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Making Sense of the Rise of China: International Relations Theory and Uncertain Relations

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Political Science

POL101 Nov. 22/2010 Making Sense of the Rise of China: International Relations Theory and Uncertain Relations *Essay question will be on international relations (this lecture & the next 2) Democracies do not fight democracies: Tend to be normatively alike, in alliance together, pursue diplomatic channels of conflict resolution, tend to be liberal economies centered on foreign trade, tend to be relatively slow & take a long time to make decisions International Relations Theory: Tries to explain state or country behaviour, why do countries behave in the ways that they do Taiwan, Republic of China De Jure Chinese province Taiwan is no longer a legitimate country, & Taiwan loses its sovereignty (it’s an illegitimate government) Taiwan is a democracy, has its governments, laws, & elections Functions & looks like a state, but isn’t legally a state By the level of the law, Taiwan is a province of China Any movements for independence, angers China De facto independent state U.S will protect Taiwan if it were to be attacked by China China & the U.S are constantly engaged in this conflict 1996 Missile Crisis China launched missiles on Taiwan 2005 Anti-Secession Law If Taiwan declares independence, they will be attacked by China 2010 Arms Procurement Bill U.S sold military arms to Taiwan; while saying “we love you China” The world did not recognize communist China during the Cold War, but it did recognize the national government in Taiwan as legitimate China begins to normalize relations with the United States Taiwan is of strategic importance to China; it’s a natural aircraft carrier (perfect place to put an airbase) Taiwanese say that China will not attack because Taiwan is protected by the U.S The key point here is uncertainty: We do not know how China will react – Will they attack Taiwan? How will Taiwan react? – Will they maintain the status quo as an illegitimate country? How will the U.S react? If anything happens to Taiwan, the U.S will by law have to move in China’s Rise: What We Know (I) China’s Economic Rise We do know some things for certain: China’s rise is a function of its economic rise (matter of time before it becomes the largest economy in the world) (II) Hard Power 2 largest military spender in the world China is a nuclear power In terms of active military personnel – the size of its active personnel is 50% greater than the U.S Lagging in terms of the navy, but is working on naval ships If China got serious and mobilized its population, the # of soldiers is 5 times greater than that of the U.S (III) Soft Power (Influence) Investing money into the developing world (in particular Africa) to extract natural resources for energy commodities (energy security) Developing countries buying into the Chinese model Beijing Consensus China possesses a cultural power (people want to learn about China) Correlates with decline of American power (American power is spread thinly, economy has taken a huge hit) People are saying that the American economy is in decline China is a better functioning economy than the U.S Western influence in developing countries will diminish The rise of China’s economy (hard power), increasing soft power, & America’s decline is of a potential transformative mode The International SYSTEM Made of 3 core principles: Sovereignty: Treaty of Westphalia Nation states are internally constituted (rules & laws that are enforced, nation- states defend their borders) Externally constituted: we respect each other’s borders Power and the distribution of power 1. Economic 2. Hard (military) power 3. Soft Power The core definition of power is the ability to influence others Distribution of power – some countries are more powerful than others Borders are equally respected, but there is an unequal distribution of power Anarchic international system The absence of world government As citizens, we are loyal to our nation-state (the UN is NOT a world government because there is no way for them to enforce rules) No international police force, taxation system, but we have an anarchic system in which we can hopefully have order The respect for sovereignty helps to create order (creates borders, defensive mechanisms) This order is fragile (i.e. Iraqi invasion of Kuwait) sovereignty is a good ordering principal, but it’s a fragile one What does the Rise of China Mean? We have no idea because international politics and relations are uncertain. Potential Scenarios Scenario #1: US Hegemony End of Cold War – Pax Americana Unequivocal US values; Liberalism proved to be history’s greatest victor (US the strongest military in the world, the US economy was also the strongest in the world) Hegemony was such that the US made the rules of the games because they had extraordinary influence over international affairs Military & economic hegemony Rule-maker Total and utter domination, so powerful that they could do what
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