ArticlePublisher preview available

China’s rise and US hegemony: Renegotiating hegemonic order in East Asia?

Authors:
Article

China’s rise and US hegemony: Renegotiating hegemonic order in East Asia?

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

China’s resurgence has prompted an increased interest among English School theorists in assessing the great power strategies adopted to deal with that change in Beijing’s status, as well as a focus on the degree of challenge that a resurgent China poses to what is commonly recognized as US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region. China’s material rise into the ranks of great powers has brought with it certain expectations and responsibilities for great power management that Beijing has tried in various ways to fulfil. While it has chosen only selective contestation of the material and normative pillars of the extant US-led regional order, Beijing has begun to outline a regional vision and to use its material power in ways that are leading to renegotiation of some of the primary institutions of East Asian hegemonic order. However, China’s partial bid for hegemonic transition has so far been stymied by a mismatch between the vision of order it has promulgated and some of the policy actions that Beijing has taken. As a result of this mismatch, a current or future Chinese search for hegemonic status already has met various forms of resistance, including the prompting of networked forms of defence cooperation in the region.
Vol:.(1234567890)
International Politics (2020) 57:150–165
https://doi.org/10.1057/s41311-019-00189-5
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
China’s rise andUS hegemony: Renegotiating hegemonic
order inEast Asia?
RosemaryFoot1,2
Published online: 4 September 2019
© Springer Nature Limited 2019
Abstract
China’s resurgence has prompted an increased interest among English School theo-
rists in assessing the great power strategies adopted to deal with that change in Bei-
jing’s status, as well as a focus on the degree of challenge that a resurgent China
poses to what is commonly recognized as US hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region.
China’s material rise into the ranks of great powers has brought with it certain
expectations and responsibilities for great power management that Beijing has tried
in various ways to fulfil. While it has chosen only selective contestation of the mate-
rial and normative pillars of the extant US-led regional order, Beijing has begun to
outline a regional vision and to use its material power in ways that are leading to
renegotiation of some of the primary institutions of East Asian hegemonic order.
However, China’s partial bid for hegemonic transition has so far been stymied by
a mismatch between the vision of order it has promulgated and some of the pol-
icy actions that Beijing has taken. As a result of this mismatch, a current or future
Chinese search for hegemonic status already has met various forms of resistance,
including the prompting of networked forms of defence cooperation in the region.
Keywords China and East Asia· China’s Rise· Hegemonic transition· US
hegemony
Introduction
Hegemony in international society is a central concept in English School (ES)
theorizing and conceived as a primary form of great power management. China’s
resurgence has prompted an increased interest among ES theorists in assessing
the great power strategies adopted to deal with that change in Beijing’s status, as
* Rosemary Foot
rosemary.foot@sant.ox.ac.uk
https://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/people/rosemary-foot
1 Department ofPolitics andInternational Relations, University ofOxford, Oxford, UK
2 St. Antony’s College, University ofOxford, OxfordOX26JF, UK
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
... Australia's aims to project power across the region also require activity in the other geographic entities. One goal is to construct infrastructure projects and alliances that give the region physical coherence and political meaning (Foot 2020;Wilson 2019). Such networks are a series of connected nodes, and the nodes are actual places that must be constructed and physically transformed with new investment, and the establishment or maintenance of bases (Perryman 2019). ...
... Necessity of seeing geopolitics as a combination of activity within networks and regions can be seen in the idea of ''networking hegemony'' as US activities in maintaining its ability to project power in East Asia by creating a new set of alliances and partners that both accommodate China, but also try to manage and limit China's role (Dian and Meijer 2020;Meijer 2020). This is a recognition of China's material power (geostructural) and the attempt to construct networks of relations (Foot 2020), or a strategic region through ''infrastructure diplomacy'' (Wilson 2019). ...
... The ability to project force across a region requires the construction of alliances or networks (Foot 2020;Wilson 2019). But these networks have a concrete geographical expression in the nodes that are necessary to support the projection of power. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of geopolitics by offering a heuristic framework to understand the “geo” in geopolitics. The approach integrates economic and strategic processes with transformations of physical geography by emphasizing the role of context and the mutual construction of geography and politics. Understanding foreign policy choices requires a theorized contextualization that sees all geopolitical decisions being limited by the interaction of economic, strategic, and physical contexts. Geopolitics is situated within the structures and imperatives of the capitalist world-economy and defined as the process of controlling geographic entities; specifically, regions, networks, and places. Geopolitical activity occurs within three related contexts; specifically, geostructural, geostrategic, and geophysical. The geographic entities and contexts are constructed by geopolitical activity, and frame such activity, in a non-deterministic and mutually constitutive fashion. The framework is illustrated by a brief discussion of Australia’s foreign policy orientations in the Indo-Pacific region.
... Australia's aims to project power across the region also require activity in the other geographic entities. One goal is to construct infrastructure projects and alliances that give the region physical coherence and political meaning (Foot 2020;Wilson 2019). Such networks are a series of connected nodes, and the nodes are actual places that must be constructed and physically transformed with new investment, and the establishment or maintenance of bases (Perryman 2019). ...
... China, but also try to manage and limit China's role (Dian and Meijer 2020;Meijer, 2020). This is a recognition of China's material power (geostructural) and the attempt to construct networks of relations (Foot 2020), or a strategic region through "infrastructure diplomacy" (Wilson 2019). ...
... The ability to project force across a region requires the construction of alliances or networks (Foot 2020;Wilson 2019). But these networks have a concrete geographical expression in the nodes that are necessary to support the projection of power. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
This paper aims to contribute to the understanding of geopolitics by offering a heuristic framework to understand the "geo" in geopolitics. The approach integrates economic and strategic processes with transformations of physical geography by emphasizing the role of context and the mutual construction of geography and politics. Understanding foreign policy choices requires a theorized contextualization that sees all geopolitical decisions being limited by the interaction of economic, strategic, and physical contexts. Geopolitics is situated within the strucures and imperatives of the capitalist world-econony and defined as the process of controlling geographic entities; specifically, regions, networks, and places. Geopolitical activity occurs within three related contexts; specifically, geostructural, geostrategic, and geophysical. The geographic entities and contexts are constructed by geopolitical activity, and frame such activity, in a non-deterministic and mutually constitutive fashion. The framework is illustrated by a brief discussion of Australia's foreign policy orientations in the Indo-Pacific region.
... The provision of public goods is closely tied to the concept of hegemony in the literature, highlighting the intersection between global and national capitalist political economic evolution (Foot, 2020, Kochi, 2017, Skerritt, 2020. "Poststructural hegemony theory […] is rooted in the Gramscian notion that hegemony rests on the ability to universalize the particular interests of a group as a socioeconomic and political structure (Gramsci, 1971, p. 181)" [sic] (Wullweber, 2019, 150). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study tries to verify the effect that innovation management has on corporate performance and also analyzes the effect that the home office has on innovation management and corporate performance of SMEs geographically located in the central region southern Sonora in Mexico. The study sample is a total of 498 companies in the trade and services sector. The data collection technique was carried out by applying an online questionnaire addressed to the owner and/or manager of the companies that participated in the research. The online questionnaire was prepared through the LimeSurvey Professional application for subsequent sending by email, the field work was carried out from March to October 2021. The data analysis was carried out through the Structural Equations System (SEM), with a focus on in the variance through Partial Least Square (PLS). The results have revealed that innovation management has a positive and significant influence on the financial performance and organizational performance of the SMEs. In addition, we have discovered that the home office is not a determining factor to improve innovation management or to achieve higher levels of corporate performance. This work contributes to the development of the theory of contingency.
