Chinese-American political relations of the recent times have attracted attention of the whole world. Some people believe that peaceful rise of China is impossible, until such country as the USA exists on the map. Still others consider that peace can be maintained and the two states can resolve the situation they are in right now. Who is right and who is wrong? In this paper we will provide a summary of Charles Glaser’s article, dedicated to the topic of the current Chinese-American political relations. Statements in supports and against the author’s point of view will be laid down and more than one perspective of the situation’s development will be analyzed.
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Charles Glaser in his article describes the opinions of optimistic liberals and pessimistic realists, who are arguing considering the two possible consequences of China’s rise in respect to the USA. What are their main points of view, concerning the issue? The former ones consider that peaceful rise of China is possible and that this country will rather join the existing world order than try to change the established system to create its own. The latter ones are of contrary opinion. They believe that China’s rise will be accompanied by the severe competition between this country and the USA. These people consider that China will pursue its own interests and the USA, as well as all the other countries, is to balance it. They predict that hegemonic war between the two states is unavoidable (2011). The author of the article states that, in the end, everything will still depend on how the leaders of the two countries resolve the situation. The matter is that the USA can adjust to the developments connected to the China’s rise, make some concessions and not to exaggerate the threat that it poses, but it can also do the contrary. Charles Glaser emphasizes that the problem of today’s Chinese-American political relations greatly depends on the security dilemma. It lies in the fact that countries’ attempts to increase its own security may result in reducing the security of the others. Charles Glaser also points out that the nuclear weapons, separation by Pacific Ocean and current relatively good political relations between China and the USA should give the opportunity to the both countries to keep security at high levels and avoid stringing up their relationship because of military policies (2011).
Can pessimistic realists be supported in their opinion that the war is right at the corner? Of course current relations between the USA and China may cause military conflict, but they both are aware of the fact that neither of them would win the war and the great damage inflicted will harm not only them, but also the whole world economy (Lieven, 2012). The two states obviously possess great power. They also see each other as competitors, especially in the military aspect. But is it reasonable for them to start the World War III only because they can’t accept the power of each other? (Hastings, 2011)
Can the relationship between the USA and China be viewed as a threat to the world that is amounting to terrorism? It would probably be reasonable to define what exactly is meant by terrorism in this respect. There is no any unified definition of it, but, according to James Lutz, terrorism involves political objective through the threat of violence (Lutz, 2010). China and the USA pursue their own political aims and, while doing this, create a threat of war. How is it not terrorism?
The war between China and the USA is very much unlikely, because these two countries are important trading partners and the conflict will not bring benefit to them. There are no precious things to fight for and it is very unlikely that China will go to war solely because of Taiwan. The same is with the USA – chances are little that it will start military conflict only because of human rights. No matter what, China and the USA are business partners and this is an important argument not to start war.
What are the most probable causes of the war, if it is still unavoidable? One of them is Taiwan. If China still decides to get this country under control while trying to create “one unified China”, there is a problem with the USA, because it assured Taiwan that it will defend it in case some other country will try to determine its future. If Barack Obama stays in the office, most probably Taiwan will be unified with China. But if Republicans will be in the office, the USA will attempt to defend Taiwan. If war still starts, it will be over Taiwan. In the 80-90s of the twentieth century it seemed that this will not happen, but there appeared so many reasons today that it still remains very probable.
One more very likely conflict may be connected to South Korea and North Korea. China may interfere in South Korea-North Korea conflict and will definitely take the side of North Korea, while the USA will take the side of South Korea. In this scenario, who knows what may happen. There still remains one more possibility. The least likely conflict is to appear because of Russia. China may invade this country to seize resources. But these are only assumptions. Who will win depends on multiple factors and economic one is not the least of them. Because in the times of current crisis, China may have chances to win in economic respect. But if to talk about military capabilities, it becomes obvious that the USA will be the winner.
To conclude with, the future of Chinese-American political relations is rather vague and obscure. There are people, who are of the opinion that war is to be expected because the two countries can’t coexist peacefully, as they both want hegemony in the Indo-Pacific region. There are also those, who consider that peace for both states is far more important than power acquisition that is why talks about conflict will remain only talks. Although the probability of a military conflict is rather high, the two countries are aware of the possible consequences and are wise enough not to engage themselves and the whole world in the war that will cause more damage and sufferings, than may do any good.
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