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Opposite but compatible nationalisms: A neoclassical realist approach to the future of US-China relations

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China's new assertiveness and the sudden inward turn of United States are a function of causes located in both the second and third images. The key second-image variable is nationalism, which combines with the power trajectories (a third-image variable) of both China and the United States to define how their relationship will unfold in the coming years. The interaction between nationalism and power trajectory produces entirely different foreign policy orientations in rising and declining powers-the former embraces an outward-looking, extroverted foreign policy of expansion, while the latter adopts an inward-looking, introverted foreign policy of restraint and retrenchment. The resurgent nationalisms of the rising challenger and the declining hegemon are entirely compatible with a future relationship characterized by peace and harmony. Obviously, the two nationalisms pose no inherent conflict of interests: China currently wants more global influence; the Unites States wants less. Hence, there is good reason to expect a soft landing as the world moves from unipolarity to bipolarity. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Institute of International Relations, Tsinghua University. All rights reserved.
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... [50] Indeed, in the existing literature, neoclassical realists have identified a broad range of real-world factors that can serve as intervening variables, such as state power, strategic culture, domestic institutions, domestic ideology, interest group pressure, policymakers' perceptions, and the extractive capacities of the state. [51,52] Given the growth of neoclassical realist scholarship, the list of intervening variables is still expanding and far from exhaustive. The main shortcoming of this conceptual framework is that although researchers have a broad understanding that intervening variables operate somehow in between cause and effect, the intervening variable concept remains underdeveloped. ...
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Kenneth N. Waltz, former Ford Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, is a Research Associate of the Institute of War and Peace Studies and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University. I am indebted to Karen Adams and Robert Rauchhaus for help on this article from its conception to its completion. For insightful and constructive criticisms I wish to thank Robert Art, Richard Betts, Barbara Farnham, Anne Fox, Robert Jervis, Warner Schilling, and Mark Sheetz. 1. For example, Richard Ned Lebow, "The Long Peace, the End of the Cold War, and the Failure of Realism," International Organization, Vol. 48, No. 2 (Spring 1994), pp. 249-277; Jeffrey W. Legro and Andrew Moravcsik, "Is Anybody Still a Realist?" International Security, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Fall 1999), pp. 5-55; Bruce Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War Peace (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993); Paul Schroeder, "Historical Reality vs. Neo-realist Theory," International Security, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Summer 1994), pp. 108-148; and John A. Vasquez, "The Realist Paradigm and Degenerative vs. Progressive Research Programs: An Appraisal of Neotraditional Research on Waltz's Balancing Proposition," American Political Science Review, Vol. 91, No. 4 (December 1997), pp. 899-912. 2. Michael W. Doyle, "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Parts 1 and 2," Philosophy and Public Affairs, Vol. 12, Nos. 3 and 4 (Summer and Fall 1983); and Doyle, "Kant: Liberalism and World Politics," American Political Science Review, Vol. 80, No. 4 (December 1986), pp. 1151-1169. 3. Francis Fukuyama, "Liberal Democracy as a Global Phenomenon," Political Science and Politics, Vol. 24, No. 4 (1991), p. 662. Jack S. Levy, "Domestic Politics and War," in Robert I. Rotberg and Theodore K. Rabb, eds., The Origin and Prevention of Major Wars (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), p. 88. 4. Kenneth N. Waltz, "Kant, Liberalism, and War," American Political Science Review, Vol. 56, No. 2 (June 1962). Subsequent Kant references are found in this work. 5. Ido Oren, "The Subjectivity of the 'Democratic' Peace: Changing U.S. Perceptions of Imperial Germany," International Security, Vol. 20, No. 2 (Fall 1995), pp. 157ff.; Christopher Layne, in the second half of Layne and Sean M. Lynn-Jones, Should America Spread Democracy? A Debate (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, forthcoming), argues convincingly that Germany's democratic control of foreign and military policy was no weaker than France's or Britain's. 6. John M. Owen, "How Liberalism Produces Democratic Peace," International Security, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Fall 1994), pp. 87-125. Cf. his Liberal Peace, Liberal War: American Politics and International Security (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1997). 7. Christopher Layne, "Kant or Cant: The Myth of the Democratic Peace," International Security, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Fall 1994), pp. 5-49. 8. Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992), pp. 254-256. Russett, Grasping the Democratic Peace, p. 24. 9. For example, Leopold von Ranke, Gerhard Ritter, and Otto Hintze. The American William Graham Sumner and many others shared their doubts. 10. Immanuel Kant, The Philosophy of Law, trans. W. Hastie (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1887), p. 218. 11. John Mueller, "Is War Still Becoming Obsolete?" paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C., August-September 1991, pp. 55ff; cf. his Quiet Cataclysm: Reflections on the Recent Transformation of World Politics (New York: HarperCollins, 1995). 12. Edward Hallett Carr, Twenty Years' Crisis: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations, 2d ed. (New York: Harper and Row, 1946), pp. 129-132. 13. Quoted in Anthony Lewis, "The Kissinger Doctrine," New York Times, February 27, 1975, p. 35; and see Henry Kissinger, The White House Years (Boston: Little, Brown, 1979), chap. 17. 14. See, for example, Kenneth N. Waltz, "America as Model for the World? A Foreign Policy Perspective," PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 24, No. 4 (December 1991); and Mueller, "Is War Still Becoming Obsolete?" p. 5. 15. Quoted in Walter A. McDougall, Promised Land, Crusader State (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997), p. 28 and n. 36. 16. Doyle, "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs, Part 2," p. 337...