Waiting for the rising power : China’s rise in East Asia and the evolution of great power politics

Sammanfattning: Many political scientists expect the advent of rising states to bring about shifts in the international distribution of power, on the one hand, and competitive policies to improve one state’s power relative to a targeted state or coalition, known as “balancing,” on the other. Focusing on China’s rise in East Asia in 1993–2016, this dissertation challenges both these assumptions and offers a reassessment of the links between rising states, power shifts, and balancing in international relations. First, I demonstrate that the gap between the United States and China in exercising control over the security and alignment policies of secondary states has become wider, not narrower. Second, to explain this, I present two new mechanisms that reduce shifts in power from established to rising powers: the power effects of expertise and the anti-power effects of status seeking. Third, I show that there has been much less balancing from both China and Japan than is commonly assumed. Fourth, under certain conditions—dominant moderate policy discursive positions and status seeking with the objective of peer-recognition—I have demonstrated that enmity is able to coexist with policies of non-balancing and even accommodation. Finally, by revealing tacit but fundamental differences in the purposes for which scholars employ the balancing concept, I reconcile some of the disagreements about whether balancing is taking place in the wake of China’s rise.