CSS Solved International Relations Paper 1 Past Paper 2023 | Does China’s rise challenge the global political system? What are the implications on the balance of power politics?
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The examiner wants to ask about the rise of China in geopolitical, geo-economic and geostrategic domains. Its implications on the existing global political system, which is dominated by the US. Besides, the examiner wants you to analyse how the rise of China disturbs the balance of power politics on a global scale. Finally, analyse the whole situation through the analytical lens of theories of international relations.
2- The Global political system in the 21st century
3- How is China challenging the global political system?
- ✓ China as an economic powerhouse
- ✓ Military Modernization of China
- ✓ Diplomatic Assertiveness
- ✓ Economic Statecraft
- ✓ Cyber power
4-Theory of balance of power: Ensuring relative peace in global power politics
5-Implications on balance of power politics in the backdrop of China’s rise in global political system
- ✓ Shifting the balance of Power
- ✓ Changing Power Relationships
- ✓ Emergence of Multipolarity
- ✓ Uncertainty and Volatility
- ✓ New Forms of Power
6- Analytical framework
- ✓ Realism
- ✓ Liberalism
- ✓ Analysis of scholars
Answer to the Question
“China is poised to have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country.”Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), handling of covid-19 episode, the military power show over the Taiwan issue and the South China Sea, Competition in cyberspace and Artificial Intelligence, and formulation of the Washington Consensus vs. Beijing Consensus show the gravity of the situation that established global political order has to face in the retrospective of China’s rise in economic, political, military, technological and social domains. China’s growing influence in international institutions and its assertiveness in territorial disputes and economic policies have led to tensions with other countries, especially the US. This has raised questions about the future of the global political order and the distribution of power among states.
Global Political System in 21st Century
The global political system has been characterized by increased globalization and interdependence, the rise of non-state actors, the increasing role of emerging powers, and the proliferation of transnational issues such as climate change, cyber security, and terrorism. These dynamics have challenged traditional power structures and shifted the balance of power among nation-states, leading to a more complex and dynamic international landscape. The rise of new technologies and the growth of digital communication has allowed for the rapid dissemination of information and created new avenues for political engagement and activism. As a result, the global political system is becoming more decentralized and fragmented, and the traditional Westphalian system of sovereign nation-states is being challenged by new forms of governance and international cooperation.
“The rise of China is the single most important development shaping the world today.”John McCain, former U.S. Senator
How China is challenging the global political system?
Following are the areas where China has challenged the established global political system.
- China as an economic powerhouse
China has become the world’s second-largest economy and a major player in the global economic system. This has given China significant economic leverage and the ability to shape the global economic landscape. For example, China has used its economic power to invest in infrastructure projects and to provide financial support to countries in need, thereby increasing its influence in those countries.
- Military Modernization of China
China has been modernizing its military and increasing its military capabilities, which has raised concerns about China’s regional and global military ambitions and heightened tensions with other major powers. China’s military modernization has challenged the global political system by altering the balance of power in Asia and the Indo-Pacific region. Taiwan issue and South China Sea dispute are major cases in point in this context.
- Diplomatic Assertiveness
China has been increasingly assertive in its diplomacy, advocating for a more multipolar world and challenging the traditional Western-dominated international system. China has sought to build alternative international institutions, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which challenge the existing international system dominated by Western-led institutions like the United Nations and the World Bank.
- Economic Statecraft
China has leveraged its growing economic power to advance its political and strategic interests. This includes using economic incentives and sanctions to influence the behaviour of other countries, as well as using its economic influence to shape the global political landscape. For example, China has used its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to gain influence in participating countries and to advance its strategic interests.
- Cyber power
China has also become a major player in the digital world, leveraging its capabilities in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity to challenge the global political system. China has been accused of engaging in cyber espionage and cyberattacks, which have raised concerns about the security of critical infrastructure and the protection of personal data.
These manifestations show that China’s rise in different important domains is critical for the existing global political system which
“China’s rapid economic growth and its increasing global influence will shape the world in ways we can only begin to imagine.”Barack Obama, former U.S. President
Theory of balance of power: Ensuring relative peace in global power politics
The theory of balance of power refers to the idea that nations in the international system will seek to maintain a balance of power in order to prevent any one nation from achieving dominant or hegemonic power. The idea is that a balance of power among nations will promote stability and prevent conflict, as nations will be less likely to engage in aggressive behaviour if they know that other nations have the power to respond in kind.
In the context of global power politics, the theory of balance of power can be seen as a way to understand the behaviour of nations and the relationships between them. For example, the rise of new powers like China and the decline of traditional powers like the United States have led to a shift in the balance of power in the international system, which has in turn led to new patterns of behaviour among nations and changes in the relationships between them.
“The world is witnessing the rise of a new global superpower – China.”Tony Blair, former British Prime Minister
Implications on balance of power politics in the backdrop of China’s rise in global political system
The rise of China in the global political system has important implications for the balance of power politics.
- Shifting the Balance of Power
China’s rapid economic growth and military expansion has led to a shift in the balance of power in the international system, with China increasingly challenging the traditional dominance of the United States and other Western powers. For example, China has become the world’s largest economy, and its military spending has grown significantly in recent years, allowing it to project its power and influence more effectively.
- Changing Power Relationships
The rise of China has led to changes in the power relationships between nations, as countries seek to adjust to the new balance of power. For instance, China has formed new alliances and partnerships, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, which is aimed at promoting economic development and integrating China more deeply into the global economy. At the same time, China’s rise has also led to increased competition and tensions with other nations, such as the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Emergence of Multipolarity
The rise of China has contributed to the emergence of a more multipolar world, with multiple centers of power and influence. This has challenged the traditional concept of balance of power, which was based on the idea of a bipolar world with two dominant powers. For example, the increasing influence of China and other emerging powers has led to a more complex and dynamic international system, with multiple actors pursuing their own interests and objectives.
- Uncertainty and Volatility
The rise of China has created uncertainty and volatility in the international system, as nations seek to understand and respond to the changing balance of power. For example, the territorial disputes in the South China Sea have heightened tensions between China and other nations, and raised the possibility of conflict in the region. At the same time, the uncertainty surrounding China’s political and economic system has led to increased volatility in financial markets, as investors seek to understand the risks and opportunities posed by China’s rise.
- New Forms of Power: The rise of China has also highlighted the importance of new forms of power, such as economic and technological power, in the international system. For example, China’s technological advancements, particularly in the area of artificial intelligence, have allowed it to gain a competitive advantage in key industries, and to assert its influence in new and innovative ways.
“China’s rise as a global power is a transformative development for our time, and its impact will be felt for generations to come.”Theresa May, former British Prime Minister
The analytical lens sees the rise of China in global political system in the following manner.
Realism is one of the most widely-used theories of international relations, and it views the international system as being dominated by states seeking to maximize their power and security. According to realist theory, China’s rise to global power can be seen as a result of its efforts to increase its military and economic power, in order to secure its interests and protect its sovereignty.
Liberalism is another prominent theory of international relations, and it views the international system as being dominated by cooperation and interdependence between states. According to liberal theory, China’s rise to global power can be seen as a result of its integration into the global economy and its participation in international institutions and organizations.
- Analysis of Scholars
- Joseph Nye:
Joseph Nye, a prominent political scientist and scholar, has commented that China’s rise to global political power is a result of its combination of soft and hard power. Nye argues that China’s growing economic influence and its ability to project cultural and ideological influence globally has allowed it to challenge the dominance of the United States in the international system.
- John Mearsheimer:
John Mearsheimer, a political scientist and international relations scholar, has commented that China’s rise to global political power is a result of its efforts to challenge the existing international system. Mearsheimer argues that China’s growing military and economic power has allowed it to challenge the dominance of the United States in the international system, and that this will have significant implications for the balance of power in the coming years.
- Joseph Nye:
To pen off, China’s rise to global political power has important implications for the future of the international system and the balance of power politics. Whether China will continue to challenge the existing international system, or whether it will work to integrate itself into the existing norms and institutions, will have a significant impact on the future of the global political system and the balance of power politics. The deciding factors are the time and and how power relations among states and institutions take place in economic and political domain will decide the lion’s share of either China or the US in global political power arena.
“Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world.”
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