Global hegemony is a term mainly used to refer to a state in world affairs in which one nation exercises authority over the others because of a concentration of various powers in the former (Atasoy, 2009). The take-over of global dominance by the United States from Britain after the end of the World War I has revealed that there is one main reason as to why a country can cede supremacy over other nations. This reason is mainly overspending by the nations in power; a phenomenon sometimes known as imperial overstretch.
The United States has for a while now been the single most powerful nation in the world. However, as time progresses, other contenders are gradually emerging for the same title with China leading the pack.
This paper seeks to analyze the strengths that China has which could well be used to place it in a position of global politico-economic supremacy as well as point out the weaknesses that are pulling back the country in this regard. Aside from this, a brief detailing of an International Relations theoretical framework that can be used to explain China’s ascent into global supremacy shall be provided.
The Chinese economy has been confirmed to have grown ten-fold in the last thirty years and that in the past decade its gross domestic product per capita has doubled. Between 50 and 60 percent of the country’s GDP is taken by the nation’s manufacturing sector and one notable example of this is the steel industry (Vogelmann, 2008). Between 1995 and 2005, China’s production of steel had grown by over 290 tones; a figure which translates to a yearly growth of 39%.
Such figures genuinely show that China is well on its way to a complete industrial overhaul. However, for China to rise to the level of making a mark as far as global hegemony is concerned, the impact of its growth has to be substantially appreciated by other nations across the globe. This growth will only make an impact if it is sustainable without sparking conflict between China and other superpowers.
China commands a great portion of the world marketplace meaning that it has a substantial say in most monetary issues (Vogelmann, 2008). For instance China recently declined to let its currency appreciate claiming that it wanted to keep its trade balance away from world knowledge.
This clearly illustrates that China is not willing to have other nations influence the decisions it makes on financial policies. As the country grows wealthier and in a sense becoming a key player in global economics and politics, its leaders will have to find ways of fostering peaceful relations with other nations, an aspect that will force them to downplay their nationalistic sentiments (Vogelmann, 2008).
Another factor that could contribute to China upsetting the United States from global dominance is the sheer size of its military capabilities (Scobell, 2007). China is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and it therefore has unchallenged power over any issues that go through the organization’s chamber (Scobell, 2007). The country is also known to invest heavily in its military with its budget for this increasing by 15% last year.
IR theoretical framework
One theoretical framework of international relations that can be used to explain the concept of hegemonic power is Neorealism sometimes known as structured realism (May, Rosecrance and Steiner, 2010). This is theory was fronted by Kenneth Waltz and it is basically an advancement to ideas engulfed in traditional realism schools of thought. This theory holds it that in order to explain how a state conducts itself, the structure of the society in which particular states operate must be taken into account.
According to this framework, structure is explained in two basic descriptions. The first is anarchy which is organization of global political and economic systems in alignment with one supreme power (May, Rosecrance and Steiner, 2010). The second is the emphasis on the military supremacy of nations that command worldwide authority in classifying the powers of countries as opposed to a combination of all state strengths.
This theoretical framework can definitely be used to explain China’s rise in the 21st century particularly because it holds that for a country to grow to such a position that it commands great authority in the world it must have a strong military base and even greater financial supremacy, aspects which are well present in China.
The greatest issue at the moment that would make China not get to the point of global dominance that it desires is that the country is basically viewed as a security risk (Vogelmann, 2008). It is generally acceptable that as a country’s economic supremacy grows, so does its tendency to want to meddle into the affairs of other nations by trying to maintain order world wide.
Chinese leaders are known to be prone to surrendering to nationalistic interests and if this submission is to occur with the country as the hegemonic leader, it could spark conflict, the size of the last world war. As a matter of fact China has a below par record when it comes to the issue of human rights and the country’s oppressive policies on the media rights have contributed to the country fairing badly in this issue (Scobell, 2007).
The råsåarch will be based on secondary data collection. Data will be åxtractåd from various journals, articles and books. The criteria of selection for the literature will be the rålåvancå to the research topic as well as the year of publication. Both public and private libraries as well as online libraries will be visited in order to access the data.
This research will be partly evidence based and partly founded on professional research by professionals in the field. Various articles will be studied in order to provide background information which will essentially give credibility to the final essay. The possibility of China rising to global hegemony cannot be effectively analysed without obtaining information on the various strengths and spheres of influence of the country as far as world issues are concerned.
These strengths have to be compared with those of the United States which currently exercises global supremacy and Britain, from which the United States took over. This will definitely make for some interesting research and in as much most of the information will only be used for reference purposes, it will effectively came round to form the back-born of the paper.
Information from the books will serve to provide explanation as regards the internal machinations of global hegemonies. This will be very crucial information that will make the research report appeal to both professionals and the general public. For the latter, it may require that some of the information obtained from the books and other publications be broken down into simple language and at the same time illustrations drawn from the past and present manifestations of single-nation global dominance.
Empirical data will be collected from recent studies with numbers and figures used to show the costs and economical impact of a Chinese global hegemony and how it could effectively be used to serve as a guide for other nations that would like to rise to such levels of influence. Like with any other professional field of study, International Relations researches have to be conducted in such a way that the offer credibility to the practitioner.
In such a scientific field, the strength lies in the figures and particularly the numbers obtained from real life scenarios to support collected evidence. With this knowledge in mind, effort will be made to obtain relevant information to the particular topic in question and this will be accompanied by proper citation.
Reasons for Selecting the Above Methodology
For any professional topic, chances are that extensive research has been carried out by professionals in the field before. Consequently, in order to establish the backbone of a given research project, it is only necessary that extensive review of literature be carried before identifying seeking first hand information from the field.
The latter, i.e. information collected from the field is also necessary since it helps give professional credibility to the project. Combining results from both sources would serve to foster their symbiotic relationship with one offering background information and the other presenting up-to-date information on the topic.
Atasoy, Y. (2009). Hegemonic transitions, the state and crisis in neoliberal capitalism. United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis.
May, E.R., Rosecrance, R. &Steiner, Z. (2010). History and Neorealism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Scobell, A. (2007).China’s use of military force: beyond the Great Wall and the Long March. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Vogelmann, J. (2008). The ascent of China as a new superpower and the relationship with the hegemonic United States: Rough power politics or peaceful economic cooperation? Munich: GRIN Verlag.