China Is A Player At The Table

1579 Words7 Pages
In the 21st century, U.S.-China relations have been shaped by the perception and acknowledgment that “China is a player at the table”. As a result, many have turned to international relation theories to predict whether China’s rise will peaceful or conflicted. Most understand that international relations are a “combination of forces and factors that are regarded as being diametrically opposed to one another”(Friedberg 2005 p11). However, in the unique case of U.S.-China relations, there is not only disagreement between theories, but also disagreement within theories. In examining the future of U.S.-China relations through the lens of realism, liberalism and constructivism there is optimism and pessimism within each theory. While IR predictions about China and U.S. range from “clash of civilizations” to “peaceful co-existence”, the one shared agreement that is that America cannot prevent China’s rise. Given this reality, there is evidence supporting each prediction. However, the optimistic realism perspective is essential because it helps to balance America’s understanding to treat China as it is, and offers the foresight to recognize China for what it may become.
As with many theories of IR, there is a divide in realism regarding the future of China, leading some to call it “a tale of two realisms”. Offensive realists believe China’s rapid economic growth, military strength, and rising power will lead it to a peer competitor of the U.S. They presume that China will use
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