REVISITING THE LIBERAL LEVIATHAN: CHINA AND AN ALTERNATE LIBERALORDER
SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES AIR UNIVERSITY MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE United States
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This study analyzes Chinas recent political activity in the context of three potential paths to great power status. The author shows how Chinas recent adoption of the One Bridge, One Road initiative and founding of the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank are more consistent with an intent to create an alternate liberal order. China is no longer content to rise within the existing US-led liberal order, but an alternate Chinese-led order would not necessarily be illiberal in nature. Chinas increasing frustration with impediments to further growth and influence in the existing US-led order, coupled with new-found economic power, has fueled Chinas desire to construct an alternate order. Also, the crisis of authority stemming from US unilateral actions under the Bush administration along with US economic missteps have created the necessary space for Chinas emergence as a new global leader. But a Chinese-dominated international order would not, as many analysts suggest, eschew liberal economic and political tenets. Although China is seeking to create an alternate order, key elements of the existing liberal order would persist, to include the use of multilateral institutions, economic cooperation based on free trade, and the incorporation of a rules-based system of international governance. However, a Chinese liberal order would be distinct from the present system in terms of new economic institutions without political strings attached and an increased emphasis on nation-state sovereignty and the norm of non-interference in domestic affairs.
- Government and Political Science