POL101Y1: Democracy, Dictatorship, War and Peace
PART II: War and Peace
Lecture IX – The Rise of Great Powers: International Relations Theory, Uncertain Realities
and the Rise of China.
Democratic peace theory – argues that democracies tend not to fight one another.
Often democracies are allies, adhere to liberal, capitalist ideological ethos, and
democracies tend to be slow.
As an industry, democracy is not very good at theory. E.g. we did not predict the end of
the Cold War.
One of the characteristics of politics/international relations is uncertainty.
Two contending forces: uncertainty but, on the other hand, political scientist try to
EX. Taiwan: 800 – 1500 missiles:
o Missiles pointed at Taiwan; it is the fourteen largest trading countries in the world, one of
the richest in Asia and it is a democracy.
o In the 1970s, China begins to rise and normalize relations with the west (US); once this
happens, the government in Taiwan is no longer legitimate – loses its seat in the UN and
its sovereignty – legally speaking it has become a province of China.
o Even though it is a de jure Chinese province it is essentially independent but is not
recognized as being a formally independent state; “de facto independent state”.
o 1996 missile crises; on the eve of presidential elections in Taiwan China launches
o 2005 Anti-Secession Law: should Taiwan declare independence, China will use force.
o 2010 Arms Procurement Bill: Taiwan buys large amounts of military equipment from the
US; they said they would come to the aide of Taiwan if they were attacked.
o US recognizes that Taiwan is of strategic and significant to the US; largest natural aircraft
carrier for the US; also they will defend them on moral grounds.
o There is tremendous uncertainty in this case; Taiwan only began to worry after the 1990s
when China rose to power.
What We Know:
(I) China is an economic superpower.
(II) Hard power: military power and capability. China is the second largest military
spender in the world.
o Active military personnel – 1:5:1 (PRC:US); in terms of active personnel the military in
China is larger than the US. Available personnel is five times larger than
o Land based weapons – 1:1; the US and China are equal.
o Naval Ships – 1:2; the US is greater in naval ships but China has been spending more. Toneguzzo 2
(III) Soft power: the ability of a country to influence another country without the use of
o Gaining soft power in terms of investment; buying influence by investing capital and
foreign exchange in otherwise resting economies.
o Energy security problem – relies on imports of energy sources from around the world;
one of its key targets is Canada; increasingly investing in Canada in our natural
resources and energy stock. At the end of 2009, Chinese investments in Canada (just
from two firms) equalled 10 Billion US dollars. Through these investments, China is
buying a stake in Canada, how our government behaves, and the relationship between
these two countries.
o Soft power is also about emulation; people wanting to be like your country; Beijing
Consensus – offering an alternative model of development and a model that more and
more people around the world wish to emulate; also see increasing cultural power
around the world.
o United State used to have a lot of soft power but, in the last few decades American soft
power is in decline and China’s in on the rise.
(IV) America’s Decline: western influence is developing regions will thereby be
diminishes; many Americans are concerned about losing strategic influence in Asia.
o There is a rapid shift of power and influence from the US to China; “China, today, not
only has a more vigorous economy, but actually a better functioning government than
the US.” – George Soros, 2010.
o The American economy effectively bank rolled the East Asian economic develop by
purchasing the goods China produces.
o China’s rise is a midst America’s decline and the fact that China is rising as America is
perceived to be declining, this has international relations presumptuous implications; we
may see the demise of the international relations system.
o Is this rise of China a serious threat? Will it have systemic implications on the
o 43% of Canadians view China as an economic opportunity.
o 60 % view it as a military threat.
o 66% believe China will surpass the influence of the United States.
o Majority foresee systematic change in the international system.
The International System:
Three core principles:
(I) Sovereignty: defines our boarders, gives government ability to tax and raise a
military, regardless of how powerful/not powerful other countries have to respect a
country’s boarders due to sovereignty.
(II) Power: and the distribution of power; economic, hard, soft; comprehensive power is
the ability to influence others. It is an inducement. In our international system the Toneguzzo 3
distribution of power is inherently unequal. On the one hand all states are equal when
it comes to sovereignty; however there is inequality by virtue of the distribution of
(III) Anarchic International System: because there is no global government; the rules of
the UN system are difficult to enforce; no international police force, taxation, etc.
There is no global state t