Levy, "The Causes of War," p. 270. Back.

Note 69: Mel Gurtov and Byong-Moo Hwang, China’s Security: The New Roles of the Military (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1998), pp. 4-9. Back.

Note 70: Yong Deng, "The Chinese Conception of National Interests in International Relations;" and Larry M. Wortzel, "China and Strategy: China Pursues Traditional Great-Power Status," Orbis, Spring 1994. As Gerald Segal puts it, "China’s nineteenth-century attitude to sovereignty is particularly unsuited to the post-modernism of the twenty-first century." Segal, "Tying China into the International System," Survival, ?? , p. 72. It is logical to expect that many of those who are internationalist in orientation are also pro-democracy at home and vice versus, but that certainly is not always the case. The "Say No Club", Chinese opponents of globalization who are also hostile to the US, do however, favor democratization at home. Susan V. Lawrence, Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), January 13, 2000, pp. 61-81. Back.

Note 71: The quote is from Barry Buzan, "Economic Structure and International Security: the Limits of the Liberal Case," International Organization, Autumn 1984, p. 597. See also Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition (NY: Little, Brown, 1977), especially pp. 27-29; and Richard Rosecrance, The Rise of the Virtual State: Wealth and Power in the Coming Century (NY: Basic Books, 1999). Back.

Note 72: Rosecrance, The Rise of the Virtual State, preface and pp. 22, 82. Back.

Note 73: Segal, "Tying China into the International System"; Nathan and Ross, The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress, especially pp. 175-7, 231-6. Back.

Note 74: Thomas W. Robinson, "Interdependence in China’s Foreign Relations," Kim, China and the World, p. 205. Back.

Note 75: Mark W. Frazier, "Coming to Terms with the ‘WTO effect’ on US--China Trade and China’s Economic Growth," NBR Briefing, The National Bureau of Asian Research, September 1999. Back.

Note 76: Rosecrance, The Rise of the Virtual State, pp. 94-97. As James Shinn points out, China’s increasing energy shortfall means that, "Like Japan, China is becoming inescapably vulnerable to a long thin line of oil tankers streaming eastward from the Persian Gulf." Shinn, Weaving the Net, p. 37. Back.

Note 77: Paul A. Papayoanou found in his study of late nineteenth and twentieth century alliance partners that trade and security ties tended to coincide with each other and nurture each other. Whether economic interdependence will have a pacifying effect in the great power system depends on the level and the pattern of economic ties. Papayoanou, Power Ties: Economic Interdependence, Balancing, and War (Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1999). One minor but nonetheless significant example of the influence economic ties can give China over the US can already be cited. Maryland Governor Paris Glendening and the mayors of Seattle, Baltimore and San Francisco apologized for issuing proclamations honoring Li Hongzhi, the leader of the Falun Gong organization, after the Chinese Ambassador protested the proclamations, "in no uncertain terms." Mayor Schell of Seattle rescinded the proclamation, and the letter of apology to the Chinese from Governor Glendening’s office was reviewed by the US State Department. The Chinese Embassy has trumpeted the reversals on its World Wide Web site, and quoted Mayor Schell as saying he was embarrassed by making such a careless proclamation. Washington Post, December 11, 1999, A25. Back.

Note 78: Barry Buzan, "Economic Structure and International Security," p. 615. Back.

Note 79: Regarding the future of Sino-US relations, Kenneth Waltz’s contention that "The uneven distribution of capabilities continues to be the key to understanding international politics" perhaps exaggerates, but he highlights the best analytical starting place. Waltz, "Globalization and Governance," 1999 James Madison Lecture, American Political Science Association web site. Back.