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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign Policy. U.S.-China Relations: How Should the U.S. Deal with a Rising Power?. U.S. Foreign Policy The United States and China. Background Video. What perspective is represented in the video?. U.S. Foreign Policy The United States and China.

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POLS 425 U.S. Foreign Policy

U.S.-China Relations: How Should the U.S. Deal with a Rising Power?


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

Background Video

What perspective is represented in the video?


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

  • How should the United States deal with China?

    What is the first step we must take before answering this question?

    Hint: Think like a constructivist

We must determine what China’s interests and intentions are: everything flows from the assumptions we make about what “China wants”


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

  • What does “China want”

    Realist answer: ________________________________

    Liberal answer: ________________________________

    Marxist answer: ________________________________

    Constructivst answer: __________________________

Power and regional dominance

Economic growth and prosperity

Economic dominance

“Whatever we say it wants”


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants power and regional dominance”

What are the policy implications of this realistassumption? That is, how do realist answer the question, “How should the U.S. deal with China?”


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants power and regional dominance”

Key Implication: Realists tell us that China must be treated as a strategic threat, an enemy …

“China cannot rise peacefully” (Mearschiemer)

“[China] is bound to be no strategic friend of the United States, but a long-term adversary” (Bernstein and Munro)


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants power and regional dominance”

What is the logic of the realist arguments provided by Mearsheimer and Bernstein/Munro?

Mearscheimer: “Better to be Godzilla than Bambi”

Translation

States with the potentialto become a great power,a regional hegemon, willalways do so


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants power and regional dominance”

Mearscheimer

“To predict the future of Asia, one needs a theory [i.e., realism] that explains how rising powers are likely to act and how other states attempt to establish hegemony …. The ultimate goals of every great power is to maximize its share of world power and eventually dominate the system”


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants power and regional dominance”

Bernstein and Munro

“Nothing could be more important in understanding China’s goals and self-image than its military modernization program”

Basis logic: China’s military program is objective proof that the Chinese are hell bent on countering U.S. power and, eventually, pushing the United States out of Asia altogether. When the Chinese are ready, they will not hesitate to use force to achieve their goals

According to the authors, what is significant about China’s military build-up? What does it tell us about China’s intentions?


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants economic growth and prosperity”

What are the policy implications of this liberalassumption? That is, how do liberals answer the question, “How should the U.S. deal with China?”


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants economic growth and prosperity”

Key Implications. China’s energies are directed toward creating a more prosperous economy, and confrontation with the United States will not serve this purpose

The United States, therefore, should treat China as potential strategic partner; it should build rather than burn bridges (perhaps by encouraging China’s greater integration into global institutions), and by recognizing that China has legitimate interests in Asia


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants economic growth and prosperity”

Logic of Liberal Argument …

Internationally: China’s economic growth is creating stronger basis for regional integration, which increases incentive for cooperation and reduces incentive for conflict or force

China is increasingly replacing Japan as the “hub of a transnational assembly line of production” (Feffer)

A confrontational foreign policy could disrupt China’s growth, “harm hundreds of millions of Chinese, and threaten the Communist Party’s hold on power” (Brzezinski)


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants economic growth and prosperity”

Logic of Liberal Argument …

Domestically: The democratic peace thesispresupposes that a democratic China would be less threatening; ironically, this point was made by Bernstein and Munro …

“If China became a democracy its military build-up would be far less threatening than if it remained a dictatorship”

Bernstein and Munro’s point raises an important question …


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Will China become a democracy?

  • Bernstein and Munro’s argument …

  • Democracy is “contrary to Chinese political culture”• Bureaucrats would have to relinquish power

  • The Chinese people don’t want democracy

  • Democracy would subvert foreign policy interests

How do Bernstein and Munro answer this question? Do they provide a convincing argument?


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

China as a democracy?Points to Consider

The past is not the future: no country was a democracy before it became a democracy

Democracy has always been about power and it has always involved taking power from one group

The Chinese population is huge and hugely diverse: millions may be satisfied with the status quo, but millions may want a fundamental change

The 20th century witnessed a huge increase in the number of democracies: there is no reason to believe that Chinese leaders are any more capable of stopping this trend than other dictators

There is an undeniable connection between capitalist development and democracy


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

“China wants economic growth and prosperity”

The Logic of Liberal Argument

Whether or not China becomes a democracy, liberals tell us that the country--or, more accurately, important actors within the country--will have an interest in avoiding conflict

U.S. foreign policy, therefore, should be premised on encouraging cooperation and partnership, while ensuring that China does not seriously threaten US interests; liberals, then, might support a policy of “congagement”


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

Realism and Liberalism Compared

A Key Distinction

Realistsbelieve in certainties: the certainty of confrontation, the certainty of great power behavior, the certainty of Chinese aggression

Liberals believe in uncertainty: the uncertainty of economic growth, the uncertainty of integration, the uncertainty of political change (e.g., democratization), the uncertainty of “choice”


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

Realism and Liberalism Compared

Who makes the better argument?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the realist and liberal perspectives?

Is there an alternative?

How would a constructivist approach the question of US-China relations?


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U.S. Foreign PolicyThe United States and China

A Constructivist Approach


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