The rise of "china threat" arguments
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Barry R. Posen.
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The study seeks to explain the rise of "China threat" arguments in the United States and Japan in the 1990s by using three theories of states behavior- realism, organization theory, and democratic peace theory. The rise of "China threat" arguments occurred in the United States and Japan because of a convergence of several factors, the most important of which was the increase of China's relative power after the Cold War. The distribution of power among states strongly affects their intentions and military capabilities. The study introduces and suggests the importance of the strategic safety-net in shaping threat perception. A strategic safety-net emerges when state's survival depends on cooperation with another state. When the strategic safety-net exists, states suppress self-interested behavior and the ally's intentions are perceived as benign. Interviews with former government officials in the United States and Japan confirmed that strategic necessity restrained U.S. and Japanese behavior towards China during the Cold War and limited suspicion of China. The fraying of the strategic safety-net led to the advent of "China threat" arguments.(cont.) The main difference between the United States and Japan was that whereas in the U.S. case threat perception was shaped by a primacy strategy, Japan had to face a preponderant United States and a rising China at the same time. "China threat" arguments were suppressed in Japan while Japan was unsure about its relationship with the United States. The consolidation of Japan's relationship with the United States led to a surge of"China threat" arguments in Japan in 2000. The interests of domestic organizations were not the major cause of the initial rise of "China threat" arguments. The relevant organizations, including the military services, made "China threat" arguments only after they gained currency within the society. The study also finds that China's undemocratic nature did not independently cause the perception of threat.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2006.Vita.Includes bibliographical references (v. 2, p. 483-517).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology