Eagles, Tigers, and Rising Powers.

A summary with analysis on "Can China Rise Peacefully." The writing of John J Mearsheimer addresses the question of "Can China rise peacefully?" Mearsheimer begins to answer this question by addressing the state's current policies by figuring out how China's government thinks. Based on its national history, foreign policy, China's current claims in the south China sea, and its growing economy. First, we have to examine America's position globally because the US would be interested in stopping China's rise to power. After 1989, America wins the cold war when the USSR dissolves into smaller countries, losing its regional hegemony by having smaller states buffer them. America is the sole superpower. A unipolar world is one in which a single country can compel other states to behave in a certain way or otherwise coerced under military threat. America has not had to deal with any other major powers since the cold war. It has gained the ability to wage war with minor powers "Iraq (1991), Bosnia (1995), Kosovo (1991), Afghanistan (2001-present), Iraq again (2003-11), and Libya (2011)... There has been no interest in great power politics since the soviet threat withered away.” (pg2/46). Since America isn't focused on global politics our author Mearsheimer believes that China given it’s large economy and continuous growth will take center stage and contest American hegemony bringing back big power politics. For China to become a player powerful enough to confront the United States of America it must first become a regional hegemon in Asia. That said America will try its best to prevent the rise of China as a regional hegemon. In the long term, Mearsheimer explains there is a serious possibility that China matches America’s economic capability and their military capabilities. America has a lot more allies to call on than China. America could use this leverage to advance it’s position in Asia or use countries closer to China to prevent it’s rise like Japan or South Korea. The US is a regional hegemon, this means that in the continent of America, and in the western hemisphere America is the most powerful player. Boasting of the biggest military capabilities and advanced technology. America’s domestic borders are secure giving it free reign over the rest of the globe. Mearsheimer argues that there is no global hegemony, nor is global hegemony possible because of the difficulties in occupation especially with international and domestic backing, the only true sign of a big power player is regional dominance. If they are unchallenged in their own hemisphere then they have the capacity to throw their weight around internationally. Mearsheimer goes on to explain how America’s early days were ruled by the principle of offensive realism, the US actively sought to take control of the rest of the territory from coast to coast. Following the principles of offensive realism in the early days of America it is the idea of “Manifest destiny” and westward expansion so they decided to fight for lands that belonged to the Native Amricans which led to war like the northwestern Indian war or the first Seminole war which won Florida from Spain. The US would purchase land whenever that prospect seemed more favorable like the Louisiana purchase. Then America made sure to protect it’s new found territory by signing laws into place like the Monroe doctrine which stated that the US would use aggressive force on European countries meddling in the America’s, and in return America would not be involved in European affairs. By 1823, the US had gained regional hegemony after having fought several wars. This included the Spanish-American war, the war of 1812-(1815), The Mexican-American war (1846-1848). The American civil war (1861-1865) was about a cultural and political battle over the government's hegemony and control of the region, which is why included in the list. After all these conflicts, America became a regional hegemony. China might have to face similar odds in order to gain its status. Meaning that big players in Asia will focus on China and help or prevent its rise. These countries are India, Russia, and Japan. China is going to have to face all these potential adversaries to gain regional hegemony of Asia. Mearsheimer says to take over Asia, they would implement a similar policy to the Monroe doctrine to control Asia. China has even warned the US about interfering in Chinese affairs in the south China sea. China has been through a lot. Before the Cold War, the period was the opium wars (1839-42) and world war II (1945). During this period, China was abused and was taken advantage of by other powers. Britain managed to subdue China with just 44 ships. Japan colonized Manchuria, a Chinese province, and renamed it Manchukuo. When China was weak, it was abused by both European powers and Asian powers, which is why China is so committed to becoming a regional hegemon so it can never again suffer like it did in the past. John Mearsheimer says that China's rise to hegemony depends entirely on itself. That it needs to take patience as its priority if it wants to succeed. Its goal should be aimed for the long-term and expecting it to take another generation. It might be that Xi Jing Ping is no longer in power when and if China becomes a regional hegemony. China's economy will continuously grow and eventually become too powerful for its neighbors. "The Chinese government has become increasingly reluctant to constrain the expression of popular nationalism and more willing to follow the popular nationalist." (19/46). Big power balancing towards China by the United States would come through alliances since America has more allies it can call upon than China. Creating a sphere of influence in Asia to contain China's growing influence. Mearsheimer says that the US containment policy towards China is the most optimal strategy. Other options are preventive war or slow China's economic growth with embargos. It is a double-edged sword, says Mearsheimer, since China cannot be isolated economically. China's neighbors are less concerned with an American conquest because America is too far away from Europe and Asia to have a significant conquest. The logistical lines would be too long. China, on the other hand, might absorb smaller countries as it grows. States might be coerced into bandwagoning with more powerful states to protect their economy from a dominating market economy. Band-wagoning states happen for their survival; they create economic ties with the powerful state to maintain international security. These small Asian countries can also create an economic trading block and exclude China from maintaining some power level but prevent China from devouring its economies. The need for state survival can also cause a "security dilemma" this means that whatever steps a state takes for its self-defense will be seen as an aggressive stance by neighboring states. Cause a never-ending need for more security implementations. As one country increases its military capacity for defensive reasons, this will attack its sovereignty. Through economic rise, Chinese hegemony says that this perspective has two components: interdependence and domestic unrest. There is this idea that China's economy is linked to the US or Japan's or India's that if one of these players stop trading with each other, their economies will hurt in the process. It is a mutually assured economic destruction. Domestic unrest can cause a state to lose its momentum and kill any warpath that it had and create an internal problem for the country attempting to win a war. To the first point of interdependence, our author says that trading even between two warring countries is still highly possible since both sides feel like they can gain something. "Trading with the enemy occurs in all-out wars fought for national independence or global dominance" (pg 44). John Mearsheimer believes that China cannot rise without conflict because it is determined to rise, and so other countries are determined to disable them from gaining regional hegemony. There were many times in the cold war when the war got hot. Similarly, Southeast Asian countries, with the help of the US, could use proxies to fight an indirect war with China. An all-out war with China is still possible because economic interdependence is not as important as people make it out to be.


China cannot rise peacefully. The policy of offensive realism is to do whatever it takes economically and militarily to gain regional hegemony. Then by the same principle, offensive realism, the US will create a coalition of Asian states to prevent this, doing whatever it takes to stop China's rise to hegemony. A strong force must meet with the same amount of force in order to stop it. There are steps that America and its allies can take to halt the rise of the Chinese superpower, which can start with a trading block between Southeast Asian countries excluding China, causing a boycott of Chinese products, which is incredibly difficult but possible. President Donald J Trump has implemented crippling embargoes on China. Limiting China's massive economy will be very hard, but its growth is slowed down and maybe even entirely reduced with enough pressure. Though, likely, trading would continue between China and other states since Mearsheimer's analysis both think they are getting the better bargain. Like George W. Bush's US-led multinational force against Iraq, a coalition of the willing can form against China. A system of alliances can deter China from starting a war in Asia if it knows that other powers like Japan, Russia, India, and the US will side together and face China head-on. A policy of containment is the best possible choice, says Mearsheimer, to stop China's economic growth. It can do through all the other previously stated approaches like an alliance system, a trading block excluding China. The US could militarize an Asian nation to the point where fighting this one country could be detrimental for China out of fear of gaining a victory that came at a great cost, a pyrrhic victory. If China does not rise peacefully, we know of certain areas where the Chinese have a strong interest, like the South China Sea and Taiwan, which will contest territories where the battles are sure to be fought. We know that conflict in these regions is high since many militaries built up on islands in the south China sea. Japan and South Korea will play a significant role in stopping China's rise since they are part of its backyard and would not want China as a regional hegemon. Mearsheimer said at the beginning, Asian countries are less worried about American hegemony because the American mainland is far away from their lands. Since Japan and South Korea are close US allies, America can militarize one or both of these states. This policy would be similar to the "two-pillar policy" The US attempted to use Saudi Arabia and Iran as US rentier states that were reliant on US arms to protect American interests in the middle east. It ultimately failed with the Iranian revolution of 1979. It can now increase military presence, weapons, and technology to deter China's rise to hegemony. We run into the security dilemma: if Japan and South Korea are now armed to the teeth by the US, China could turn around and rally other minor countries around it against the potential aggressors with foreign backing. India is another strong player interested in stopping China's rise. Likely, China cannot rise because it will come to blows with India and Taiwan. Britain has closer ties with India than China, so it is safe to assume that the US, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, and Britain would actively use proxies, drones, military intelligence, and logistics to curb China's rise. Although the US and China might never come to blows directly, Asian countries will use American aid to fight China. Therefore, there is still a high potential of armed conflict in Asia as China rises. A "Three pillar" policy is much more likely to work with Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong. It would prove to work a lot better than Iran and Saudi Arabia since both countries and Hong Kong have a common enemy in their region. They are close US allies, and Hong Kong has a fierce democratic system left behind by the British. There already are American military bases stationed in both South Korea and Japan. South Korea and Japan should focus on countries that could shift the balance of power in Asia, especially in the South China Sea, which is contested by all three mentioned states: China, Japan, and South Korea. Hong Kong has had conflicts with the Chinese government over an extradition bill that would force those arrested to be tried by a jury in Beijing rather than by their own city's jury in Hong Kong. The unfair extradition bill caused riots all over the city. Hong Kong has the potential of being a lion city-state, ruling over its people and keeping its regional control through its wealth and commerce. With enough trading, they could break China's fast economic growth sperg by having Hong Kong diverge all of China's wealth outside of the mainland.


Overall, there is a big chance that none of this happens in our lifetime because China is playing for the long-term, and this process to regional hegemony could take generations. Perhaps we live in a time when these policies start taking place. Now that the US followed offensive realism to create their nation and solidify its power from coast to coast and used the Monroe doctrine to deter any foreign intervention in South America, China will follow similar steps. The problem that the US faced at the beginning was not just its fight for independence, but it was also a series of wars that won the territories. America had to fight four different wars over a long period to obtain regional hegemony. Similarly, China will have to flex its muscles to coerce other nations into band wagoning and then to keep other powerful nations like the US, France, Britain from encroaching into its territories attempting to undermine Chinese authority. For these reasons, China cannot rise to the position of regional hegemony peacefully.