Will China's rise lead to war?

Updated: 2011-03-10 14:40
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China's rise will be peaceful if the US can make some policy adjustments, said Charles Glaser in the latest Foreign Affairs Bimonthly.

Glaser is professor of Political Science and International Affairs and director of the Institute for Security and Conflict Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

According to Glaser, the outcome of China's rise will depend more on how well US and Chinese leaders manage the situation than on the pressures generated by the international system. He points out that a major US-China conflict might well be avoided "if the United States can adjust to the new international conditions, making some uncomfortable concessions and not exaggerating the dangers."

Glaser believes that China's rise may require that the US make some changes in its foreign policy that it may find disagreeable, particularly regarding Taiwan. He suggests that "the US should consider backing away from its commitment to Taiwan," which would remove the biggest obstacle between the US and China and pave the way for better bilateral relations in the decades to come.

Glaser also suggests that the US should not exaggerate the risks posed by China's growing power and military buildup. "The United States should not rush to impute malign motives to those buildups and should instead be sensitive to the possibility that they simply reflect China's legitimate desire for security," said Glaser.