... As Rosemary Foot notes, China's ascendence to great power status rests to a large extent on its economic achievements. In addition to growing into the world's second largest economy in 2010, China has also become a key economic partner for most states in the region, providing loans and grants, as well as investments in neighbouring countries (Foot 2020). Furthermore, China's vast holdings of foreign reserves-a considerable part of which is in US government debt-is being put to use around the world, especially in the global South, to finance much needed infrastructure development (Chin and Gallagher 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
China’s rise is widely regarded as constituting a challenge to the Liberal International Order built in the aftermath of WWII and expanded after the end of the Cold War. This paper assesses the state of the liberal order as it is manifested in East Asia’s regional order today. It presents two main arguments. Empirically, by analysing international trade in the region over the last four decades, I find that China has already assumed a central position in the region’s trade structure. China’s economic ascent is also increasingly evident in the region’s institutional architecture. Theoretically, I propose an ‘autonomous conception of international order’ as a theoretical framework through which to understand these developments. In contrast to much of the existing literature, this approach theorises the liberal order independently of US hegemony. By doing so, it (a) makes a distinction between China’s geopolitical ambitions and its supposed revisionism of the rules and norms of the liberal order; (b) posits the liberal order as an independent factor in the strategic environment of smaller- and medium-sized states in the region; and (c) elucidates the increasingly ambivalent policies of the US towards the liberal order. Viewed through this framework, I argue that China’s rise challenges US’s regional hegemony, but has, so far, not resulted in revisions to the rules-based, liberal order.
... As a result of the economic and political rise of the People's Republic of China and Trump's decision to undermine the foundations of the liberal international order, theories of hegemonic stability have regained center stage in both policy-oriented and scholarly debates. More or less explicitly, academics, policymakers, and pundits alike increasingly rely on the conceptual and theoretical toolkit of this important strand of research when discussing the evolving contemporary international system (see Cooley and Nexon 2020;Foot 2020;Mastanduno 2019;Owen 2020), Two observations, especially, have contributed to revitalize this research program. First, the institutional pillars of the international liberal order seem to be experiencing an irreversible decline, which seems to have its root cause in the United States' (US) disengagement from multilateralism. ...
Article
Full-text available
As a result of the economic and political rise of China and Trump's decision to undermine the liberal international order, theories of hegemony have regained center stage in both policy-oriented and scholarly debates. Yet, a careful analysis of the evolution of the US foreign policy strategy in the realm of international trade politics reveals that traditional theories of hegemonic decline are ill-equipped to account for both the timing and the content of the Trump administration's behavior in this issue area. This paper argues in favor of integrating structural theories of hegemonic transition/stability with an analysis of the domestic sources of trade policy preferences. To do so, we draw on the International Political Economy literature highlighting how the domestic political process triggered by the dynamics of international economic competition combined with structural forces in shaping the timing and content of the Trump administration's disengagement from existing multilateral trade governance structures.
Article
Will China's rise lead to Chinese hegemony? Most International Relations scholars would answer in the negative, contending the road to a global hegemony remains well beyond Beijing's interests and capabilities. In Asia, however, China's formidable economy, technological advancement, rapidly modernizing military forces, and recent geopolitical moves look outright hegemonic-a fact that United States attempts to "pivot" and "rebalance" to that region have put into sharp relief. To assess the prospects of a new regional hegemony, this article considers the "economic, " "security" and "cultural" relations of eleven Asian states with both Beijing and Washington. The overall results induce skepticism about the latter's ability to reorder the region. Although growing and in some cases significant, China's provision of international goods to neighboring countries still pales in comparison to that centered on the United States and its allies. Sightings of an Asian Pax Sinica are at best premature.
Article
While nationalism as a mental model that can be represented in text and talk, it has not been sufficiently examined in discourse studies. This study examines the discourse of nationalism in spoken texts of an elite cohort of Chinese speakers at the World Economic Forum. Through methodological integration of nationalism (as a conceptual/theoretical tool) with the socio-cognitive approach anchored in critical discourse analysis, this study examines the structures of ‘national-We’ and ‘foreign-Others’ pervading discourse and linguistic levels with reference to China-specific origins of nationalistic ideology. By scrutinising appraisals, referential nouns/pronouns and value-laden metaphors as linguistic realisations, this study reveals three nationalistic discourses: an economic-leadership discourse for Self, a deterrent/delegitimisation discourse regarding Others’ threatening actions/views, and a common-community Self discourse that aims to solidify more countries with China in a common community with shared interests and future. The study suggests there is value in integrating sociology-oriented conceptual/theoretical tools with the socio-cognitive approach in disclosing latent ideological configurations.
Article
This article delivers the first post-Cold War history of how France – the European power with the largest political-military footprint in the Asia-Pacific – has responded to the national security challenges posed by the rise of China. Based upon a unique body of primary sources (80 interviews conducted in Europe, the Asia-Pacific and the United States; declassified archival documents; and leaked diplomatic cables), it shows that China’s growing assertiveness after 2009 (and national policymakers’ perceptions thereof) has been the key driver of change in French security policy in the region, pulling France strategically into the Asia-Pacific. Specifically, growing threat perceptions of China’s rise – coupled with steadily rising regional economic interests – have led Paris to forge a cohesive policy framework, the Indo-Pacific strategy, and to bolster the political-military dimension of its regional presence. By investigating this key yet neglected dimension of French and European security policies, and by leveraging a unique body of primary written and oral sources, this study fills an important gap in the scholarly literature on both European and Asia-Pacific security dynamics. The findings of this article also shed new light on the political and military assets that France can bring to bear in the formulation of a common EU security policy toward the Asia-Pacific and on the implications thereof for the prospect of a transatlantic strategy vis-à-vis China.
Article
Full-text available
The rise and fall of great powers is a driving force of transition in international politics. The cycle of emergence and decline of superpowers continues as a principal source of evolution in the world order. The 20 th century unveiled with Pax-Britannica as the axis of international politics, but some of the highly critical incidents allowed the US to entrench its global hegemony. Subsequently, at the twilight of the century, Pax-Americana transpired as the pivot of the global system. However, self-imposed hegemonic commitments, an obsession with manipulating the world system, and mania of supremacy embedded punitive challenges for Washington. The emerging powers eventually launched an enterprise to reshape the international system to multipolar world order, and the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has further stimulated such undertakings. This devastating global challenge may warrant a capable and committed player to undertake the assignment of resurrecting the international system and ascertain itself as a dominant global power, and China could be the strongest candidate. This study, therefore, aims to explore the dynamics of future world order and the abysmal impacts of COVID-19 on its transformation. The exiting hegemon seeks to maintain the status quo, while the emerging powers are striving to reshape the global system towards multipolarity.
Article
Full-text available
East Asia is increasingly at the centre of debates among International Relations (IR) scholars. China's political, economic, and military ascendency is increasingly considered as a crucial test case for main approaches to IR. Despite this renewed attention, mainstream theories employed to analyse contemporary Asia are still remarkably Euro-centric. A wave of studies has argued in favour of a broad ‘decolonization’ of theoretical concepts used to analyse East Asia as well as other regions. These efforts have produced several distinct research agendas. Firstly, critical and post-colonial theorists have worked on the par destruens , highlighting the inherent Euro-centrism of many IR concepts and theories. Secondly, scholars such as Buzan and Acharya have promoted the idea of Global IR, seeking to advance a ‘non-Western’ and non-Euro-centric research agenda. This agenda has found fertile ground especially in China, where several scholars have tried to promote a Chinese School of IR. This article has three main purposes. Firstly, it briefly explores the issue of Eurocentrism in IR studies dedicated to East Asia. Secondly, it maps the theoretical debates aimed at overcoming it, looking in particular at the ‘Global IR’ research programme and the so-called Chinese School. Finally, it sketches a few other possible avenues of research for a very much needed cooperation between Global IR and area studies.
