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China and the US: comparable cases of 'peaceful rise'?

Buzan, Barry and Cox, Michael (2013) China and the US: comparable cases of 'peaceful rise'? Chinese Journal of International Politics, 6 (2). pp. 109-132. ISSN 1750-8916

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Identification Number: 10.1093/cjip/pot003


Competing great powers, and the potential for clashes among them when there are changes of place at the top of the hierarchy, are an old story in international relations. Against this realist model of inevitably warlike power struggles stands another idea: ‘peaceful rise’. China committed itself to this policy a decade ago, and arguably adopted it as far back as the shift to reform and opening up in the late 1970s. The only other modern great power than can possibly claim to have risen peacefully is the United States. Since there are only two cases of attempted peaceful rise, it is worth asking what parallels can be drawn between the United States and Chinese experiences. Given their different placements in history, with the rise of the United States having taken place between 1865 and 1945, a century earlier than China’s current rise, what lessons, if any, can be learned for China from the United States experience? This article looks closely at both the meaning of ‘peaceful rise’ and the credibility of the United States and Chinese claims to it. It surveys the key points of similarity and difference between the United States and China during their process of rise, comparing contemporary China with the United States of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not with today’s United States. The conclusion sets out six lessons for China and for international society that can be drawn from comparing the two cases.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
E History America > E151 United States (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 08 May 2013 12:52
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2024 04:36

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