Emergence of China as a Global Power

Topics: People's Republic of China, Republic of China, Great power Pages: 20 (7258 words) Published: February 24, 2013
Subject: National and international affairs

Term Paper


“China is not a superpower, nor will it ever seek to be one. If one day China should change its color and turn into a superpower, if it too play should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to its bullying, aggression, exploitation's, the people of the world should . . . expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.” Deng Xiaoping, speech at the UN General Assembly, April 1974

Emergence of China as a Global Power

To offer an explanation of POWERS, two dimensions: aggregated national power and planetary reach. Aggregated national power takes into consideration geographic position; financial power; industrial output; military might (i.e. ‘power projection’ and/or ability of defense); alliance membership; educational attainment; cultural attraction; population size; historical reputation, militarily, politically and economically; government capacity and efficiency; national cohesion; and potential over the next ten years. Meanwhile, planetary reach is based on five categories: 1. Superpower – a country with systemic power, in almost every continent, including a top-tier industrial economy, a comprehensive global military footprint (or ability to defend itself against any other power) and enormous cultural attraction; 2. Potential superpower – a country (or union) with the potential to reach the status of a superpower within the next decade, conditional on various political and economic reforms; 3. Great power (global) – a country lacking the heft or comprehensive attributes of a superpower, but still with a wide footprint in all or most geographic regions, including: Africa, North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Australasia; 4. Great power (regional) – a country lacking the comprehensive attributes of a superpower, or even the reach of a global power, but with a strong and highly concentrated regional footprint, perhaps extending to the nearest zones of adjacent continents; 5. Middle power – a country with significant influence in its local vicinage, perhaps courted by superior powers due to its regional importance or reputation.

China’s rapid ascent during the 2000s as a potential superpower is well-known, as to some extent is Russia’s resurgence as a regional power and India’s emergence economically, politically and militarily. 
* What does it take to be a global power in today's world?

The term global power is a more contemporary term for great power, as traditionally employed in the International Relations (IR) literature, and a better fit for 21st century conditions as superpower. Superpower was the creation of the politics of 20th century nuclear weapons technology, even though the coining of the term in 1944 did not take the nuclear dimension into account but rather the global reach of a nation. As the Cold War became more entrenched, that which distinguished a nuclear superpower from a 19th century great power was possession of the power of ultimate destruction and the strategic doctrine of nuclear deterrence that emerged from it. The processes of globalization that characterize the present century mean that 'great' power needs more than nuclear superpower capability. Indeed, it needs to broaden out to the more traditional great power attributes of maintaining sufficient diplomatic, economic, and military resources for preserving the international order in which great powers presume themselves to be the main actors. Beyond being merely 'great', or only 'super', they must now be 'global' and attain transnational competencies that permit interaction with non-state actors, regional forums and the...
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