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing view that the emerging brand of Chinese regional diplomacy in recent years is increasingly assertive. This article attempts to make better sense of this perceived more forceful Chinese diplomacy. It argues that Chinese regional behavior is more profitably understood through the lens of a two-pronged foreign policy strategy that combines two particular aspects. One is a tougher and more uncompromising approach toward issues that China regards as concerning its core interests. The other is a more flexible and cooperative position toward interests that, while significant, are of secondary importance.
Article
East Asia is a region of signal importance for global order because of its economic dynamism and growing heft, China's challenge to the United States as incumbent regional and global hegemon, and other conflict hotspots like the Korean peninsula. This requires academic analysis that both appreciates the subtleties inherent to this region and can relate them to the wider systemic context. Many analysts have begun to allude to the challenging characteristics that are present in the international relations of East Asia, in particular struggling to explain how growing levels of economic interdependence can coexist with heightened security tensions. This article offers a research prospectus that suggests ways of analyzing these apparently contradictory trends. It proposes the development of research questions and approaches that are more suited to studying the international relations of a region with characteristics that we define as dual, hybrid, and contingent. We propose a Conjunctions Analytical Framework that explores what happens at the conjunctions of the regional-global and the unit-regional/global levels of analysis—the “grey areas” where social formations meet and interact. We aim to help shape the future study of the IR of East Asia and to suggest more effective ways of analyzing the complex reality of East Asia's regional and global politics.
Article
This paper develops an English School–informed approach to theorize hegemonic order using an explicitly social lens. It conceptualizes the architecture of hegemonic order as consisting of three social elements—compact, structure, and processes—and emphasizes social exchange, power relationships, and negotiation as the bridges linking hegemony and order. Using the most significant contemporary case of hegemonic contestation, it employs this hegemonic order framework to analyze how, and with what effects on systemic change, China is contesting the US-led hegemonic order in East Asia. It finds that variation in the forms and effects of Chinese contestation in the security, institutional, and economic domains is explained by differences in the robustness of the US hegemonic social compact, and the complexity of the regional social structure.
Article
In the century since the signature of the Treaty of Versailles, China's international status and material condition have been fundamentally transformed. The People's Republic has become powerful in ways that probably would have astonished the leaders of the early Republic of China, first established in 1911. These changes do not mean, however, that there are not potent legacies from China's nineteenth-century and Versailles-era experiences. In particular, the Versailles agreement showed China that gaining full membership of the international society of states would not be easy, despite its having joined the Allied side in the war effort. China's failure to gain either restitution of the territory of Shandong or proper acknowledgement of its status as a legally sovereign state added to the Chinese distrust of the West and Japan born out of their exploitative activities in China. The subsequent May Fourth nationalist demonstration of 1919 was the first of many prominent displays of nationalist outrage, a sentiment that provided opportunities for exploitation by successive Chinese governments. The article shows how the trials associated with removing China's unequal status in international politics condition and, in some respects, deform Chinese attitudes towards international politics to this day. In particular, it asks why China's remarkable resurgence has not changed official Chinese perceptions of world order, the tenor of its relations with other states and its view of its own place in international society more fundamentally than has in fact been the case.
Book
In Hard Interests, Soft Illusions, Natasha Hamilton-Hart explores the belief held by foreign policy elites in much of Southeast Asia-Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam-that the United States is a relatively benign power. She argues that this belief is an important factor underpinning U.S. preeminence in the region, because beliefs inform specific foreign policy decisions and form the basis for broad orientations of alignment, opposition, or nonalignment. Such foundational beliefs, however, do not simply reflect objective facts and reasoning processes. Hamilton-Hart argues that they are driven by both interests-in this case the political and economic interests of ruling groups in Southeast Asia-and illusions. Hamilton-Hart shows how the information landscape and standards of professional expertise within the foreign policy communities of Southeast Asia shape beliefs about the United States. These opinions frequently rest on deeply biased understandings of national history that dominate perceptions of the past and underlie strategic assessments of the present and future. Members of the foreign policy community rarely engage in probabilistic reasoning or effortful knowledge-testing strategies. This does not mean, she emphasizes, that the beliefs are insincere or merely instrumental rationalizations. Rather, cognitive and affective biases in the ways humans access and use information mean that interests influence beliefs; how they do so depends on available information, the social organization and practices of a professional sphere, and prevailing standards for generating knowledge.
Article
The growth of Chinese military power poses significant challenges to Japan. China's military spending, which was half that of Japan's in 1996, is now three and a half times as large. Japan has taken a range of measures to buttress its military forces and loosen the restrictions on their operations, but much remains to be done. Most important, Tokyo needs to reexamine its strategy to maximize Japan's deterrent leverage. Of the three general approaches to conventional deterrence—punishment, forward defense, and denial—Japan's best option is to shift to a denial strategy. Such a strategy, built around a resilient force that can survive attack and attrite an encroaching adversary, can make the risks to a potential attacker unacceptably high. In Japan's case, such a strategy would leverage the inherent dangers that Beijing would face in contemplating a prolonged war against Japan and its U.S. ally. The strategy, updated to reflect the imperatives of air and maritime warfare in the precision strike era, would require a high level of dispersion and mobility and might therefore be labeled “active denial.” Adopting an active denial strategy would buttress Japan's defense and deterrent capability while reducing first-strike incentives and improving crisis stability.
Article
U.S.-China comprehensive competition is currently playing out on an increasingly global scale. The competition's primary locus is the vast Indo-Asia-Pacific region, and it is centered in Southeast Asia. The United States and China each possess comparative advantages in the region. Beijing's advantages are predominantly economic and diplomatic, whereas Washington's are more multifaceted. Although the Barack Obama administration's “pivot” significantly raised the U.S profile in Southeast Asia, China has also expanded its presence and influence. The two powers are increasingly locked in a classic strategic competition, but the pervasive media narrative in the region holds that China is gaining the upper hand. While this gravitation toward Beijing has become a popular meme, it is not empirically accurate—as the United States still possesses substantial overall advantages. Still, the regional balance is dynamic, and the United States needs to remain comprehensively engaged—or else the balance of influence will default to China. At present, the Sino-American competition in Southeast Asia is not (yet) acute and zero-sum. Therefore, the two powers should be able to manage their tensions, limit their rivalry, and practice competitive coexistence.
Article
David Beetham's book explores the legitimation of power both as an issue in political and social science theory and in relation to the legitimacy of contemporary political systems including its breakdown in revolution. 'An admirable text which is far reaching in its scope and extraordinary in the clarity with which it covers a wide range of material... One can have nothing but the highest regard for this volume.' - David Held, Times Higher Education Supplement ;'Beetham has produced a study bound to revolutionize sociological thinking and teaching... Seminal and profoundly original... Beetham's book should become the obligitory reading for every teacher and practitioner of social science.' - Zygmunt Bauman, Sociology
Article
The United States has long maintained a significant political, economic and security presence in the Asia–Pacific region and has been a major factor shaping China's geopolitical and geo-economic environment. Over the last few years, China has demonstrably attached higher priority and devoted more resources to its neighbourhood diplomacy. This article examines the impact of the so-called ‘US factor’ on this recent shift in Beijing's international strategy under the new leadership of Xi Jinping. It looks at both cooperation/coordination and competition/conflict between China and the United States in a number of regional security issues in China's neighbourhood, such as in the Korean peninsula, Afghanistan and the South and East China Seas. It argues that it is principally the Obama administration's ‘rebalance to Asia’ strategy that has prompted China to take a number of initiatives to attend to its neighbourhood diplomacy. As Washington rebalances to Asia and Beijing rebalances to its neighbourhood, interactions between China and the US on China's periphery have intensified, which in turn has a significant impact on the configuration of China's neighbourhood diplomacy, as well as on the evolving regional order. © 2016 The Author(s). International Affairs