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Power Transition and War: The International System, States and the Rise of China

Author: Tang JianSilver Editor Source: Contemporary Asia Pacific StudiesTime :2014-09-26 15:15:00

Abstract: Power transition theory provides an important means for explaining great power conflict and war, yet it fails to explain precisely what states desire to obtain from the international system (i.e.state objectives), and the reasons why realization of these objectives result in the outbreak of war.As such, there are contradictions between the logic of the theory and the empirical behaviors of states.Differences in state modalities determine gaps and conflicts between state objectives and behaviors, and this in turn is what drives the close relationship between power transition and war.State modalities, the international structure and interaction between the two determine whether war will break out.It is argued in the article that since China embarked on its reform and opening the chance of conflict occurring between the U.S.and China as a result of China’s power transition is low.While so, China and the U.S.need to pay attention to various flaws in the international system, as well as its continuous evolution.They must also consider many other variables that might negatively impact bilateral relations, including low levels of strategic trusts, ideology, numerous indirect factors.