US Grand National Security:
China and the United States in East Asian Regionalism
The study argues that since the end of the Cold War, regionalism has been changed due to the changing US-China interactions. It has also cause a great influence, development, and transformation of the security, political, and economic cooperation in the region. Thus, the study intend to present understanding of the historical inter-connections between the two countries (United States and China) in East Asia and their dynamic nexus with the regional evolution. The study has followed literature analysis methodology to evaluate the Grand National security of the United States driven by power rivalry, geopolitics, realism, balance of power, and political economy. The findings of the study will be helpful to analyze how the rise of China has become a great threat to the US, due to which the US has changes its national security policies in the East Asia.
Key Words: China, United States, Cooperation, Competition, Security
Focusing to the regional integration in East Asia, it is consensus that three largest economies; South Korea, Japan, and China have proved them as a key players in driving the integration process. Due to their largest influence on the region’s international relations, they have also shaped the pivotal role of the super power, the United States. Specially, the political and economic rise of China in the past decades has highly influenced the international political economy and shaped regional integration’s direction. However, this influence of the China-US relations on regional integration will determine its success or failure in East Asia. Thus, it becomes clear that understanding the evolution of regional integration in the East Asia cannot be done without having a deep look to the relationships between China and the US in East Asia.
After the end of Cold War, the relations between China and United States have evolved several stages in East Asia. Especially the collapse of the USSR proved to be the great influential to the American-European-Asian military alliance, which lost its legitimacy and compelling rationale in the region. After such incidents, it became crucial for the US to evaluate and maintain the US-centered core structure in the East Asia? The questions rose regarding the new political force after the USSR. The answer of this question was of great importance to the United States to identify the presence of new force as the threat to the US?
The transformation of international political economy after the Cold War contributed to the competition relations between the two powers of the world; the China and the US in East Asia. Also, the transition of the US Administration and the dramatic rise of China made it necessary to conceptualize the cooperation relationship and complex competition between the two powers.
Methodologically, the study has followed the meta-analysis approach for providing the evaluation of contradictory elements in China-US relationship and its impact on regional integration process in East Asia. Further, to analyze the cooperation and dual interactions of conflict between two powers within the historical, geopolitical and political economy perspectives, and to understand their transformations impact on East Asian regionalism in different periods.
Starting with the analysis of the Rise of China in East Asia, It is developing day by day, and along with its development, it’s economic growth, trading volume growth, regional relations, international relation, and international investments are also on rise. Now China’s this rise has become the major focus of all scholars and analysts. The scholars are now making different assumptions about China’s rise that if it will be violent or peaceful. As China’s rise is most relevant to the international relations (IR) so the answers of this question can be achieved by competing the rise of China with the theoretical perspectives of international relations. Most of the scholars think that China’s rise will cause so many conflicts later. These scholars analyze the rise of China by the vision of either offensive realism or power transition theory.
Phases of Chinese International Relation Theories:
In the post-cold war era, the two important phenomena are the China’s rise and China’s integration with global community. Several Western international relations theories have been done on such issues but somehow the problem is that these theories cannot explain the non-Western regions properly. To predict the outcomes of the China’s rise, the international relational theories can be employed. The Western international relations theory, while explaining China’s rise, has few limitations due to the different geo cultural and geo-political roots. Now-a-days various debates are going on about the China’s rise, China’s development and democracy. However, the concern of this study is to theorize China’s rise. The understanding of China’s rise depends on the techniques, method, and sources employed by China (Knutsen 1997).
When talking about China’s rise then during the Maoist era (1949-76), Chinese state has controlled the International Relations (IR) as highly ideological field and the best guiding force in Chinese international affairs was the “Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong” thought. In 1992, ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ of Deng Xiaoping became the special attention and guiding ideology to establish international relations (IR) for empirical research and theoretical research. In 1980, ‘National Association of History of International Relations’ (NAHIR) established as the 1st academic association. This association worked hard for the development of international relations as a separate discipline. Later on, the name was changed to China National Association for International Studies (CNAIS) to have a wide coverage (Viotti 1999).
International relations community of China explained Chinese behavior and foreign policy by translating Western International Relations Theories liberalism, classics of realism, Marxism, and constructivism. However, Chinese IR community work was source of inspiration because it was quite hard to establish Chinese International Relations Theories by dominant Western IRT. Chinese international relations community did this inspiring work by employing Western theoretical achievements and traditional Chinese philosophy. China basically focus on international relations and established many international relations schools rather than one school which supported to the establishment of Chinese international relations theory, which added the diverse and rich ontological assumptions for pluralising the Western international relations theory.
Development of IR:
In China, the development of IR has taken place in three phases namely,
•Theory-innovation phase (2007 till today).
Pre-Theory Phase (1978-90):
In this phase, both Leninism and Marxism were dominant but on the other hand, due to the innovative thinking realism was on the rise. However, for the construction of theoretical paradigm, no attempt was made. This period was of the development of ‘Three World Theory’. This theory was about three worlds. First world consists of USSR and US; second world consists of Western allies and US and on the other side East European allies and USSR; and third world consists of Africa, Asian, and Latin American countries. At that time, the significant development was the belief of two schools of Marxism. Out of these two, one believed that revolution drawing upon the analysis of imperialism of Lenin and the world was in the era of war. On the other hand, other school stressed that the development of Marxism depends on the changes in international politics and economy. In other words, the first school focused on international class struggle and the other school favoured economic and reform development (Yaqing 2009).
Theory-learning Phase (1991-2007):
In this phase, International Relations discipline became academic community and on the other side, realism and liberalism referred to the knowledge-oriented research. In 1992, China started to make some steps to establish its own international relations theories instead of copying the Western IRT. In this era a lot had been done by the Chinese Government for the establishment of Chinese IRT but in 2002, it was expected that the communist party will represent the advanced culture and social productive forces, and will also represent the interests of people. These expectations diverted the focus of China from classical mainstream international relations theories to complexity theory and world governance theory. From 2001 to 2007, the debate about the peaceful rise of China was going on, which implies that behavior and identity are changeable and developed a deep interest in constructivism. During this phase the Chinese international relations community employed the analytical frameworks and methodologies of United States for the explanation of Chinese behavior and experiences. Among the international relations scholars of China, the interest in constructivism was an amazing feature of this phase. Chinese IR theories were helpful to understand the international political complexities and were tool for the foreign policy interpretation (Cohen 1990).
Theory-innovation Phase (2007-today):
In this phase, the focus was to build Chinese international relations theory rather than to develop it. In 2007, the whole world was trying to achieve harmonious society and harmonious world with peaceful developments. This concept of the development of harmonious society and harmonious world revolves around mutual co-operation for common prosperity, multilateralism for common security, United Nation Security Council (UNSC) reforms, and spirit for harmonious world. In this phase, some Chinese leaders were trying to achieve the high growth rate, while the others were trying for balanced development in China. However, the interest of constructivism coincided with China’s peaceful rise discussions change at the international level. This change is due to the China’s success in international society. This success rise of China has led it to explain the national interests for a peaceful rise all over the world. When debating over the China’s international relations development, China has concentrated on some issues like Will the Chinese school of IR theories be able to emerge, sustain and develop itself, is social theory rooted or universal in the history, and should the positivist methodology guide International Relations research? (R. Kitts 1990)
International Relation Debate:
This section is about the theoretical breakthrough of International relations of China. In 2008, Yan Xuetong highlighted the need to develop Chinese international relations theories. He was the traditional thinker who believes spring to autumn period. He used to emphasis on the quantitative methods but he was also aware of the fact that different questions demand different methodologies like causal analysis, hypothesis testing, verifiability and objectivity. He presented an idea on ‘use traditional culture as soft power’. This idea was the basic inspiration for the soft power of China’s strategy. He was influenced by ‘level of analysis’ tool which led to the analytical perspectives of ‘Guanzi and Hanfeizi’ on the state level, ‘Mozi and Laozi’ on the system level and ‘Confucius, Xunzi and Mencius’ on an individual level. He thought that in international politics the central factor is the hard power but this is not always the case, especially in the case of military and economic power (Xuetong 2008).
In 2009, Zhao Tinyang argues that the global problems cannot be solved by inter-state institutions. At that time, Tianxia institutions were established by China as Chinese cultural concept. These institutions were solving the global problems. In fact, if we go in deep concept of the Tianxia institutions then the word “Tianxia” has three meanings. First meaning is “as all peoples in the world”, second meaning is “as the land of the world” and the third meaning is “as a world institution combined in single term”. It basically emphasizes on the unity of the psychological world, physical world, and the political world. The concept of Tianxia (all-under-heaven) favours the world measure based order. According to its concept, the issues of the world should be measured in the world context. However, Tianxia system’s basic assumption is the principle of subjectivity. He feels that China needs to excel in knowledge production as well as economic production to achieve the position as world power. China should now exploit its own resources of traditional thoughts instead of importing ideas from West. Only by this way China can become the knowledge power. Whenever there is need to rethink and reconstruct China then the problem arises that now China’s issues are the issues of the World, so instead of rethinking and reconstructing China, one must focus on “Rethink the World and Reconstruct the World”. The China’s rise has changed the order of the world and now the problem is to conceptualize the new world. If we focus on the social factors, such as ethics, identity and hierarchy then these social factors are the basic keys to Tianxia system. To protect the China’s way of understanding the world, He considers the Chinese School as a cultural sovereignty assertion. He constructed an IR theory based on ancient philosophy of China to rethink the contemporary global politics (Zhao 2009).
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