According to Structural realism states perform in a self - help system, because there is no world government, there is no night - watchman who can save them if they are threatened by another state. All realists believe that states are unitary rational actors that are motivated by the desire for power and security rather than ideals. Central also for structural realism is the distribution of capabilities among states. Str – realism believes that capabilities determine a state’s place within the international system. The defensive realism believes that states are security maximizers, while the offensive realism believes that states are power maximizers. For classical realists, power is an end itself while for structural realists power is a means an end and the ultimate end is survival. However, ‘’in a zero - sum game’’ Mearshemier argues ''in it is difficult for a country to improve its prospects for survival without threatening the survival of other states.’’ Structural Realism also believes continuity in international politics, not change.
|The Cold War - Propaganda Poster|
After, the peaceful end of the Cold War the world suddenly became unipolar. Since the collapse of the bipolar system, the position of a sole superpower is held by the US. However, recently, new actors emerged in the world stage, among them China is considered as the most challenging to the US. China has a population of 1.3 billion. China's fast economic development has put the country on the world stage with great powers like the United States, EU, and Russia. As China continues to develop, the question on political observers' minds is will China rise peacefully? Structural realism argues that the structured anarchic system of the world creates a security competition which cannot allow a peaceful rise of China. One of the most well known sceptics of China’s “peaceful rise’’, the offensive realist John Mearsheimer argues that China has the right to maximize power in order to ensure its own security and survival, because in the self – help system ''it is better to be Godzilla than Bambi,'' however Mearsheimer believes that ‘an uncertainty over China’s intentions will give rise to constant security competition with the potential for war''.
By contrast to Mearsheimer’s pessimistic assumptions, Liberal Complex Interdependence is optimistic about the possibility of a peaceful rise of China. Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye in the ‘power and interdependence’ argued that under conditions of Complex interdependence the military force will have less utility. CI believes that great power relations be managed through diplomacy and international organisations. In 2017, Joseph Nye with the Project Syndicate argued that Structural realism misses the engagement and growth of economic interdependence between the US and China. Nye believes that ‘’China can rise peacefully, that there is no need for the US and China to go to war.'’ During Barack Obama's presidency, the U. S has been committed to engaging China, not containing it. Liberals believe that if China could be made both democratic and prosperous, will not engage in security competition with America. Mearshiemer who advocates tougher scrutiny of Chinese policies pointed out that ‘’the U.S. foreign policy on China to engage or to foster trade are “misguided and doomed to fail, that a rich China and the United States are more likely to participate in security competition.” However, I believe that an outcome will also depend on American responds to the rise of China and On the Trump Administration’s position towards the South China Sea and Taiwan. For example, China considers Taiwan to be part of China and unification of China is the key priority of the project China Dream of 2012. Therefore, president Trump’s phone call with the leader of Taiwan was a highly provocative act, because since Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972, the US has accepted the so called “One China” principle. If, for example, Trump’s America will support Taiwan’s independence, and Taiwan declares independence, then a war, including a nuclear war between China and the U.S. becomes more likely. Recently we have seen kind of a soft power competition; China’s government has been actively trying to take advantage of The U.S. declining prestige on international stage, and replaces itself as a defender of multilateralism and the Paris Climate Accord, from which President Trump has withdrawn America.
|Nixon's historic visit to China in 1972|