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Transition ScenariosChina and the United States in the Twenty-First Century$
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David P. Rapkin and William R. Thompson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226040332

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226040509.001.0001

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Constraints on Transition Conflict

Constraints on Transition Conflict

Chapter:
(p.108) Chapter Six Constraints on Transition Conflict
Source:
Transition Scenarios
Author(s):

David P. Rapkin

William R. Thompson

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226040509.003.0006

Conflict arenas in the past possessed far fewer constraints on conflict escalation than characterize the present and, presumably, the future. Four types of constraints are focused upon: democratic peace, economic interdependence, international organizations, and nuclear deterrence. Our question is how, and to what extent, are these factors relevant to a situation involving a rising China and a declining United States. We find that their applicability varies. Given a persistently authoritarian China, joint democracy is not likely to be a major factor. Nuclear deterrence is based more on beliefs than empirical evidence. Economic interdependence provides a better fit but the nature of industrialized productivity and marketing tends to generate mixed effects – some constraining while others inducing conflict. Of the four, international organizations seem least likely to play much of a role in a United States-China face-off.

Keywords:   constraints, democratic peace, economic interdependence, international organizations, nuclear deterrence

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