International Relations Assignment: Power Transition Theory Essay

Added on - 06 Jun 2020

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Power TransitionTheory Essay
ESSAY QUESTION:If the engagement of the United States (US) and China with international law is brought tobear on power transition theory as originally articulated by Organski, what insights does thisgive us regarding the significance for world politics of the increasing power of China vis-à-vis the United States?This is on considering the above query where bearing on the power transition theory isfor the purpose of engaging US and China with international law is referred to be an effectivemeasure. It is mainly on referring to the two vital components of power transition theorywhich is originally articulated by Organski and are known as Power and Satisfaction (Lai,2014). This is pertinent to use at the time of evaluating the rise of China, contrary to theleadership of international order held by US. It is mainly on analyzing the engagement ofChina and US with international law under the suggested model of Organski’s powertransition theory where China is depicted as a potential challenger. This is mainly onreferring to their attempt of altering their current international order in the quest of attainingsupreme power.Organski however depicts China as a powerful and dissatisfied nation, which couldresult in a conflictive transition of power if it ever gets to happen. This essay is basicallyintended to demonstrate that perhaps China is not as dissatisfied as Organski is trying to show(Harris, 2015). Also, if it ever gets close to the theory of power transition, there is apossibility of balancing the power between the two powerful nations. It is not only up toChina to guarantee peace, but up to US too. The way it reacts to the current situation isprimordial in order to avoid any sort of conflict. The shorter the gap between the two nations,the higher the risk of war.Now on considering the theoretical framework of the power transition theorysuggested by Organski, the history is divided into 3 distinct periods and determines our actualstate as the power transition period, “characterized by great and sudden shifts in nationalpower caused primarily by the differential spread of industrialization throughout the world”(Organski, pg 375). Industrialization increases national wealth, population size and internalgovernmental development. These elements happen to be the determinants in power, whichmeans that when a nation industrializes it experiences major increases in power. Given thehierarchical structure of the international order, whenever a nation increases in power, it1
could be seen as a threat or a challenger to the current dominant power, depending on itspotential to catch up with the leader.National power therefore becomes a major element when determining the likelihoodof a power transition. For Organski, it is the differential gap between the two nations whichkeeps the international order stable and free of conflict. The minute the gap decreases giventhe rising nation’s rapid power increase, the likelihood of conflict for power increases. Chinahas achieved a level of development that places it as a great nation that could, in the nearfuture, face front to the leadership of the United States.“According to the power transitiontheory, the concept of the differential growth of power is a key to the dynamic change of theregional security order in the twenty-first century.” (Woosang, pg 319).A second important element that determines whether a shift in power will occur andwhether this will be peaceful or not is satisfaction. “Nations satisfied with the status quoaccept the rules the pre-eminent nation creates, manages and defends, because they share theresulting stability, prosperity and peace. Some nations remain outside the leading coalitionbecause they challenge or reject existing international rules and norms.” (Tammen & Kugler,pg. 36).Given the fact that nations have entered an industrialization process, but their levelsof industrialization differ. Some of them might be in the early stages, and some other in apower maturity one, when the nation is fully industrialized.This section is to state about China and its engagement where there exists a provenrise without reaching to a satisfied level. Goldstein Avery acknowledges the fact that “it hasbecome conventional wisdom that China is the post-Cold War world’s emerging great powerthat poses the most difficult questions for the future of international security” (in Brown2000, pg. 3). China is not only extremely powerful, with one of the leading world economiesand a very strong trade partner, but it is also a very satisfied nation, as many authorscontradictorily believe. China accepts the international order and uses it for its benefit. It’sengagement with international law in the different regimes and agendas strongly supports myclaim. It is using its recent increased international participation to become stronger, and thisis something that the US needs to manage properly if it does not wish China to take over.This is on considering the role of UNFCCC where“China has been an activeparticipant in international climate negotiations, usually acting in concert with the G-77 /China. It has ratified the Kyoto Protocol,58 but has opposed any discussion aboutcommitments for the developing countries. Chinese negotiators have repeatedly emphasized2
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